Now is when we need your novel

This is for you, NaNoWriMo writer, who just couldn't after this week. Who suddenly looked at your word count, and your plot, and came to find both hopeless. Who has been reading tweet-storms about every liberal nightmare, and how they will come to pass. Who looks at the other America, and wonders how they could vote for that man, who showed us exactly who he was, and what that person must think of you, and your friends, all of whom you are worried for?

I implore you to not give up. Work on your book, please. If you are the sort of writer who engages with the current world, then please do so bravely, and address the things you see around you; present the world as you know it.

If your work is escape from the real world, then please double-down. We need your entertaining stories so that we're not obsessing over the news all the time. Being distracted is not only mentally healthy, it's mentally necessary in times of great stress. The best thing? Everybody processes differently. Some turn to romance, some to horror, some to sparse stark stories about small town life. Whatever you love, write it.

Last year, I wrote a series of pep talks over six weeks for NaNoWriMo writers. I offer them here in hopes they will reengage you — and if you are stubborn and have kept up, good for you! Maybe in them you'll find something to move you past a hard spot.

Remember: your novel may not turn out great, but if it turns out, you'll have a first draft. As Maria Semple likes to say, you can start editing a bad draft; you can't make better a work that doesn't yet exist. Godspeed. We need you.