This month, I’ve been practicing discipline, tenacity, and forgiveness. In other words, I’m participating in NaNoWriMo. And NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). And the 30 Days of Gratitude Campaign. (Don’t worry, the latter will remain in my journal.)
Yes, I might be crazy.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve missed a few days of penning my “I’m Thankful Fors”, there are a few blog posts missing already this month, and I’m sorely behind on my budding novel’s word count.
I guess this is where discipline comes in.
Because writing is hard. Not only is it difficult to create something meaningful, something that will truly make a difference in this world, it’s time consuming. And sometimes you ask yourself why you’re even doing it in the first place.
For me, writing fiction is the hardest of all. Actually, make that writing believable fiction. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you have no shortage of morbid or fantastical story lines weaving plots throughout you mind. Wolves, vampires, ghosts, angels, and a host of otherworldly creatures (Christian Grey, anyone?) taunt you in your sleep, and their respective struggles, triumphs, and love stories possess your waking dreams. And you’re so convinced of their existence that their stories practically write themselves. (This is, at least, how one author explained the process to me.)
I, however, am one of the unlucky ones. The only personalities that entertain me are the ones I observe on television. It is not easy to imagine new characters, nor is it easy to write a script for their stories. I didn’t even have an imaginary friend as a child. I simply didn’t know how.
Creating an adult human being for literary purposes, based only on the imaginings from the recesses of an author’s mind, is nothing short of a miracle. And to be consumed by their thoughts and stressors, adding their dilemmas to your own? It’s exhausting. (And it makes me dread child bearing.)
But this month’s most challenging practice is proving to be forgiveness—my ability to forgive myself—for cutting proverbial creative corners, for not accomplishing all of my goals, and, if I’m being honest, for not being good enough.
Because nothing will strip you of creative confidence quite like looking back at your novel’s first 10,000 words and realizing your protagonist is uninteresting and vague. Nothing will make you question your supposed way with words quite like missing the second, third, fourth, and fifth days of a month’s commitment to blog daily. And nothing will make you hate yourself more than being thankful for something as inconsequential as tweezers, on this here sixth of November, 2013.
So yeah, this daily noveling/blogging/thanking is hard work. Not only is it tiring, but it’s pretty thankless. It also feels really, really frivolous.
But it’s only a month, right? Only 24 days of labor remain.