Almost a week into November, and I find myself back working on a new book for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). 30 days to write 50,000 words and get to those magic words “The End”. Working for a self publishing company who is one of the major sponsors of the event has already given me an interesting perspective on both sides of the event.
As a writer, calling or emailing a company that is offering free guides and discounted prices once you have “won” the month is a great method of procrastination. Authors are usually still excited about their new project and are thinking about what is next in the process. We’re usually still in love with our stories, looking forward to getting the entire story from our head and onto “paper”. Hopefully, at this point we are still able to keep the words flowing and try our best not to re-read what was written and begin editing it. But if you think about it, that’s not what NaNoWriMo is about.
NaNoWriMo is about just getting the story downloaded from your head and onto paper. If it ever sees the light of day after that, it doesn’t matter this month. The point is that you just write it now and worry about editing and all the other joys of the post writing process later. But it’s much more than that and everyone’s journey through this month is different. Some people do it just to say they’ve written a book, others think that they are writing a story that needs sharing with the world, and others use it to force themselves in front of their computer and actually write. The reason for participating in it doesn’t really matter and “winning” is merely a bonus. NaNoWriMo is really getting people from around the world to sit down and begin to create the habit of writing every day. Being creative every day.
Finding a creative outlet and taking yourself out of the daily grind, even if it is for a little bit every day, can actually help relieve stress despite having to fight with our characters sometimes. Knowing that you wrote 100o words, 10,000 words, 50,000 words or more also give a feeling of accomplishment. Having control over something like that can also help with stress and even self esteem.
To those who know me, know that I write fiction. I love stories and getting taken away from the real world from them. To me, writing has the same effect, but only greater. In talking to other authors, I see there are two kinds of authors: those who write for themselves first and those who write for others. Now neither are wrong with their writing intent. We both have stories in our minds that need to get released on the page. I find that I can relate better to the first group. I write first for myself, I edit for everyone else!
So now, I challenge you, yes you, reading this post. I challenge you to be creative every day. Jump into NaNoWriMo, knit a few rows, bake muffins, whatever you want that is creative. Unplug from the constant stream of data that is flowing into our head almost every waking moment and do something that you find enjoyable every day. It might take you a few minutes or a few hours, but set aside time to do that. Try it for several days (or weeks) and reflect back at how you feel.
If you are brave, share in the comment section with what you are going to do to be creative every day. I know you are brave, just get out of your own way and DO IT!