|| Another November has come and gone, taking with it this year’s NaNoWriMo challenge. I have won it twice in the past, amassing just over 50k words in Novembers past, so I have certainly proved that I can put my butt in the chair and bang away on the laptop. What I have not done recently is hit the 50k mark again. In fact, I haven’t hit the 50k for three years now. Combined. So, obviously, I once again put the “No,” in Na NO WriMo.
That being said, I am at peace with my output. This month I had other writings I was working on, and I was also preparing photographs for a gallery showing. (My first!) It’s been a month of large creative changes for me, from buying my own domain, to selling my photographs for the first time, to writing a story which I’ll soon be submitting. (Another first!) It has been a lot for me, and I’m proud of the steps I’m taking to be more creative in my life. In addition, just in the near future, I’m looking to take a Python programming class come January, I have a tabletop wargame I designed that I need to be polished and posted, and I’m pulled to continue cultivating my drawing skills.
The best way I can think to describe it that I’m not a “pure” writer. My creativity and curiosity goes beyond putting words to the page, and encompasses photography, drawing, and more. Being pulled in so many directions means that I will likely never be a prolific writer, but I am hoping it helps make me a better writer. While these other endeavors aren’t as readily quantifiable as word counts can be, I am becoming more comfortable and prouder of my efforts. My writing is becoming not just better, but more efficient.
In other words (pun intended!), while the 100,000 words I wrote in “winning” NaNoWriMo will never see the light of day, the 8,000 I wrote this year very likely will. That doesn’t mean my NaNo wins were wasted, far, far from it, but it does mean that I had to get all those words out to find my voice. Now that my voice is found, I’m working on finding my comfort zone with it. It’s going to take time, but I’m enjoying the process, and I just don’t feel the need to rush it by pounding out as many words as I can.
So, perhaps, it’s not really so much that I’m putting the “No” in NaNoWriMo as it is that I’m putting the “Know” in it?
D. Paul Angel