Closing out Nanowrimo and the November Challenge at 750Words.com delivers a smile to my writing face. In the past, completed Nanowrimos stood as Mount Everests which taxed my will and determination. The Monthly Challenge at 750Words always set me into a writing pressure cooker with the focus on word count, not content. This year, in these two steps forward, I see my writing getting back to form.
My blogs’ lives perk up as energy courses their veins again. As a writer, the ups and downs of emotion and drudgery and life all cause ripples in consistency and output. Word to the wise – find your writing self. Find what identifies you internally as a writer and key on that identity. I read a quote I’ve seen a number of times, but on this occasion it finally stuck a bit. Every had that happen to you? I call it personal growth when you finally begin to grasp the impact of these quotes’ meanings. The quote stated, “Find what you love to do, and focus your time and energies on doing it!”
This quote reveals the simplistic characteristic of success. Success does not necessarily complicate itself like we seem to believe. Success comes more easily when we simplify and focus our energies on what we do well. I write well and I teach well. These stand as my loves and my passions and my strengths. When I get away from them and work too hard shoring up my weaknesses, I struggle. Weaknesses like marketing, technologies, and feelings of despair when I do not function well in my weaknesses.
This parallels the plight of everyday folk, doesn’t it? I am no different than any other person who struggles with creativity and success. The road is not paved. The road is not clearly marked. The road through to success gets trail-blazed by each of us in our own way. Yes, similarities allow us to speak in terms of general direction, but our own path is something we must walk.
This blog, I hope, will help someone realize no matter how much you wish to blame the world for your lack of success in writing, the answers lie within yourself. When things do not work the way you desire, alter your approach. Learn what works. Better yet, learn what makes you tick and key on whatever that may be. Be willing to grow yourself in the directions you desire to go.
I don’t care what others say of the writing life. The path to success wriggles and winds around in our minds causing each of us much grief and second guessing. What each of us does with these struggles defines us. Too often we do not care for this. Realize the struggles define us. Yes, I repeated that on purpose. In our definition lies our success. The sooner you realize as an author who you are and what defines you, the sooner you step into your successes.
I wrote Nanowrimo and “won” for the fourth time in eight years. For those not “in the know,” Nanowrimo.org runs a yearly contest. This contest consists of you, the writer, keying at least 50,000 words between November 1st and November 30th. If you indeed do so, you “win.” You may even print out a certificate (pictured) for your own pleasure. What you actually win is the confidence that you indeed may write a book in 30 days.
I did not “compete in” the last three Nanowrimos due to extreme personal drama. I averaged 2100 words per day this time, and sailed over 62,000 words through the word count challenge. Combining Nanowrimo with 750Words.com’s monthly challenge of keying at least 750 words a day, I set myself up for extreme personal satisfaction. The confidence levels which arrive when you successfully meet goals show priceless in your journey as a writer. I did not struggle to write but for one day. On that day, I hit my low word count of 842 words. Not bad. And my average day still hit 2100. I had a couple 3500 word days. For the most part, I was consistent with 2000.
What does this mean to you?
You can do this. When you aspire to write, the task requires no special skills. No hidden talents. No high education. No extreme knowledge of grammar and punctuation rules. What writing takes is a dedication and a passion. Those two items become your prerequisites of critical importance. Determination and action win the day. A willingness to “put yourself out there” colors and shades the sketch of how you will define yourself as a writer.
I cannot tell you how to walk your path. I may only convey to you the processes and actions I’ve taken. Hopefully some of them will benefit you. Hopefully you may adopt some of my successes and turn them into your own. Anyone who tells you certain things must be done in a certain fashion with regard to writing, I say, “beware.” Most of us who write struggle to find our way. We look for paths and constantly run into dead ends. We pick ourselves up and begin the trek anew and run into dead ends.
I’ve been led to many dead ends in my writing by well-intentioned writers. Better to simply pluck the best of what other writers give you, and throw away the rest and realize you will craft your path yourself. Until you do, you likely will struggle. When you do build your road, you likely will struggle. Isn’t the struggle part of what drives us as writers? Think about it.
For now, my advice stands as this: Find out who you are as a writer by taking on the amazing act of writing. Find your own rhythms, your voice, your passion. Stay away from critics who look to tear you down. Until you find and define yourself, the critics will hound you. Once you find and define yourself, the critics shout louder. Once you find and define yourself as a writer, their criticisms become nothing more than helpful nuggets you either incorporate into your writing or reject because they fit or don’t fit your definition.
You possess the power. You always have. You always will. Your personal definition as a writer lies in your willingness to grasp the power within and use it.