Gulp. I’ve thought about it for years. And a good friend of mine has tried it a few times. It’s scary. It’s audacious. But it may be the only way I ever get my butt in gear.
I just signed up for National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. Yes, I’m going to try to write a novel this month. This is the first time I’d ever seriously considered it, because this is the first time I’ve had a story in me that I have been aching to tell but hadn’t made time and space for yet.
Before I set up my account (I’m warriormare, by the way – so if you’re giving it a try, feel free to drop me a mail or to set me as a contact), I was paralyzed by fears. Completely silly fears. And I’ll put the main one in words here, to reveal how amazingly silly it was – but this is what we do to ourselves, and how we come to believe we’re not creative people. I really want to tell this story, and tell it well. So my fear was that, if I try to tell this story through NaNoWriMo, and end up thinking that the writing sucks, I’ll be so disappointed that I’ll never go back and get the story finished. Pretty silly, huh? It’s basically my inner critic trying to convince me not to bother, not to take the risk, not to even try. And this, what you see right now? It’s me, telling my inner critic to suck it.
With a friend, I’ve been (very sporadically) working through Julia Cameron‘s The Artist’s Way, trying to recapture and revitalize our creativity. Cameron talks a lot about what we do to sabotage ourselves, to convince ourselves that we’re not creative, that when we try to be creative we’re really lousy at it, that we shouldn’t even bother to try any more. And she talks about how all of this is a load of hooey, but we buy into it because creativity is about dreaming dreams, taking risks, and making ourselves vulnerable – and this is scary stuff to responsible adults.
Perhaps the biggest part of leaving my very troubled marriage this year was my decision to no longer live in fear. I do not like to live in fear. I do not want to live in fear. And dammit, I’m going to live my life so that fear is not what motivates me. I’m going to take risks. I’m going to dream dreams. I’m going to put myself out there and make myself vulnerable. Because that’s what this life is all about.
So what if my novel sucks? So what if I don’t make it through the entire month, or don’t reach 50,000 words? If I don’t start, I stand no chance of finishing – sucky product or not. And if I do start… well, there’s that glittering, golden chance that what I end up with is beautiful and wonderful. Fear, begone! Inner critic, shut the hell up!
And you there — yeah, you. When you leave the room, can you stick that Do Not Disturb sign on the door for me, please? I’m writing my novel now.