Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How Do You Define Yourself?

‘You can’t define yourself with negatives. You have to choose adjectives.’ Stacy London, What Not to Wear

While Stacy was talking about a particular woman’s very low self image it occurred to me it could also apply to writers.

Especially given all the the pressure going on now with NaNoWriMo. Especially for those people that feel they have no hope of really finishing it.

And so they feel they have failed.

I’ve heard that from a few friends recently and I was surprised. Not at the feelings of being upset or disappointed, but the fact they used the word Failed. In regard to something like NaNo.

Perhaps I don’t take NaNo as seriously as some people do, but hey, they aren’t paying me for that writing. They aren’t giving me any particular benefits for doing it. The benefits that we get from participating - whether we finish or not - only come from us. And our expectations of ourselves.

So to go along with Stacy London - but paraphrasing - Don’t define yourself - or your writing - with negatives. Choose adjectives. I say Choose Good Adjectives. You are a Writer. You can do it!

As for Failing at NaNo … You only Fail if you allow yourself to feel you did.

And if you didn’t learn a darn thing from it.

Have there been times I didn’t finish NaNo - you betcha. Did I feel I failed. NO. Because I learned invaluable things about my writing, my story, my characters, my scheduling….my voice. I learned all kinds of things, writing and not writing.

So if you are feeling a bit down right now - you don’t have to give up. There are NaNo get togethers going on all over town for ‘write in’ kind of things to get as much done as you can.

If you have already given up, don’t feel like you failed. Sit down and figure out what all you learned this month. Maybe you learned how much time you really need, or don’t need, to really get some writing done. Perhaps you learned you hate these characters, you need new ones - So, get some. Maybe the story needs new characters. Or a new angle. Maybe it’s really a short story or novella, not a novel.

If you sit down and think about it, even a bit, you can find all kinds of things you learned from what you did do. Or even what you didn’t do. Perhaps your heart just isn’t in it. Or in the story.

Whatever your experience you can learn from it.

If you want to. If you choose to.

If you need more thoughts or ideas, I can help with that.

But you have to choose what words you are going to use to define your experience this month.

Choose good ones.

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