Recently I had a fleeting thought about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), as I intermittently do for some reason. Let’s face it, November is not all that far away for those who might be inclined to participate this year. Myself? I won’t be grinding away at the keyboard again this November – with the exception of an occasional blog post of course. Although participating in NaNoWriMo is definitely something I highly recommend, I’ve opted out this year — with 2014 of course being the first time I had opted in.
Which brings me to the few thoughts I had which generated this post.
What about those who never opt out? I read, listen to, and follow many very talented people in this corner of the internet, and you will have already seen links to many of them grace these pages. People I like to think of as creators. People for whom “opting out” is not, well… an option. Those whose living — either in full or in part — is made through their creative work.
Here I am not talking about the overt success stories — the best-selling novelists; the rock stars; the internet sensations. For every one of those, there are a thousand others locked in the knock-down drag-out battle to not only create great work, but to somehow survive by that very means.
Those who sit in front of an empty page, screen, canvas or microphone and produce something great — or not — and if not, keep coming back until they do. Every day without fail, they show up and create. Pushing on, and approaching every day as though it will produce their best scene, verse, or sketch yet.
The faith, hope, and perhaps on some days — the desperation. Those who push through meaningless comparisons, second guessing, and maybe repeated rejections. Those who won’t be stifled. Those who flourish — perhaps in spite of it all. Even if you half-heartedly believe everyone has that killer story inside them somewhere, not everyone has the desire, nor the ability to tell it — and perhaps some who do will never try.
Now in this, my fourth NaNoWriMo inspired post reflecting on last November I ask: did I produce something great? Definitely not (believe me – I’ve read through it). However I did manage to produce — or should I say to create— something I thought I never would: a 55,000 word novel. Although I am now finding the revision and re-write that much harder, lets face it, I really don’t have much riding on it do I? Yet there are many who do.
So here’s to the creators out there.
Whatever you might be working on today (or in November) — keep working. On those tough days? Might I at least encourage you to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and stand tall. If it looks a little dark and empty ahead? Just keep walking, and above all — blink last.
My previous thoughts on the NaNoWriMo experience: