It is the last week of NaNoWriMo. I’m in the first middle week of my new, more difficult gym program. It’s fucking November and it gets DARK by 4 PM here in Helsinki. It is hard, here at the end of November, is what I’m saying. For the record, the gym I go to is the workplace gym, and since the pandemic started here, I’ve never seen more than four people besides me and my spouse. I can’t have real weights in my apartment and I realized this spring that this is actually something that I need to do in order to keep my back functional due to natural tendencies and some injuries that occurred years ago. I feel terrible about being one of those assholes who does the gym thing in the pandemic, but it’s also pretty much the only place I ever go these days. Anyway, I’m digressing.

The point I am trying to make is that hard days lie ahead. Whether it’s facing holidays without family around, or holidays with family around. It might be that the end of NaNoWriMo is in sight and you are so far behind that unless you write 3000 words every single day you have no chance of making it (which is where I was last year about this time). It might just be that you’ve promised yourself that as soon as you finish this first draft of this novel, you can take the rest of the year off, but the novel is unexpectedly 15 000 words longer than you expected and the nights are getting longer. That last one may just be me. Feeling lonely, and even starting to miss having people around you’re allowed to hug, even though you’re an introvert (it me). Or if you just want to be able to give your trainer a high five after doing a set you did not think it would be physically possible for you to do (yeah, hi, me again).

Just keep going. To quote Aerosmith, “Remember, the light at the end of the tunnel may be you.”

There are a lot of people out there for whom the things will not be alright. Probably for most of them that will be through no fault of their own. Some people give up and things will still be alright for them. But here’s my thing; what else are you going to do except keep going, keep trying to make it every day after day? Every word you write today is a word closer to having a finished story. If you don’t win NaNoWriMo, does it really matter? You will still have written 42 000 words in the month of November (that’s where I wound up last year). And even if it’s just 300 words, it’s 300 more words than you had at the beginning of the month.

I can’t, unfortunately, do anything about the hugging or the people, but I can, at least, try to moderate how I react to people. I’ve been so angry for so long and I’m trying to learn to let it go. Not because those things aren’t things that people need to be angry about, but because I need a damn break. And I realize even being able to take a break is a sign of my privilege.

That turned darker than I meant it to. “I may have lost the tension a little bit there” as Hannah Gadsby said.

Point is. Keep going. You don’t have to run. You don’t even have to walk. But I hope that you consider to at least keep crawling forward. One day, we can both flop over the finish line.