NaNoWriMo, no?

Yes.

My writer friends have finally convinced me to try NaNoWriMo. I’ve resisted for years because I worry about the whole failure thing. It’s a big ask. 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s at least 1,600 words every day and if you fall behind, it would be incredibly hard to catch up. If I fail, what is that going to do to my motivation?

I’ve been struggling to write anything as it is. (See my last post for more info.) Right now I’m coasting in the clear crystal air of normal thought and feeling. It’s a fantastic feeling being out of the drowning water, but it also feels fragile, as if one small thing could break and send me back down. What if failing NaNoWriMo is what does it?

On the other hand, fear of failure is a stupid reason to not do something. I refuse to let depression and anxiety rule my life. And that means taking risks and doing stuff that might hurt.

Coincidentally (or perhaps not), I’ve rediscovered my motivation to write again–2,000+ words in the last 24 hours. I’ve rediscovered the desire to make writing a major focus of my life. NaNoWriMo seems to have arrived at the most opportune time to help get me into the swing of writing regularly. Whether or not I reach the 50,000-word target, getting into the habit of writing regularly is a massive win. Also, as one of my writing friends said, even if i just write 1,000 words over the whole month, that’s 1,000 more words than I had at the start–another win.

Additionally, I stumbled across a post about depression that really clicked with me and gave me a great way to think about this particular mental illness. Right at the end of the post Steven, the author, talks about how the really bad thoughts that you get when you’re depressed are not your personal thoughts but are actually more like symptoms of the illness.

Oh my god.

That is just the most useful piece of information about dealing with depression I’ve ever heard. Separating the symptom-thoughts of depression from the actual real me-thoughts in my head is going to be a hugely powerful tool in dealing with this illness. And I can use that tool if things don’t go perfectly in NaNoWriMo to get the most out of the experience.

So here’s to a month of winning and 50,000 words.

Sneaky universe

Turns out the universe is sneakier than I thought. I’ve been feeling very un-creative lately. I’ve been worrying that I haven’t been writing enough, that I haven’t been photographing enough, that I haven’t been blogging enough. I’ve felt like I was wasting my days off from my day job because I haven’t followed through with my plan to devote them solely to creative endeavours. Instead they’ve been filled with dentist appointments and grocery shopping and other mundanities.

And then the universe started sending me messages–little moments of synchronicity that have become impossible to ignore. More and more of my friends seem to be reaching turning points in their lives. Everybody seems to be discovering that where they are now is not where they want to be and, in order to get where they want to be, they need to make scary decisions. The theme coming out of hours of deep and meaningfuls is that in order to get what you want, you have to take a risk and jump in wholeheartedly. You have to believe that you have the ability and determination to pull off your dreams. I started this process last year. However, it’s becoming clear that I haven’t quite managed to follow through. Going part-time at work was a big step for me, but I haven’t done enough with the time. I think the universe is onto me.

Perhaps it’s just me, but the number of inspirationals about following your dreams in my Facebook feed seems to have doubled in the last couple of weeks.

And then there are those stupid gambling ads on TV that keep yelling at me to back myself. Even Masterchef the other night (I swear I wasn’t watching it and just flicked over in the ads) was going on about how I am the only one that can make my dreams come true and that if I don’t actually do anything, I’ll forever be just a dreamer.

So I was going to write a blog post about how I was failing at writing and failing at photography and failing at being the change I need in my life. But as I was doing it, I started to come up with a list of all the things I’d been doing instead of being creative. And I realised I’d made a mistake.

A couple of weeks ago I did two of half-day courses in Photoshop and started going back over old photos to see if I could improve them. Turns out I could…

I also started a document of random, incomplete story ideas the other day. So I’ve actually been doing a couple of hundred words of writing every day even though it’s not on one specific project.

And on top of that, I made up some Valkyrie wings for a fitness model friend for her next comp. image1   So it turns out that I’m a bit more on track than I thought. Instead of the horrible I-Haven’t-Done-Enough motivation I had at the start of this post, I’ve got more of an I-Can-Do-This motivation. It’s amazing how much more motivating that is. Thank you universe. I need to go write something.