NaNoWriMo 2014 Fever

Four days in to National Novel
Writing Month and I still cannot believe I signed up for this. You guys probably don’t remember the last time I posted here (January) and my “excuse” is lack of time.

Really? Yes. Really? Ok, fine! It’s lack of time management. See, I break easily and I cannot be tortured. If I am so in flux and busy and undisciplined with blogging, why would I volunteer for a month long writing challenge?

I’m an insane egotistical, neurotic, sycophant with a competitive streak. Yup. I said it. I’m a writer.

The last time I did NaNo (2010), my life was totally different. I was an online college student with hours of free time at my disposal. Now I work 55 hours a week, run a small business, and it is football season. Signing up was not a calculated move. I keep mulling over reasons why I joined this year but the truth is, it doesn’t matter. I needed to write.

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So yes. It’s day four and I’m going to win. If you’re doing NaNo, let’s buddy up (User Name: maxiesteer) online and get this done. I’ve pulled Author Karina Espinosa into the madness, so it’s good to have a few friends along for the ride.

What was your reason for doing NaNoWriMo? Comment below with your motivations!

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The fear of success

Fear is a strong motivator, not the best one, but one that works. It connotes a propellant from behind, an evil to avoid. On the other hand success is an aim, a catalyst for forward movement. At the intersection of fear and success is a stalemate – an unnamed source for  procrastination. I think this is where I have arrived. 
It could be that I’ve negotiated myself out of the regular excuses for ignoring my passion, but I am recognizing this as an avoidance tactic. The thought that my ego, narcissism, and laziness will show up once I have “arrived” makes me not even attempt the journey. Usually, I do not think it is helpful to write about identifying a problem without presenting solutions, but I’m stumped. I’ve seen it happened to me, to other people, and I am afraid to lose myself. Talk about first world problems! I haven’t written here in months, but I’ve been inspired and 
helpful to other writers. That fuel should build steam and extinguish this phobia. Here’s to embracing the future, the inevitable stumbles and progress. 

Do you come across this phenomenon? How do you deal with it?

On Demand Writing

'Chadburns Ships Engine Order Telegraph Great Lakes Naval Museum April 24, 201034' photo (c) 2010, Steven Depolo - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Within the time I was away from the blog, I attended my grandmother’s funeral, my sister’s wedding, and started a business with my mother. All three events were life-changing – cataclysmic even – and all three events required my writing.

These instances created opportunities for what I call “on demand writing:” where there’s a defined deadline, short creative leash, and expectations from the person who places an “order” for your services as a writer.

I wrote a poem for the memorial, the maid-of-honor speech for the nuptials, and countless marketing material for the company. My creativity was exhausted. I ended up feeling spent any time I thought about penning a story or crafting a poem. Along with the additional stresses of school, family, and other obligations in my writing group, I lost all motivation to write for fun, and further, I made myself feel guilty for not attending to my craft.

From this experience, I learned a few lessons:

  1. Start saying “no” before you become overwhelmed. Learning to limit your responsibilities can help you avoid feeling burned out creatively.
  2. Make creative writing a priority and set aside time to write on a regular basis.
  3. Always have a writing project to work towards, in case the casual, unprompted moments of inspiration do not arrive as expected. For example, a collection of go-to writing prompts or goals (like one poem a week).

Getting over this hump has been a struggle for me but, it’s nice to be back, and writing when I feel like it.

Q4U: What is your experience with “on demand writing” and how does it affect your creativity?