I once had a drawing teacher that taught me a very important life lesson. Once all of us were in the room, with our charcoal sets at the ready, he told us to very carefully rip a new piece of sketch paper out of our books.
But – carefully now – because we didn’t want to wrinkle or tear the edges of something that would so heavily impact our grades!
The sound of ripping construction paper filled the room as the sun slowly began to peak through the windows of our 8 a.m. drawing class. Still half asleep, he told us that now was the time to begin. That, in front of us on our easels, was our next great creation. After 15 minutes of detailed deliverables and project guidelines, most of us were so weighted with the importance of what stood before us, that we hesitated to put charcoal to paper.
Then, our teacher told us to rip the paper off the easel and throw it on the ground, stomping on it with our dirty shoes.
That’s right, smash a big ‘ol footprint right in the middle of our carefully selected, white drawing paper – the dirtier the better.
Because it’s easier to face something that has already been started, that can only be improved upon. The pressure of mis-drawing a line was gone, once a dirty footprint sat where our artwork would be. We could improve upon the current design, or chose to make something completely different that masked the dirt, so that the footprint was no longer the focal point. No matter our intentions, though, we had just effectively eliminated that beginning step.
How many times have you not started something because it wasn’t the right time, put off a business endeavor so long that it was no longer relevant, or wasted a year publishing your new website because it wasn’t perfect yet? (Don’t worry; I’m guilty of all of the above, too).
The fear of starting, is crippling. I know, I’m a professional writer, and this plagues me almost daily. But this is the real world – we have deadlines and timelines – and the only way to finish a project is to start it.
So, I’m dedicating this entire month just to starting, and I started by joining NaNoWriMo.
It’s National Novel Writing Month: a pledge to write 50,000 words in 30 days for no other reason than to do it. The rules are simple: quality or not, just submit all original words to complete the challenge. The only quota is word count. No marketing initiatives, no data, no specific education or background needed, for we are all equals in the word-counting NaNo algorithm.
With a blank page to fill every morning, you could say this is the ultimate antidote for writer’s block.
For me, this is a very refreshing idea. It’s been a minute since I sat down and wrote something with no objective. Just because I enjoy it.
As a writer, I’ve used my talent to help brands connect with heir audiences. To create a story that transcends revenue incentives and corporate policy to connect with consumers on an emotional level. Storytelling, evoking emotions, opening a window to someone else’s world and bringing people together through words – that’s what I do.
And I love it.
But for one month, I’m focusing on where the words take me (look at me, I’m already getting dreamy with it). I think I’ll travel the world and go back to those places I’ve visited, rewrite the story and share it with the world. It might turn out great, and you could be reading the next Great American novel, or I might just have a bit of content stocked up for my blog. The beauty is, that it doesn’t really matter.
The challenge is simple to write 50,000 words of anything. And, odds are, something will come of it.
Wanna join me? CLICK HERE to set up a profile and add me as a friend!