Today is cause for celebration. Finally, this evil virus is releasing its clutches and letting me breathe and eat food without swallowing and ear pain. Most of October, I’ve had a cold of some kind, but this one has been one of the worst I’ve had. I’m pretty sure I say that about every virus that knocks me out and causes earaches and my sense of taste and smell to disappear, but as someone who appreciates her senses and being able to actually, you know, taste food, it’s always a misery.
But, yes – today, my earache has gone! Just in time for Halloween and the day before all the NaNo…whatever fun. I love Halloween, it appeals to my fascination with the Gothic, macabre, and supernatural elements of life. And of course films, books, TV, and architecture. When I was young, I had vivid nightmares, and maybe as a counter to that, I became interested in the creepier aspects of storytelling. I’m still spooked and turn my eyes away from some things – in particular recently watching American Horror Story and Hemlock Grove on Netflix I’ve discovered new depths of goriness – and I don’t really enjoy gore just for the sake of it. Context is everything…
‘There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.’ – George Carlin.
So, the month of NaNo everything is coming up. I’m extremely tempted to just dive in and do NaNoWriMo but my bad experience last time I did it – the second time I did it in 2012 – puts me off. I also know how consuming it can be and don’t feel prepared to write 50,000 words next month. However, I’ve been thinking for a while of taking a month to dive back into writing with a vengeance, with my own rules and goals.
I’ve been meaning to get back into writing properly – fiction, non-fiction, blogging and articles – and feel that I need to renew my commitment to the craft. All habits start with making small changes, and as much as I love NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo, diving into such a big undertaking won’t necessarily foster my everyday, repetitive habits. It served me well writing two uncompleted novels of 50,000 words each in 2011 and 2012, but I’ve realised since that for me, habits are the hardest things to make. It’s crunch time for me – time to be real about the magic of writing.
‘Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up.’ – Stephen King.
So – basically – my ‘NaNo’ month will be all about taking small steps towards the daily habit of writing and creating. My companion books for the month are Twyla Tharp’s ‘The Creative Habit‘, Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artist’s Way‘, Amanda Oaks’ ‘Spin Your Story, Stir Your Soul‘ and Blaine Hogan’s ‘Untitled: Thoughts on the Creative Process‘. These books are just for encouragement and motivation – and of course the energy of fellow writers this month will be a big boost. The great thing about November is that there is energy everywhere you look in the writing community.
My rules are simple – write every day, make the time. There is no word limit or limit on writing medium – notebook, blog, Scrivener, or MS Word, napkins (!) – and as much as I feel like writing each day, no matter whether it is fiction or non-fiction. Some days will be harder than others, some days the words will flow – this is what is missing for me from NaNoWriMo. The word goal ultimately made me feel too pressured and as if I ‘had’ to make a particular number of words in one day. It works for many people, and I still feel as if NaNoWriMo is a brilliant way to get people writing and to feel supported by a community of like-minded writers.
If you’d like to join me – just take up your pen, make a commitment to yourself, and do what you will. November is definitely writing month – enjoy.
‘The biggest thing separating people from their artistic ambitions is not a lack of talent. It’s the lack of a deadline. Give someone an enormous task, a supportive community, and a friendly-yet-firm due date, and miracles will happen.’ – Chris Baty.