Reflection and creation during this time of year is almost an act of defiance in and of itself when done during this disjointed and out of sync cultural season, but these are always a part of my process when my yearly adventure with Nanowrimo has ended and winter solstice and Yule are approaching.
For those who aren’t familiar with National Novel Writing Month, it’s an amazing challenge to write 50,000 words of new fiction in 30 days each November and despite the name, it’s a worldwide adventure. It’s during a month when many of us have the same perceived barriers (the holidays, final exams, end of year descending) and yet it’s something I’ve successfully tackled (or “won”) 15 times since 2002.
I enjoyed my 18th year of writing a novel in 30 days in the same way that I always do… reveling in the quirky traditions of my region while also marveling at how different each year can feel. New people, new me, new story, new challenges that make a massive writing endeavor such a tricky thing.
November is both a constant in my life and a yearly dive into the unknown, and it might just be the reason I remain so grounded during the early weeks of holiday frenzy. I’m too busy typing toward a creative finish line with a bunch of nerds who are doing the same. Instead of wondering when I’ll grow tired of writing 50,000 words of fiction every year, I find myself always eager to bring a new friend or colleague into the Nanowrimo fold.
I find my voice as a writer shifting each year in ways that aren’t necessarily creating a mass market top seller of me, but are pulling fiction out of me that is deeply animistic, cathartic, and cleansing in the best and most creative ways. During the past few Nanowrimo events I’ve pondered whether intuitive, unfettered writing while in this Nanowrimo zone isn’t actually a type of trance space in and of itself, creating deep shifts that pull forward a part of me that only emerges when I’m typing without filter, judgment, or agenda.
Why am I telling you about a yearly adventure that’s already ended for 2019?
I think it’s important to remember that the creative is part of our larger journey, it holds deep value toward our growth and our healing, and all of those soul-deep parts of us thrive in the creating, not the selling, displaying, or distributing of “finished” works. Creating is where we’re feeding hungry parts of ourselves in ways that nourish just as deeply as (although certainly not a replacement for) a solid meal.
Remember that this season may create a feeling that you don’t have time for the things that give you consistent personal satisfaction and the enjoyment of everyday life, but these days leading up to a number of holidays, a new year, a new decade, a next whatever… they’re all just days.
Days you deserve to be present for, not rushing through, not enduring until the holidays are over.
These are days that can contain all of you, the creative, the mundane, and especially the worn out parts of you. Remember to allow yourself to be creative, to rest and give yourself grace through these weeks of transition, to be as present as is reasonable for the seasonal shift, to still show up for the sacred experience of living daily life, and only then fit external expectations into the space that’s available after your heart space is honored.
Allow celebrations and holidays to fill the available space in an already sacred daily life, not every inch.
One week until winter arrives. Let’s get there in tact. 🙂