Limitations

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.

― George Bernard Shaw

Are we the victim or the master of our limitations?

As NANO draws to a close, I wonder if the month of November in retrospect will be viewed as a boon or a trial.  I know hundreds of thousands of us each year, succumb to the lure of the fantasy that we can win, we can finish the “sleeper” novel, the one that will put us on the Times list, the breakout novel of our lives—if we just finish the damn thing.
Isn’t that what NANO is really about?  Finishing the damn novel?

It’s true, writing is a struggle and a joy and our life’s dream, but if we tell the truth, most of us would rather ‘have written’ than aspire to be writers.

I do involve myself every year in the NANO frenzy.  I always go in with hopes high, expectations realistic, high energy, and a modicum of healthy skepticism.  I know I can write every day, or almost every day.  I do that in my real life.  In spite of keeping a full-time job and a family.  And my family is a keeper.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I wonder if I suffer from delusions of adequacy?

When does the day come when we accept the mediocrity of the first draft, the need for additional revision and the willingness to let go of the silly thing after the fourth or fifth or even the eleventh revision?  When is the novel done?  Is it when you know in your heart you simply can’t do any better than this?  Or is it when you’re just to exhausted to revise one more time?

Is the novel complete when you choose to abandon it?  Or is it done when you file it under the bed?  We all know if you do sell it, it’s not done, it will need more revision.

So is this all there is to the writing life?

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Limitations

“There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.”

– Ronald Reagan

It’s true, as writers we believe we are limited only by our imaginations, and as writers those limitations simply do not exist.

Don’t believe it?  Check out the number of genres in fiction.

Futuristic, Fantasy, Paranormal, Steampunk, Women’s Fiction, Regency, Historical, Medieval, and the cross genres too numerous to mention here.

Even contemporary writing features a host of subdivisions which entice so many readers, even in a shrinking market for print publication fighting hard against epublishing, romance still dominates the market.

And do you know why that is?  Because everyone out there who reads a book—-any book –is looking for the validation that good triumphs over evil and the good guys will always overcome the odds against them and there really is a happily ever after.

Need I say more?

Apparently I do need to point out that many writers claim they suffer from “writers block”, which is a purely imaginary disease, (*Please note dis-ease) brought on by self-doubt inspired by outsiders who feel the need to criticize, demean, belittle or embarrass us into believing we cannot entertain others with the fruit of our imaginations.

I believe we empower others to disable us with that criticism and therefore there is no writers block.

After all, if you choose to believe the few who jealousy do not support your creative endeavors, maybe you should give up writing.  The road to publication is long and often tiresome and does require the development of a thick skin.

Most of us however, learn from our mistakes, and do acquire encouraging mentors and helpful constructive critics who assist us in our growth and allow and encourage us to improve on the talent we have.

What is important to remember here is limitations are self-imposed.  So if your story is too fantastical and no one would ever believe it, show me how it’s done and lift the curtain of disbelief.  Then you’re a writer.

Or maybe you are the type of person who aspires to be an author, and not a writer?

What’s the difference?

The difference friends, is writers write every day.  They writer above, around and thorough the criticism of their writing not being good enough, not publishable, and no one really wants to see that kind of story.  It’s too tired, too overdone, or the readers are too jaded to believe those of us with imagination can bring the “same old story” to life.

People, insert writers, do it every day.  Have you heard, or read the one about there are only 20 plots?  Anyone?

Whereas authors, if this is what you aspire to be, spend their time at book signings, book fairs, on promotional tours, and wondering when the hell they’re gonna find the time to write the damn book, because they were writers to start with, and really, that’s what they want to do, write you a story.

The inference here is, don’t bemoan who you are or where you are at this moment.  You are exactly where you’re supposed to be, so just sit down and write the story.  And if you need company, support encouragement or whatnot, join us for NANO.

Why?  Because writers write, and we’re all really writers, even the authors among us.

Happy writing!

 


Let the fun…or is it stress…begin

November. Fall is in the air with every breath inhaled. Crisp red, yellow leaves litter the walkways and pumpkins lay bright orange in the fields waiting to be picked and taken home. Record temperatures here in Colorado make the month seem hot, almost like September, but I hear there is snow on the way. What a beautiful, lovely time…until I remember everything that needs to be accomplished in this month.

And I’m already behind.

First there’s Nano. Write a book in a month. This is a wonderful way to get a book out and not worry about editing (I love this considering I hate editing) and easy if you can do 1666 words a day. Piece of cake…or pumpkin pie, right? But I started a new job and find my time isn’t as free as it used to be. I haven’t done more than 2000 words in total. But I’m not worried. Yet.

Then there is the decorating, shopping, cleaning and cooking for the holidays. Thanksgiving is a grand time and I DO have so much to be thankful for. I truly am blessed and have nothing to complain about. Not like the folks on the Eastern Coast who were hit so hard with hurricane Sandy. My prayers and thoughts are with them. But that doesn’t stop the stress from creeping up on me anyway. Breathing down my back about what’s next on the list and if I’m really going to make everything on time.

Third, the children are home during the important week of getting the house in order before the out of town family descends. I’d love for the house to stay in one piece, so mother doesn’t make those ‘useful’ suggestions. How her house was always so clean and why I seem to be struggling. (I always make sure alcohol is the first item purchased. In bulk.)

Then, there is Xmas shopping.  Black Friday! Oh, the horror. I hate to shop! And with about ten million other people yelling, pushing doesn’t scream anything other than torture. The internet has become my best friend and I admit I get most of this done through the computer. Thank you technology.

And there you have it. I love November, but sometimes I do develop a rash. And a twitch.

How about you? Do you love November? Or does the fun just stress you the heck out?

Welcome to NANO 2012

Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them.

― Henry Ford

And this is why we do NANO every year.  They say, whoever they are, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  Each and every year thousands of aspiring authors fall prey to the indecision , agonizing over whether or not to participate in the annual National Novel Writing Organized competition.

Who are you competing against?  Yourself.

Yes, that’s right no pressure.  No editing, no criticism, no looking back.  Just move forward and finish 50,000 words in thirty days.  Sounds like too much?  It can be done.

Even those of us with a life that includes other, Husbands, children,( single or multiple) and pet who require care, i.e. walking, such as the dog, have been known to complete a NANO project.

How,  you ask?  Perseverance.

It’s really not very difficult.  It’s 1,666 words per day, or six and three-quarters pages, double spaced.  Don’t write every day?  You can write ahead or catch up on the weekends.   It really doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it.

Take a chance, take a pause, take a moment for yourself.  Finish the manuscript by working on it every chance you get.

You can do it.  Join us for success.

More words to inspire next week, gotta go do NANO!