Monday, November 10, 2014

Motivational Monday 11 - A Lesson from NaNoWriMo

If you hadn’t guessed by now from my posts, I am a writer. I have been writing since I was young, but I began writing more seriously at about fifteen. I have been working on the same novel (and its sequel) since then. Because I have been focusing all of my writing time on this project (my baby), I have been averse to starting any other project. Thus, when introduced to the concept of NaNoWriMo, I decided that it wasn’t for me.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with NaNo, the idea is that you write an entire 50,000 word novel in the month of November. You are supposed to start an entirely new project for NaNo, although some people “rebel” and build onto the novels that they’ve already been working on, aiming to add 50K by the end of the month. I’m already finished with my novels and I’m in the revising/editing stage, so I wasn’t even going to sign up to “rebel.”

Although I am still working on my “baby,” I take time off during the time that I’m in school so that I can focus on it more clearly. I don’t want to divide my attention between schoolwork and revision/editing, because I’m afraid I might miss something while revising. However, all of this academic writing has begun to stifle me. I knew I needed to do some creative writing soon or else I would go insane. So I decided to sign up for NaNo about a week before it started.

Image courtesy of NaNoWriMo.
 I have never, never, never experienced such abandon when it comes to writing as I have experienced while writing this novel for NaNo. The idea is to write an entire 50K word novel in one month, so you really don’t have time to second-guess yourself. Some of the stuff that I’m writing is utter garbage, but I’ve noticed that if I let myself get stuck on that scene, I wouldn’t have been able some of the awesome scenes that follow.

I think there are a lot of times in life when we get so stuck on something that we don’t move forward onto the awesome stuff. We’re either worrying about past mistakes that we’ve done, or holding grudges about something that somebody else did. We hold on to the past and don’t move on to the future; and when that happens, we don’t get to experience the awesomeness stuff that follows.

There’s definitely a lesson to be learned from the abandon of NaNoWriMo. Besides learning how to write without second-guessing yourself, it teaches us that no matter how awful something is, it’s not like it’s going to keep us from experiencing something great. Even though I can change what happens in my novel (eventually; in the months of January and February), I can’t exactly change what happens in the past. But that’s OK: the point is to just keep going, because if you stop, you won’t experience that awesomeness that’s going to follow.

So whether you’re writing a novel or living your life, don’t sweat the mistakes; either they can be fixed, or they won’t end up defining the bigger picture. The key is to just keep going!



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