The approach of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and a message from a Facebook friend mentioning that she was planning on participating this year reminded me of a piece of advice I gave myself three years ago around this time.
Just Show Up.
That little phrase became my mantra when the going got tough, such as the times when I opened my laptop without a clue as to what I was going to say.
Not a clue.
As I wrote on my blog a little later:
I learned that even I, who wrote sporadically at best, when the planets were in perfect alignment and the air was at exactly the right temperature and, you know, I felt like it, could discipline myself to write for 30 days with little knowledge of what was going to happen, or how. I learned to forge ahead without all the answers, which meant a lot of informational gaps, but was rewarded with character revelations I could never have expected. And somewhere along the way, I was even hit with an idea for a second novel.
Now, honesty compels me to admit that I’m not all that good about remembering or following that advice. But something magical seemed to happen when I just “forged ahead without all the answers.” Perhaps that simple act of trust freed the creative side of my brain to explore side roads it wouldn’t have gone down if I’d had a preset agenda. I don’t really know.
But I think I’m going to try it more often.
How about you?