I have begun writing my first novel. My friend Judi tells me that each November there is a national challenge of writing a novel in one month. The challenge is that of writing 50,000 words in one month; 1,667 per day toward a new novel. The goal is to complete a first draft, even a messy one; the editing and rewriting can come later.
Why would I do that? For the same reason I began my first Yoga class last Thursday. For the same reason I learn a new German word each day on my iGoogle home page. For the same reason I do Zentangle art. And for the same reason, that in the past, I have learned to do meditation and tai chi, to fly an airplane and a hang glider.
Sometimes it helps to put oneself in the place of a beginner; to do something one knows that one cannot do well at the beginning. Sometimes it helps to challenge oneself to complete a task that seems so daunting at the beginning, one questions one’s sanity. A creative challenge stretches the mind and imagination that can never go back to its original size.
To start at a beginning, a place of innocence, no blame, is being a beginner traveling in a foreign land. These journeys make my life richer, giving me a sense of confidence and mastery. But, the journeys also bring me a sense of humility. For me, these are the journeys into a great sense of awe and appreciation for the abilities of others whose creative work I consume each day and often take for granted.
Judi is a published author who teaches creative writing classes. She is way ahead of me in this venture. I struggle to keep with the daily writing pace. Today is day 6 of the journey. I need only concern myself with today’s goal by writing one sentence at a time, just as Zentangle art is made “one stroke at a time.”
The novel will take care of itself; it will write itself into what form it wants. My place is to stay in my beginner role each day as I sit and write each next sentence as it comes to me.
The goal of this journey is not to win, but to enjoy the experience, and to finish well.