For years now (4, if you’re counting), I’ve been participating in NaNoWriMo every November and winning by accomplishing what still seems like the impossible task of writing 50k words in 30 days. And what’s more is that in spite of the incalculable insanity that is the month of November I’ve not only reached the goal every year, but I’ve actually had fun doing it.
Now, for those of you who have read my past posts about my writing process, I’m not usually a person who enjoys writing. I guilt myself into it, agonize over the entire process, and feel such sheer relief after it’s done that I usually have no interest in doing it again. Sure, I like the pride I feel from having accomplished it- but I don’t like it. I like having done it.
And I’ve wondered why it is that I can’t repeat the same maddening but wonderful process that makes NaNoWriMo the amazing experience it is during the rest of the year- why it is that November seems to have cornered the market on writing. I’ve thought that maybe it was simply a matter of writing everyday. (It’s not, though that is a great thing to do and I know I would benefit from doing it. But one step at a time, here.) I’ve wondered if perhaps it’s the fact that I’m writing a novel rather than a short story. (That’s not it, either.) I’ve thought that perhaps it’s because during NaNo no one reads what I write. (I admit this is a big draw, but it’s not what makes NaNo wonderful.)
It’s only recently that I’ve come up with the blaringly obvious, I-must-be-mentally-retarded-for-having-not-realized-this-sooner answer: it’s the people. (Yeah, I know. Duh.)
I have, until relatively recently, lived with the delusion that I was in this alone. While I certainly followed other blogs and Twitter feeds I didn’t really feel connected to the people I followed because I believed that they were real authors and that I was entirely too far below them to be in the same league. They, after all, were getting published and read by large audiences and had projects in the works that might actually yield them money. I couldn’t relate to any of that!
And yet, the more that I’ve allowed myself to open up to all these other authors the more I’ve seen that underneath whatever hero worship I may have naively placed on them they’re actually people. They, like me, have lives that often get in the way of them writing. They, like me, have jobs and families and bills and pets and daily life bull-shit that they have to deal with. And they, like me, have other interests aside from writing and are not actually chained to their computers coming up with stories 24/7.
And most importantly: they, like me, have doubts. I, amazingly enough, am not the only writer to think my writing is crap. Nor am I the only writer to struggle a great deal with the process of writing. Nor am I the only writer to wonder- very frequently- if I should even be writing at all.
It turns out that these thoughts and fears which I thought set me apart from all these other amazing writers is actually the exact thing that brings me together with them. Epiphany.
And sure enough, when I did start to expose myself (and my writing) to these writers I found more and more similarities rather differences. More and more thoughts coming from their minds that are identical to my own. More and more reasons to try doing what they’re doing: writing.
So, I started connecting. On Twitter, on Google+, on Blogger, on everything I can think of. And the more connections I made the more cool people I was finding to connect to. Plus, the more I connected, the more they (you) connected back.
I am overwhelmed. I am awed. I am thrilled. I am feeling incredibly stupid for not realizing this sooner. But most of all, I am determined. I want the magic of NaNo all year long. And I’m on my way to it.
So I’m going to write more. More flash pieces for #fridayflash, more insights on writing for #amwriting and now, for the first time, 26 more pieces for the #atozchallenge!
That’s right! Beginning April 1st I’ll be embarking, along with so many other awesome people it’ll be like NaNo all over again, on a 26 post journey. I will be writing, posting, blog-hopping, reading, commenting, tweeting, sharing and reveling. And it’s gonna be awesome.
Because I’m not alone, unless I isolate. I’m not a shitty writer unless I conclude that I am. I’m not unproductive unless I avoid doing what I so obviously need to do. And I’m not stupid enough to forget this invaluable (if painfully obvious) lesson: Just Connect.