National Novel Writing Month and What is Getting Me Through
So, next month is National Novel Writing Month (also called NaNoWriMo; No, I can’t pronounce it) and I’ve decided to give it a go. The idea is to post about 1,667 words a day, in the month of November, so by the end of the month you have (Voila) a 50,000-word novel! Whether it will be worth reading or not is debatable. But the point here is quantity over quality, so we go with this post!
“Quantity over what?!.. I think you’ve got that backwards!”
No, I don’t. Over the past couple of years, I have had idea after idea for a book. Each time, I lodge the idea in the safe, private haven of my mind to be perfected, critiqued, and tweaked, until I’ve stressed out about the idea enough to give up.
Until it comes back. So, I guess that writing something in the month of November, not matter how it turns out, will be better than not writing. As I mentioned in a recent video for our church’s small group curriculum, One of the worst things you can do for your creative health is to NOT share your thoughts. Rarely does God speak to our hearts with something not meant to be shared. Ideas are seeds. As safe as they are in our minds; They are dead. Dead, until they are cast from our minds into the garden soil of another thinkers conscious.
There was once a story of a college art teacher who had a very interesting experiment for his class: He divided the class into two groups. And to each group, he gave some clay. “I want each group to make vases for the next hour.” He said, “But here is the catch, I want one group to focus on quality: To make the best vase possible. I want you to make just one vase in the next hour and make it the very best vase you can.” To the second group he said, “Your task is simple: To make as many vases as possible. quantity over quality for you.” With that, he set the two groups to work and left the room. After the hour, he came back in to inspect the work. Surprisingly, when everyone saw each others work, the quantity group, actually made better vases than the group that focused on quality! As it turns out, while the quantity group was cooking out vases, they were learning something new each time. They made mistakes, then fixed them, then made new ones, then fixed those. But the quality group played it safe. They could only make one vase and it had to be perfect. So, they didn’t try anything, didn’t make any mistakes, and didn’t improve anything for fear of damaging their one-and-only vase.
Mozart composed thousands of concertos. Most, of which, were mediocre. Some were pathetic. and about a few hundred were the most brilliant pieces of music ever written.
That is the idea getting me through this: A month of ideas typed and posted. Some will be good. Some will be bad. But in all that creating, I will be learning something about my writing and myself.
And that’s exciting!
* This post is my first in WordPress’ Post-a-day Challenge, which gives you topic everyday to write about! I’m doing this through October just to help me get ready for NaNOWriMo!