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Got Worms?

“So … what’s up with all the worms? I mean, your website talks about eating worms, your Instagram an email talk about eating worms. What is the deal.”

Let me tell you. Briefly.

In my book Ripe, one of the main characters is nicknamed Worms. Emily, a hipster/emo/music-loving eighth grader, got her nickname after confronting a bully in elementary school. He tried to force a little girl to eat worms at recess, and instead, Emily stepped in and ate them. You can read the excerpt here.

Without getting too much into the plot of the book (let’s just say people die and things are bad), while Worms is watching over the littlest kids, she uses the saying Just Eat Worms to illustrate to them that, although things are bad, if you keep pushing on, you can make it through. Sometimes, you have to eat the worms. You don’t want to do it. It’s going to suck. But you have to in order to come out the other side.

Just Eat Worms has become a motto for my life. The dreams and goals I want to accomplish aren’t going to come easy. I’m going to have to eat the worms for a bit—maybe even a while. But whether you succeed or fail in the endeavor, the journey is what matters. Out of failure can come something else, something better. Sometimes, you succeed more in your failures than in your actual success. Eating the worms seems illogical and insane, but the easy path is never as fulfilling as the hard.

This November I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month. It’s a worldwide contest where you have the entirety of November to write 50,000 words. To put that into perspective, my book Banner Over Me is currently sitting at 66,000 words. It has taken me two years to write. So basically, I need to write in a month what has taken me the better part of two years. Eek!

But … I’ve noticed that when I do put my mind to it and sit down and write, I can do about 2,000 words in 90 minutes. It’s all the distractions and self-doubt that make my projects take so long. My anxiety tells me that if I don’t finish the project, I won’t have to worry about it going out into the world and being a failure. You can’t be rejected if you don’t try, right?

This November, I’m going to be eating a fistful of worms. Just a bunch of slimy ones wiggling around in my mouth. I’m going to attempt something I’m deathly afraid. Will it be easy? No. Will it be fun? In a way. Will it be worth the struggle? You bet.

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