Embracing the suck: A NaNoWriMo Pep Talk for Week Two


This part of the month reminds me of the movie Keeping the Faith. No, I don’t mean to tell you that you should just have faith in yourself or your story. Nope. There’s an hilarious scene in that movie where Ben Stiller, who plays a rabbi, is counseling a kid who is prepping for his bar mitzvah. The kid is learning to sing in Hebrew for the ceremony and dear god it’s awful. Ear-bleedingly awful. Ben Stiller tells the kid to stop and then gives him this bit of advice, you’re going to suck, but you can suck with style. He gets the kid to chant “I love that I suck.”

You are that kid. You’re stuck in the middle of this rite of passage and you just have to get through it. On the other side are the magical words “THE END.” Right now your book probably sucks. You plot is falling apart, you hate half the words you put down on paper. But repeat after me “I love that I suck.”Know who doesn’t get to say that? The people who aren’t doing NaNo. Their stories remain, perfect and wonderful and entirely suck free because their stories are encased in their minds. You, my doers of daring deeds, you writers of stories have taken the great risk of trying. You have allowed your stories to go from the perfection you visualized in your heart and in your brain and you have done the most frightening thing imaginable. You have let that story see the light of day and you have taken the risk that it would suck.

So, maybe right now it does suck. And I hope, by gum, that you say “I love that I suck,” because you are a bold doer. You are a writer. You are brave enough to try. You are brave enough to confront the suckitude and keep going knowing that there is a great reward on the other side. Embrace the suck. Wade through it, do the damn backstroke in it, allow it to fill you with the optimism that comes from taking a chance. If you can embrace the suck, if you can look at your story, hate it with every fiber of your being and still keep going, well, by god there’s nothing that can stop you.

 As always if you need an extra boost, feel free to drop me a line on Twitter (@lucyhallowell), or here in the comments. We’re here for you and we want you to make it to the other side of the Fire Swamp.