Friday, October 27, 2006

Permission to Make a Mess

I was just over to Karen's blog leaving a comment on her Thursday Thirteen where I confessed that I was panicked at the thot of the fast approaching go date for NaNoWriMo. I said, 'Only six days left before the starting gate and I don’t even have my shoes on yet.'

Well, I've just realized I don't really want to wear shoes and I'd rather not run on a paved track with carefully drawn lines. I want to run barefoot in shallow surf with the wind blowing my hair in my face so I can barely see where I am going. I want to listen to the stories the breeze exchanges with the waves and learn the wisdom of 'letting it flow' from them.

Those of you familiar with my guest posts on Write Stuff will know that I am at war with the Harpies of Perfectionism. What you might not know is that I have approximately twenty novels stuck in the planning stage with a couple of hundred vividly visualized characters stuck in notes and in my head where they are constantly chattering and occasionaly moping.

It seemed pointless to start another project. And I hated the thot of setting ongoing projects aside while I started yet another one that would probably just get stuck like all the rest.

This is my third year participating. I haven't won yet. In 2004 I reached just under 5000 words. In 2005 I reached just under 12,000. Both years I was distracted by daily events at the time. But what writer isn't? The most viscious distraction tho was my obsessive rewriting, editing, tweaking and researching of obscure information so I would not make factual faux pas.

Every five-year-old with fingerpaint knows that you have to make a mess in order to make art. This is what I need from NaNoWriMo this year: Permission to make a mess.

3 tell me a story:

Write From Karen 10/27/2006 8:27 AM  

Bravo Joy. You've hit the nail on the head - the whole purpose of NaNoWriMo is to learn to lock your inner critic in the closet and just write - have a plan, or no, but the point is to free yourself from restrictions and just write. See where your characters take you, you might be surprised just where you end up. :-)

I did that last year, and I won. I've never felt more creatively free in my life. I'll never forget the experience and I can't even begin to tell you all that I've learned about my writing self and style. NaNoWriMo is EXACTLY what I need to produce any kind of quantity - the motivation and as you stated, permission to make a mess.

Notice I didn't say quality, that comes later. But it's hard to edit something if you don't first produce it. *smile*

Good luck, kiddo. I'm rooting for you.

Jamie 10/27/2006 11:50 PM  

Joy, You have always had permission to make a mess. Making a mess when you are creating is fun and can bring the passionate feelings you have as a kid back into your ho hum adult life. Go ahead, make the biggest mess that you can possibly make, forget about whether or not it is perfect, and you tell those harpies that your little sister is telling them to take a hike. I love yeah, Joy, I have seen those harpies hard at work. Destroying the joy of what it is you love so much, because you fear making a mistake, or being wrong. Being wrong is ok, you won’t be killed, or laughed. Many writers and journalists have made some huge mistakes and they recuperate and move on from those things. Life history played a role in the foundation in the building of those critical, horrible, mean spirited harpies that fester in your mind. It is time to build a new harpies, and throw those old ones to the curb. I am proud of you, I enjoy your writing, give yourself the credit and all the breaks that you need to accomplish your life’s passions, I mean all of them. I am slowly learning this in my life. I love you…

Kathy 11/02/2006 9:24 AM  

You sure can write Joy, so whatever this Nano’ing is all about, I'm sure you'll do well (mess or not).
BTW, I loved comment # 1, where Karen wrote; "to lock your inner critic in the closet and just write" because this was/is the reason I blog (Tiger being my inner critic).
I never even knew I could write before blogging.
My sister was brave enough to self publish our family story about losing our 2 brothers. When I read her thoughts and saw they matched mine own it left me wanting to write too...I think that is what makes a good writer.
Easy said than done, I know, but it's DOable.
Good luck.

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