Bandwagon and Habits

Ok, so I know it isn't November anymore, and I should shut up about writing already, but it's a good change of pace, and I have one little point to make/explore that makes sense to talk about post-nano. It's about the habit of writing. And I think it can be applied to all sorts of creative work.

A lot of people think that NaNo is all about "a big push," and getting past the internal editor and so forth, but even more importantly it teaches a valuable lesson about the power of momentum. The begging is the hardest part. Writing the first 10-20 thousand words, is really hard work and takes time to get used to the characters and the situations and what it takes to sit down every damn day and write a lot of fiction. Once you learn what it feels like, once you're situated, things get easier. It's easier to figure out what's going to happen next, and it's easier to sit down and write.

Ultimately, knowing how to push yourself and get in the habit is the best part of NaNo, and other than the rhetorical objectives, it's probably my only real "writing hack" and gives me the feeling that means that I say "I'm a writer" when someone asks me what I do.

While I don't want to endorse procrastination, I'm of the opinion that the "writing habit" is something that needs a lot of nurturing and help. Having something like a blog that can help you "warm up," or a journal, or a lively email correspondence, can sometimes help get things moving, and though it seems counter productive really help fill in the gaps between larger projects. There's such thing as "too much" odds and ends writing, but if you can get your mind moving and used to writing two to three thousand words a day, it becomes easier and easer for a greater and greater portion of these words to end up being on a fiction project.

A while back my motto was that the key to creative success, if it exists, lays somewhere in the confluence of "persistence" and "experimentation." Basically you have to try lots of different things, and keep trying lots of things because eventually something will stick. While I still think it's true on the level of "careers" on a developmental scale, I now think that's its also true on a day to day level with regards to the process of creation. Writing good content (or knitting good sweaters, or recording good audio) isn't dependent on a ritual or a specific setting, or divine inspiration; but it is dependent on writing lots of content (good and bad.)

NaNo's over. Congratulations to those who attempted and those who won. I hope you have something that you're proud of and that you learned from. I'd also encourage you to not stop yet. Edit what you have, get a good sample together. Start a new project. Keep writing.

Onward and Upward!

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