Welcome to November! Just as Julie returns to sporting themes periodically, I seem destined to return to NaNoWriMo around this time every year (see Ready, Steady, NaNo or Eeking out time to write). If you’re not participating in NaNo 2019, don’t x this article out! While NaNo was what got my gears turning, this article is aimed at anyone who’s been wanting to do something creative and new, but hasn’t…yet. To those of you who find yourself thinking, “I’d love to try, but…”, keep reading.
First, a brief aside; I promise it will all come together by the end. I LOVE NaNoWriMo (in case you hadn’t already figured that out). This is my 7th year participating, though, if I’m being honest, two of those years were total flops. Maybe this year will be a flop too – it’s too early to tell. So, the question is why do I love NaNo so much, especially if I can never be certain if I’m going to be a “winner”?
It’s because NaNoWriMo is one of those opportunities in life that is ALL win.
Let me explain.
Outcome A: You work really hard and you find out that your story only has 40,000 words to it (not the 50K required to ‘win’). YOU WROTE A STORY! A WHOLE STORY! (Ok, at least two-thirds of a story.) That’s amazing! You’ve just birthed art into the world and you’ve exposed a part of your deep dark consciousness to the light. How can that be anything but a win?
Outcome B: You have the best of intentions, but life is overwhelming and you only manage to write 5,000 words of a story that you know is going to be a blockbuster one day, if only you had the time to write it. FANTASTIC! You’ve tapped into that inner muse, the genius of the universe, and as a result you WILL come back to this addictive idea another time. November is a weird month, sandwiched between back to school frenzy and holiday insanity. My kid doesn’t have a single full week of school this entire month. It is NOT the ideal writing month, from my perspective. So give yourself credit for unearthing an award winning idea and allow yourself to be excited about getting back to it in January, February, July, or whenever it is that YOU can make time for it.
Outcome C: You write 10,000 words of something that feels totally frivolous. You’re writing in a genre you never thought you’d write in, that maybe you don’t even read in, and you have no idea what you’re doing or where you’re going with it. It has no place to occupy on your short-list of professional goals. WHAT A GIFT!! You just learned something new about yourself. Or maybe you knew, but you’d forgotten and allowing this part to have a little time in the sun feels like a reconnection with yourself. Maybe your brain needed to do something different in order to be able to knuckle back down to the hard tasks you demand of it all the other hours in the day. Whatever the reason, take a moment to honor how it felt, and to reflect that perhaps not every minute of your day needs to be task oriented.
NaNo provides you the opportunity, the excuse, to dedicate yourself to something new and creative, for no other reason than other people have decided to do it too. How amazingly awesome is that?? NaNo gives you the kick in the pants to try. And every time you try, you improve. That old adage, ‘practice makes progress’ – it’s true. So for every word you write, you are that much better of a writer.
Here’s a couple of not-so secrets. (Lean in close to hear them.)
You can try something new ANY time.
You don’t have to limit yourself to writing.
NaNo gives would-be (and accomplished) writers a space to come together and learn from each other, which is super awesome. Is there something like this for painters? Photographers? Weavers? Musicians? Poets? If there is, man we’d love to help spread the word, so please share these communal opportunities in the comments or on our Facebook site.
Even if there isn’t an organized event designed to spur practice and creation in your field, YOU can set your own start date any time. And if you want to make it a little less daunting, or a little more scientific, give yourself an end date too and then see what you can do with that time. See what sort of progress you can make. Your first work didn’t turn out like you wanted? Or didn’t get sold for thousands? Ok, but how did it feel to express what was in your heart? What did you learn from the experience?
Tell us, what have you been wanting to do but haven’t yet tried? Bonus points if you also identify one step you can take TODAY to get your closer to your goal. And we’d love pictures of your attempts. Our site is your site – please share away!
Oh, and I’m at Moose_77 on NaNo for any of you participating. Let’s connect. I’d love to support your on your creative journey!
Thea can always make me feel better about my feeble attempts at NaNo! The attempt IS what matters. Thanks for the reminder and the refreshing optimism. You can find me at Scorpio74, but as of 11/5, I haven’t written anything yet. I’m gonna give it a go 😉.
P.S. Happy Veteran’s Day! To all you who serve, have served, support those who serve(d), love those who serve(d) – thank you! We appreciate your sacrifice.