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NaNo, NaBlo, NaWHOA. I said it. November is Writing Mo.nth.

It's November, and that means my inbox has a backlog of emails preparing me for WRITING LIKE CRAZY.

Apparently, November, that month of family holidays, inspires creativity. Or maybe it's that November, that month of family holidays, cried out for some outlet to save it from becoming known as the emotional pressure cooker month everyone (secretly?) dreaded.

In any case, if writing is your emotional outlet and/or creative haven and/or intellectual pleasure, then you may find inspiration in communities like National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) or National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo).

I'm a huge fan of group writing projects. I find it motivating to be part of a community that's doing something fun and challenging and creative, and doing it together. Or at least at the same time.

There are prompts, which can be great warm ups before venturing out fully on one's own. Prompts remind us, in the words of BlogHer's Melissa Ford, that each of us has expertise in something-- and don't discount the importance of being an expert on your own life. Inspecting one's life with the rigor of a scientist and the passion of an artist-- or perhaps the passion of a scientist and the rigor of an artist-- can reveal such incredible insights.

There are pep talks! I think NaNoWriMo staffers must have borne witness to some depths-of-despair letters from participants who just could not go on, and yet couldn't face not going on. Or at least from some weary and frustrated participants who just needed a kind word to pick themselves up and start typing again.

NaNo's been great at keeping the pep talks coming regularly. I loved the pre-kick off talk from Gene Luen Yang, who reassures us that most writers keep their day jobs-- many even love their day jobs. (I'm in the camp who's grateful for her job and would like to keep it.)

And Diana Gabaldon pushes us from shore with the most wonderful of pep talks, gently giving writers permission to write however works-- make an outline, don't make an outline. Just get the words out of your head and onto the page or screen, or both.

So, I'll be participating in a couple group writing exercises this month. The value of commiseration is not to be underestimated, certainly. And there's no telling whether I'll write anything I want to read again. But the most important thing for me is that committing to writing brings light to a part of me that wants to see in the darkness-- just committing. And so that's what I'm doing.

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