It is one thing to have a dream – it is quite another to have the accountability in place to achieve it.
For many of us, it is easier to harbour our deepest desires close to our heart without the need to divulge them to the world. Maybe it is because we will find it easier to deal with any failure if no one is any the wiser to these dreams, maybe it is because we fear it will be too tough going and want to be able to quit without encountering disparaging remarks.
Then there is the ever present, and number one dream killer to contend with – time. Nothing fatally thwarts a dream quicker than an endless to-do list and an overcommitted life.
But on the flip side, you have to ask yourself: how does anyone ever achieve anything of significance if they don’t carve out a plan and time?
And there it was – as my idol Oprah would say, I had myself an “AHA Moment”. It could not be more simpler – you don’t find time, you MAKE time. And what is more – you make yourself accountable! So, with November being “National Novel Writing Month” (or NaNoWriMo for those in the know) the perfect opportunity presented itself for me to make a plan that I answerable to.
I’d known of this movement for years, but had always been hesitant, because the NaNoWriMo premise revolves around participants being able to produce 50,000 words in 30 days. That meant approximately 1,667 words had to be plucked from my imagination and placed on the blank page every single day for an entire month. It was far too daunting a thought, especially when I factored in all the responsibilities I had scheduled for November already.
But then two very clever chicks whom I’ve long admired conspired to create a mini version of this mammoth manuscript exercise. Kelly from A Life Less Frantic and Alison, who can be found at Life In A Pink Fibro created a ‘Near Enough’ NaNoWriMo breakaway cluster that argued that even if you only get 5,000 or 25,000 words written in this month, then that is better than no words at all. And that is when the light-bulb flickered to life in my sub conscious. I already had a 30,000 word head start – surely if I set myself a small, but ultimately achievable goal of adding 15,000 words to it I would not be intimidated (and therefore frightened off) before I even began?
And so began my maiden NaNoWriMo voyage on Nov 1, spurred on by the camaraderie and inspiration of my fellow “Near Enough” collaborators (thanks to the online group Kelly created) and already I can feel the changes in my psyche taking place. Suddenly turning up to the page, even if I feel my creativity has gone on strike for being overworked, is morphing into habit. Yes, I am likely churning out some sentences that may turn out to be utter crap, but, hey, at least there are actual words now there on the page instead of a glaringly blank screen. Besides, that is what editing is for. No first draft is ever going to be polished perfection.
With 38,000 words now recorded I’m further along the creative writing path than I have ever been before. It is both scary and exhilarating all at once (remember joyfear?) but what is most compelling to me is the fact I feel a habit forming in my life. There is no need for me to cease from this headspace once November is over because I have begun to train myself into being accountable for my dream. I have trained myself to find the time to write.
Slowly, I see this desire of mine begin to mould itself into a concrete goal. Sure I have no control over whether the material I’m creating is clever enough to one day find itself bound into the glossy hardcover of a book, but right about now I’ll focus on what I do have jurisdiction over; finishing this manuscript that first blossomed as a seed in my mind almost 7 years before. And you all have permission to hold me to that!