Combatting a Quandary

There was a time when only if I had something particularly inspired to say did the words pour out of me. Only if the muse had me by the hair was I able to ignore the desire to edit as I went along, something that routinely choked up my creative process. Those were glorious times. They spoiled me.

They spoiled me, dear Reader, for there are the between-times when one’s muse goes on holiday. Thus did our heroine’s writing fall lax during the between-times.

Yet it is said that just as a dancer dances, a writer writes. Fully aware of this, I would force myself to the keyboard and stare at the blankness on the monitor. I would watch as the words so painfully rendered on the screen were eaten up by the backspacing of my inner editor at work. The battle between writer and editor was a gory one. Discouraged, I would accept defeat, calling it “writer’s block” and waiting for my muse to return to me.

It was during one of these fallow periods that I stumbled upon the writing challenge that is NaNoWriMo. This is a challenge to write 50k words toward a new novel within the confines of the month of November. My muse was nowhere in sight and my inner editor was aghast! Encouraged by friends and fellow writers, I plunged in.

To my great surprise, I became a writer once again. I wrote! Oh, how I wrote, spurning every attempt by my inner editor to jam up my mechanism. In fact, I hit the 50k mark in three weeks. In doing so, I summoned my muse from vacation and blew away the supposed writers block that had been holding my words hostage.

Accepting that the editing process was a thing quite apart from the creation process was key to battling the conundrum of being a writer who didn’t write. There is no time or place for editing while writing at the breakneck speed that is required during NaNoWriMo. Is what is created always great stuff? No. It does, however, force the creative flow where flow had not been. There’s always time for rewrites and polishing later.

To my delight, I have retained the ability to write when I have a notion to do so. Quite simply, our heroine writes, dear Reader. It is both as simple and as complex as that. A writer does write what a writer could write if a writer would write words.


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