15 December 2009

Writing and momentum (or lack thereof)

Fellow blogger (and really smart guy) Wade Kwon made the point in a recent blog post that "perfection kills". Essentially what he said was that if you try to make everything perfect (especially in the blogging biz) that you'll never get anywhere.

But what hit home with me was this quote: "Although I’m not a fan of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, the event has at least one great takeaway lesson: Your momentum matters... Those who finish their 50,000-word novels in 30 days are rewarded with two things: a mass of sloppy, unedited writing, and the use of momentum to accomplish a once seemingly impossible accomplishment."

In my writing, momentum is -- simply put -- huge. Way huge. Godzilla-like ginormous, even. Once I get going, I don't want to stop. It's a great feeling to get thousands and thousands of words out of my head and into the computer.

But once I stop, getting back on track is damned nigh to impossible.

I'm in the middle of such a period right now. On November 30, when I hit my 50,000-word goal for NaNoWriMo, I decided I needed to take a little sabbatical. A week, at most, I thought. It would give me time to get some ideas flowing for other projects, and besides, I deserved it. I knocked out those 50,000 words in twenty days -- I was due some rest and relaxation.

But before I knew it, one week had melted into two, and the situation threatened to keep stretching until the holidays were over -- and I am certain that by then I could find one or two more reasons to keep from getting to the keyboard. I hadn't written a thing since December 1, not a blog post, work on Committed, or anything else of substance other than the occasional Tweet or facebook status update.

But thanks to the nagging voices in my head, I'm back at it -- even if the first steps are nothing more than some hand-scribbled notes in a spiral notebook and a blog post about how important momentum is to me. It's a start. And like the wise man said, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

I can guarantee two things: Those steps won't be perfect. But one will follow another until I get someplace. It might not be my initial destination, but I will journey far and wide before it's all said and done.

1 comment:

Wade Kwon said...

Thanks for the shout out, Richard.

Ironic, given that your post on NaNoWriMo helped me see the value in that exercise.

Don't be too hard on yourself. Anyone completing a marathon session of writing needs a break. To relax, recharge, breathe.