Writing Posts

NaNoWriMo – Success or Failure?

NaNoWriMo – Success or Failure?

October 31st, 2014. NaNoWriMo was beginning the next day, and this year I would do it!

For those who don’t live in the on-line writing world, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, an annual internet-based creative writing project where writers set themselves a goal, and go for it! Some I know have had great success. My friend, Violet, is wrapping up the first draft of the third book in her Charlotte series, written in as many years, the first two already published!

I could do that, I thought. I have two WIPs on the go (Works In Progress). This will be my push to get one of them done. I even had an accountability partner, dear friend Melanie, who stayed in contact, giving little nudges, trying to move me forward.

My goal, however, became, a moving target as ‘stuff’ kept getting in the way.

Passion in Community

Do you have a passion? Something deep within you that drives you, calls you, tugs at you to pay attention, notice and engage?

What are you doing with it?

My passion for writing began as a teen. At times I wrote voraciously, knowing that only through this act would I manage to release enough emotion to maintain a foothold in the world.

There were seasons where my passion was dormant, a seed waiting for conditions that would stir it to life again.

This time the stirring came with a change. Now, in my 60’s, my passion wants to mature. Where before, I coloured madly, using crayons at random, now I yearn to colour within the lines, to form my craft, and hone it.

This means gathering tools, learning their names, their use. I read about writing. I try what I read, find workshops, a writing group; I work in community.

Stifling Creativity, or Not

You’d think this would stifle the creative spirit, but instead, it grows. Tools tap unknown sources, bring forth writing beyond what I thought I knew.

I’ve just completed a week of writing with 20 like-minded women under the direction of our mentor, Eunice Scarfe. Strategically, Eunice chose and shared the words of others who write – famous names, obscure authors, students from past classes. After hearing, the direction was always the same. “Now go and write, use what you’ve heard, or not. But write. You have 30 minutes.”

And we did, harnessing our passion, gathering its power.

Stirred by the stories of others, words spilled with joy, tears, confusion, and purpose. We wrote inside and outside the lines. We scribbled and refined. We wandered, and set forth with purpose.

And then we shared.

Not a solitary task

The task of writing is, by need, a solitary one, but it is nurtured in community. The act of setting baggage beside one another builds a communal strength where unexplored depths find their way to the surface, to the page.

In the same way it takes a village to raise a child, I believe it takes a community to grow a writer, a musician, an athlete, an academic, a teacher, a humanitarian, a believer.

What is your passion? Where did you find your community? Or are you, perhaps, still looking for one? Tell me in the comments. I’d like to know.

photo credit: Camdiluv ♥ via photopin cc

What’s the Definition of “Complete”?

As the new year begins, I see many writers resolving to tidy up the plethora of projects begun but not complete; the bits and pieces of notes, stories, essays and plans; the ideas floating in files, in boxes, sometimes just in their heads.

Today I came across this scripture and realized it has significance beyond the immediate concern Paul was addressing with the Corinthian church.

Now, finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. (2 Corinthians 8:11-12)

Can we then say that exercising our gift of writing and completing the projects the Lord has laid on our hearts is what makes it an acceptable offering to the Lord?

Not being published.

Not being reviewed.

Not being shared.

Not being followed.

Not being retweeted.

Only exercising and completing, according to our means, according to our ability.

This train of thought brought several heart-searching questions to mind.

Do I see God’s pleasure as the end result of my work as a writer? Or do I still think worldly affirmation is the only thing that counts?

Do I fail to complete projects because I don’t think they’ll go anywhere publicly?

Do I allot my energy according to marketability, and not according to what God is laying on my heart?

In the end, it has to come down to this.

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever they do. (Ephesians 6:7-8)

One final consideration. Once completed, it’s the Lord who will decide where it goes. If it goes nowhere, perhaps it was a learning between him and me. And perhaps he has plans, either small or great, down the road.

Isn’t that his choice?
photo credit: lovecat via photopin cc