For years I have wanted to take part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) but fear and self doubt have always held me back. For starters, this event is a massive undertaking for anyone, but it is also really intriguing because the idea that thousands of people worldwide will be laboring over their novels for the entire month in unison is super cool. As a born creative, the desire to write a novel has pulled at me for as long as I can remember. I have notebooks and computer files filled with ideas and other things casually jotted down for possible stories but nothing has ever come of any of them. It’s not that any of my ideas were bad, it’s more that none of them resonated with me in those moments enough to force the stories out of me…which really translates into writer’s block/me not thinking they were good enough to pursue. After listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast, Magic Lessons, and with her latest book just coming out on the exact subject of “creative living beyond fear,” it is pretty much in my face every day that all of this waiting and excuse making is getting me nowhere. The time is NOW! So, with that said, I have signed up for this year’s NaNoWriMo event and I am currently spending as much time as I can prepping for it. With my school schedule completely draining me lately, I have no clue how I will accomplish this feat, but Liz has motivated me to look beyond such things and to instead face my fears and desires head on.
- Annual Event – Free to anyone who wishes to participate.
- Word Count: 50,000
- Event Dates: November 1st – November 30th
- Qualifications: Commitment to write as much as you can within the allotted 30 day period.
- Join a community of other writers for support, ideas, and general conversations.
- Write with freedom: no editing during this time, just write it all out.
- SIGN UP HERE!
Some writers seem to be blessed with free-flowing brilliance whenever the mood strikes, but for the rest of us, writing a novel is a big undertaking. It can take years to produce a completed rough draft, let alone a polished manuscript to send out to publishers. The folks who run NaNoWriMo laugh in the face of this laborious time frame though. They have zero interest in allowing participating writers the freedom of years to cultivate their stories because the intentions here are to just get people writing. They want writers to hit the ground running at full speed in order to get the most of their time and that’s awesome. It can be so easy to get bogged down with over-planning and second guessing every single choice we make, so I absolutely see the value in this method. I’ve read some articles that weren’t too keen on the idea of NaNoWriMo because a lot of garbage writing can come out of it, but why should that even matter? Don’t all writers have to produce junk at some point in order to uncover the gold within?
My work may not be something that everyone loves, hell it may even be hated and thrown in trashcans, but I know that I must put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) as much as possible to satisfy the need inside of me. I have allowed excuses that I would create in my head to stop me from participating for far too long. Things like “I don’t have the time” or “I’m not a good enough writer” or “my ideas are terrible.” These thoughts were attacking me and causing major productivity slumps. Thankfully I have come a long way in this area but, like anyone who creates things knows, insecurities are always present because putting our art out there for the world to see is the same thing as laying our hearts on a chopping block and hoping that the butcher knife is dull. There will always be critics, that’s the nature of the beast, but the thing I have begun to focus on more than the fear of my writing being hated is that it could actually touch someone. Even if it is only one person in the whole world who reads my story and feels a deep connection to it, then I will have succeeded in my efforts. So I am jumping into this crazy writing event with both feet and seeing where it takes me. Hopefully by the end of November I will be able to declare myself a winner of NaNoWriMo and even if my story sucks, I know that this is only the beginning of my next chapter in life. 😉 I’m really excited about it and my Starbucks card is loaded and ready to go…bring on the long nights and caffeine filled days!
Below are two short videos of Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talks. In them she talks about writing, the fear of failure, and finding your way back home in whatever drives your soul. Check them out because she’s amazing…PLUS I am seeing her speak live tonight about her latest creatively brilliant book, so including her in this post (numerous times) was absolutely vital. 😀 ENJOY and get your butt over to NaNoWriMo’s site to sign up for the month of madness!