It’s November which means for many writers it’s time for the madness of Nanowrimo and this year for the first time in six years… I’m not doing it. I intended too. I had things ready to go. And then I didn’t do it.
I could give you a list of “reasons” but really they are excuses and I’m a big proponent of the phrase “you can have reasons or results”. Needless to say – I don’t have the results.
It’s been a long time since I’ve written every day and most weeks I only manage 1-2,000 words, sometimes less. I’ve gotten out of the habit of writing every day even though my current novella already has a publisher and my next three books series does as well.
Yes, I can see success and I’m not getting any closer.
As a life-long fan of the Wizard of Oz film, I frequently find answers and inspiration in the movie. It’s amazing to me how many of life’s challenges have a solution that comes from Dorothy’s journey, and sure enough this situation is there as well.
“Emerald City is closer and prettier than ever,” Dorothy says and charges into the poppy field. She can see her goal and she’s racing toward it, but someone has put something in her way. In this case the flowers are poisoned and she (and the Cowardly Lion) fall asleep. They are so close to this important part of their goal and something stops them.
Now, in this case it’s the Wicked Witch who has put something in her path and Dorothy succumbs, but in most cases we are our own Wicked Witches. We put something – a reasonable excuse, an understandable distraction – in our way and suddenly we are not getting any closer to what we want. The witch can be – and for me it usually is – an internal struggle, not an external villain.
I’m not sure what specifically my “poppies” are in this case, or what has caused me to lay down and sleep rather than move forward, but I do see the result. And I don’t like it. I have these stories that need to be finished. I have these ideas that I want to make come to life. I have these characters in my head who want their journeys to be told.
Action is the only real cure for this. I need to get back into the habit if writing every day, and knowing that I am going to need to feel successful as I take these first shaky steps, I am setting a small goal of 500 new words each day. No, that’s not a nanowrimo commitment, but it is one that I can make to myself and so I can begin to see the progress that will become momentum.
And then before I know it, I’ll be back on my yellow brick road, heading to my heart’s desire. You too can get passed your field of poppies and if you aren’t sure how, just do what the Scarecrow did – yell for help.