In last week’s column by Jenny Sundstedt, she mentioned her intention to take on this years’ session of National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo for those of us with the secret decoder rings. Most of the comments she received were for encouragement or a note about how they were going to take on the NaNo challenge as well. Yet, there were other folks who had a totally different answer.
I’m paraphrasing here, but they responded with, “I can’t write a 50,000 word novel in one month. Even if I sent my spouse and children to stay with our in-laws and my diet consisted of Red Bull and M&Ms.” Or they said, “I don’t have anything to write about, despite my life as an international spy/fashion model/stand-up comedian.”
To those people, I have just one thing to say … Well, I can’t say it, because this is a family blog.
There are a few words that shouldn’t be part of the English language. Can’t is one of them, don’t is another, and twerking definitely needs to be eliminated. Yes, part of the time these negative words are needed, like “I can’t steal that for you,” or, “I don’t think you should launch the missiles against Idaho, Mr. President.” For the most part, though, can’t and don’t are inserted into sentences as an easy way to get out of something without much hassle.
I know about this, because I was one of the people who used those two words on a regular basis. It’s hard to count all of the opportunities I lost in my lifetime because of can’t and don’t. I’ve could’ve been a successful writer earlier in my life or perhaps married and divorced to a Kardashian if I had agreed to take on some of the challenges. Today, I try to use the two contractions sparingly, except maybe when my wife asks me to clean out the gutters.
And I never use them when it comes to my writing. No matter what the situation, it’s always can and do. In turn, this has led to some opportunities that have made 2013 one of the best writing years of my life. I even decided to take on another round of NaNoWriMo because I knew I could make it to the 50,000 mark, or beyond, within 30 days’ time.
To those of you saying “I can’t believe you,” or, “I don’t think your running on all cylinders,” I ask you to use the opposite words on me and yourself, and tackle something like NaNo. Trust me, you can do it, and you’ll be extremely elated when you type that last word in your first completed novel.
Have you changed a can’t or don’t into a can or do?