After a serious marathon couple of days of writing, I finished the NaNoWriMo challenge. 50,000 words in 30 days. I stopped writing mid-month for about eight days, it then decided, on November 27th, that I did want to complete the challenge. So on November 27, with only about 25,000 words written, and a story that I wasn't sure where to take it, I picked up the thread of the idea, and ran with it.
I have to say, I am very pleased with the outcome! Just like last year, it is by no means finished, but the ideas that it generated, and the paths the characters have taken, are fascinating. The more I write lengthy pieces, the more interested I get in the creative process, and how it is different for everyone. I've read several books now on how to write, and each one is different, which I suppose is the message to take from that. If you are a writer, or want to be one, then you just have to find what works for you, and run with it. The important part is to just keep trying. And that's the hard part for me.
Laziness is a constant problem for me. I don't usually feel terribly motivated to do much of anything, other than hang out with my kids and play games with them. Which, as a father, is pretty much what I am expected to do. So I suppose that is a win for me. Or them. Or both.
When I was younger, I was a lot more driven. I had long term goals and intended to follow through on them. But as I have aged (and the big 40 is on the horizon, a month or two away now) I have found that I seek out goals and thrills less and less. And that is OK. There is nothing wrong with being happy with where you are. There is a great deal of satisfaction in feeling that the place you are in your life is a good one and you don't really want to change. But... There is always a but, isn't there?
There is a fine line between satisfaction and complacency. And complacency can very easily lead to stagnation. It is important for us to challenge ourselves, it is important for us to learn new things and try new experiences, if we don't do that, we may be cutting ourselves off from something we would love, if only we tried it.
I suffer from "man-itis" - a common condition among men where we find the things we like, and then just stick to them for ever. Ask any man about his clothes, and most of them will be able to tell you where they always buy their pants, and even that they don't have to try them on anymore, as that style and cut fit them perfectly, so they can just walk into their store of choice (mine is Mark's Work Wearhouse for pants) go over to the pant section, grab two pairs (one khaki, one blue) and take them to the counter. Ditto our favorite restaurants and pubs. We have our beer and our dish that we like. We get them every time. If it changes because the menu changes, we will be upset.
Now I don't mean to suggest that man-itis is a bad thing. It isn't wrong or bad to stick to something that we enjoy. But it does mean we don't learn to enjoy new things. We don't discover new loves, new passions. We need to make that effort to try new things all the time. Or at least I do. The rest of the men, you guys do what you want, but I am going to try a couple new things this week. I have no idea what they will be, but they'll be new.
I have no idea how this turned from a quick "Hey! I did it!" about NaNo into a discussion of personal habits and expanding horizons, but hey, that's the writing process for you. :)