I did it! National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has wrapped up, and I have crossed the finish line. I’m exhausted and just slightly battered but 50,000 words closer to the end of my first draft. Yea for me!
It’s been a challenging month, but I’m glad I’ve stubbornly kept at it. I’ve encouraged and cajoled my muse, promising her an entire month of unbridled WIP polishing in order to get an average of 1,667 words on the page. I realize that many of those words will be cut, but without this challenge, I wouldn’t have had the flashes of story inspiration that have led me down the untrodden path. My characters have surprised me, and I look forward to discovering more about their journey.
Now that NaNo is over, I consider where I go from here. I can either continue on as I have and hammer out the rest of this WIP, rough edges and all, or I can stop, go back to the beginning and polish what I’ve written so far. My comfort zone is urging me to polish, but I think on the words of John Cleese and consider suffering the discomfort a little longer.
One of my favourite lecture videos is John Cleese on Creativity. He noted that creative people play with an idea for much longer and concluded that truly creative people were prepared to tolerate the discomfort of not having solved a problem for much longer than less creative people.
Relating this back to my two choices (keep hammering out this dirty draft or go back and polish), the most comfortable option would be to stop and polish. But this would interrupt the wildly creative process that has started to roll. In other words, it would stop the play mode.
I choose creative discomfort. I will continue to mull on this story, to discover these fledgling characters and the journey they are on. Let’s see where we end up. There’s plenty of time to edit.
If you want to get inspired by John Cleese on Creativity, here is the video. It’s over 30 minutes long but well worth the time. Enjoy!