On your marks, get set… NanoWriMo!
This month is National Novel Writing Month (NanoWriMo), and whether you plan to get down 500 words a day (as many participants do), or simply use the motivation to push you forward, it’s an excellent opportunity. But it begs the question, how do you muster the willpower to keep going?
Honestly, does anybody know how to properly balance rigor with rest?
It seems that most of us have a tendency to fall on one side of the spectrum or the other. However, I’ve divined so much wisdom from the chakras on this one. It’s all about maintaining a healthy solar plexus, or as I call it “Going Pro.”
The Solar Plexus is your power center for discipline and will, but just like any other chakra it needs to stay in balance. With too little discipline, you never build the momentum to get the book out into the world. With too much discipline you either ignore your creativity all together (in the favor of the practical things you “should” be doing) or you push so hard you burn out and give up.
The balance between rigor vs. rest seems so much more obvious in our bodies than it does in our professional lives. If we’re too indulgent, the consequences show up. If we’re too strenuous or stressed our body communicates through pain. And yet who among us isn’t a little too persnickety on one side or the other? However when you get into a good rhythm with diet and exercise, while still making time to splurge now and then, it feels great.
Allow me to over-extend the metaphor here.
Those who apply more rigor to their physical bodies are generally very athletic and can do lots of different things, but it comes from a place of joy. Either the love of a specific sport or fitness practice. The same goes for writing. The more rigor you apply the better your results will be. You have more momentum. It’s easier to build on what you’ve done.
A cache of content in fiction or nonfiction gives you more fexibility and opportunity. That’s the real gift of NanoWriMo. Once you polish, you can submit to various publications, use it in your social media, or build SEO. You also feel more confident in general. There might be a specific skill you’d like to improve, but that’s not a problem when you’ve been practicing.
Actually, I think its best when people practice writing the same way they do sports. You don’t have to compete in the Olympics to have a healthy body, and you don’t have to be world-famous to have a healthy writing career. There are plenty of levels and opportunities between doing nothing and the New York Times bestseller list.
Think of how much more engaged, fulfilled and creative people would be if you took the same attitude to writing as to running. When you lace up your tennis shows, nobody says, “Why bother, you’re never going to be famous.” No. They say, “That’s a wonderful habit which is going to make your whole life better.”
Lately, I’ve been putting pen to paper on my book on a regular basis, and I have two major tips on how to keep your willpower balanced, so you’re more productive. First, find some nonverbal hobbies, like running, yoga, or painting, so that you give your temporal lobe a rest on a daily basis. Also, be sure and connect with a community so that you partake in the group energy. If you haven’t been commenting on the posts in The Writer’s Block, come join the fun!