Today marks 1 month that I have been writing daily. Some time ago, I got the idea to write a novel in November by taking part in the Nanowrimo challenge. This is a challenge which involves writing a 50,000 word novel during the month of November (approx 1667 words per day). This isn’t the first year that I thought about doing it, but this is the year I plan to complete it, so watch this space. This novel is just for me to fulfil a lifelong dream, and to stretch my writing muscle in a new way. And as with any project - preparation is everything. So I decided to build up to it by committing to writing every day, and as a part of accountability for that I also committed to writing as many blog posts as I could during October. The aim of the daily writing was simple – to write every day. It could be a journal entry, a blog post, a poem, a work of fiction – even a letter to a friend. I just needed to flex my writing muscle with daily writing. I have really enjoyed it, and I have done just that - written every day. And here are a few things I learned in the past month.
1. Daily writing increased my creativity. As I may have mentioned before, I always wanted to write fiction, and was waiting for that perfect idea to hit me. When I decided to write anyway, a strange thing happened – I became far more creative! The more I wrote, the more ideas came to me – and in random places – at work, in the shower, driving down the road and so on. It seems that the best thing for my creativity was actually creating! For this reason, I collected journal prompts, writing prompts (both visual and written) and sometimes just riffed on the random ideas that came into my head. I was able to get to the end of 1 month having written every day, and this included some fun poetry and fiction as well as blog posts that I probably would not otherwise have written. So if you feel stuck for ideas – try writing your way out of them, or creating in your own way! Take inspiration from everyday things around you - when life gives you lemons - write a blog post! It seems that the very act of creation can lead to a cycle of more creativity and that may be just what you need to get you out of a rut.
2. I learned to follow my curiousity – this is something that was suggested in the writing group I was in – what would I write about if I followed my curiousity? It gave me quite a few topics to choose from, and I think that our curiosity is one of our greatest creative tools
3. I learned not to take myself too seriously! – When I knew that I was writing just for me, and that no-one was looking over my shoulder, I stopped taking myself so seriously, and just wrote for fun! I did a poem with a less than traditional rhyming style. I took some liberties with the rhymes. I played devil’s advocate. I played around with writing fiction about topics that were and are near and dear to my heart. Some of it was crap. Some of it was excellent. And some of it never got finished, but I feel as if every piece had a purpose as it helped me explore my writing and bring me to the point where I am right now – ready for Nanowrimo
4. And similar to point number 3 I lowered the stakes (wrote a whole blog post on this). I realized that I was putting way too much pressure on waiting for the perfect plot to write, and that I might be more willing to just write if it didn’t feel like the big important topics I felt so passionately about. I have decided that nanowrimo will be about love and friendship and relationships – cause it is a personal goal for me, and not something that I will necessarily put out there. Lowering the stakes made it much more likely that I would finish what I started.
5. Lastly – writing is fun! I found so much joy in my writing when I removed the pressure of it having to be meaningful, or to be a book, or to fit into any other mold. My sisters will have to read whatever I write so it might not be so much fun for them, but its optional for everyone else. I wrote for me, and it was fun.
Anyone want to join me for nanowrimo? Check out the link above!
And in the meantime I send you big love from a small island
PS - When life gives you lemons write a blog post! I now have the perfect excuse to put the photo of those lemons at the top of the blog!