Wednesday, November 21, 2007

NaNoWriMo Update

We apologize for the inconvenience, but this update will be interrupted so that we might bring you the preceding spiritual growth update:

This year has been the year that I have discovered (repeatedly) my tendency to commit to things I thought would be long-term that do not turn out that way because, essentially, the committment was not necessarily my best option.

Or maybe I should say that in attempting to commit to certain long-term projects, I have learned a valuable lesson and moved on quickly.

For instance, a business venture that provided me with a kitchen full of lovely cooking aids and motivated me to redecorate (hanging curtains was the big one) my home and make it homey again did not provide me with the business opportunity I had originally imagined it might, and so I let it go to pursue other, more exciting opportunities for personal growth.

Or, in this particular case, a month-long novel writing project lasted three or four good solid days and then dissipated like a mist. However, I will note that I also got my daughter on board and she now has about 40,000 of the 50,000 word goal completed...not to mention a story that sounds really compelling!

Those are two larger examples, but this kind of thing has been patterning in my life this year. I start something, thinking it will lead one way, and I follow it down a rabbit hole of discovery and learn something almost completely unexpected.

In the past, I might have labelled these outcomes as failures, being the rabid perfectionist I had known myself to be, but now I have a greater appreciation for these kinds of things. It reminds me a little of the MasterCard commercials that have become part of our collective unconscious. But rather than dollar amounts, I find myself listing experiences that lead to a cumulative discovery that is "priceless," or that, in other words, I would not have experienced had I not had the benefit of the other seemingly tedious accumulation of events.

So for now, I'm trying to just go with the flow that these experiences suggest to me, and I realize that I have learned a valuable lesson in courage. Previously, I would have been too terrified to even start the larger projects, but I have now given myself permission to try things out and decide if they are "for me" or not. Some things have not been for me—for instance, writing a novel in November (in a year when I have company and am cooking for Thanksgiving no less!); but some things have absolutely been for me—such as, painting and dancing!

I'm also forgiving myself for all the times in the past that I berated myself for starting something and deciding it wasn't for me and calling it "quitting." I've learned so much about how it is absolutely necessary, for an authentic and joyful life, to follow your own preference. You may say, "Well, elementary my dear Watson," and you would be right, but sometimes people get lost when they don't have a history of support for their preferences. I believe I may have been one of those people. Luckily, I have found my way out of the maze of people-pleasing and into the bright, verdant meadow where I can happily chase the butterflies of my personal preferences.

It's such a relief to know that the earth will keep spinning even if I do things that other people don't approve of or judge me for, and to be released from the tragedy of trying to fit in with others' expectations of what a life should look like.

But wasn't there supposed to be an "update" on my writing progress?

For now, we'll just say I wrote almost 6,000 words, discovered a great character, released a lot of pent-up dramatic thoughts, and chose to focus on the six or eight other things in my life that I prefer more. This November was not my month for a novel.

And that's perfectly O-K!

© Nicole J. Williams, 2007, all rights reserved.