On NaNoWriMo and a Year Without Writing

This month I want to let the words flow, and find my way back to the swift flowing river and out of the stagnant creek up which I have floundered.

*Blows cobwebs out of wordpress*

Back in the summer of 2010, I started writing my first, still unfinished novel. In the three years that followed, I spent a lot of time writing. I wrote short stories, started other novels, read books on writing, set up a publishing company, attended book fairs and went on a creative writing course. I was beginning to see myself as a writer; to see writing as my career.

Early in 2013 I embarked on a film making project with The Great Escape, starting with a Kickstarter Campaign to raise funds. The planned filming dates were August and September of 2013. The project slowly began to take over my life with preparations and planning. Filming was eventually postponed till April and May 2014. Taking on the role of producer, the first half of my 2014 became dedicated to the project and writing became a luxury I was barely able to make time for.

After filming finished, I found myself swept up into another project; this time in theatre. The group I was working with were looking for a writer and set designer and I saw it as an opportunity to get back into the writing that I love. But things didn’t go according to plan. After months away from my keyboard I was rusty and found motivating myself to create difficult, especially working to someone else’s specifications. I passed the task off to another member of the team in the end, a mutual agreement. After that my time and energy went towards creating the set for the project which came to a head at the end of October.

So I find myself at the start of November, approaching the end of a year where I haven’t written much of anything. Not a great achievement for someone who calls themselves a writer.

I have learned a lot this year, about working with other people, trust, time management and organisation. I’ve also learned a lot about myself and what I enjoy and don’t enjoy doing. What I find rewarding and what I find unfulfilling. I have spent a lot of time this year making things happen for other people at the expense of my own dreams (and my own bank balance). I’m not really sure why, other than to say I believed in their dreams and wanted to help bring them to life. I don’t regret my choices, but I do feel I need to make some new ones going forward.

I chose to make writing my career. I cannot afford to continually make choices which derail that ambition no matter who I have to let down in the process. My dreams are no less valid than the November I have decided to commit to writing 50,000 words. I’m not committing to writing a novel in the true sense of NaNoWriMo, but simply to write as I should have been doing all year and share some of it here.

Have you ever found yourself side-tracked from your chosen path? What lead you astray? How did you get your life back on course?

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