As I’ve been diving into National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this November, I’ve been trying to root myself into the present moment, focusing on the words in front of me in order to allow myself the joy of writing itself.
Even so, sometimes I can’t help but imagine a reality different from the one in which I exist. My mind drifts, draws up plans for the career, the house, the relationships I might or could have one day. A kaleidoscope of possibilities both achievable and not.
The person who exists in these scenarios is not me. Or not me exactly. Instead, the person is kind of a mirror self with a little mental photoshopping thrown in. An Andrea refracted into something better — braver, wiser, smarter with her money, confident in speaking her mind, and overall easier to love. The flaws and sorrows and doubts all vanish in this reflected persona.
For all my efforts to stay in the present moment, I don’t want to discount the value in such imaginings. As I noted in a previous post, there are points when drifting off into pontnetial furture can hinder progress in the here and now. At the same time, being able to visualize my dreams and goals provides me with a signposts for how to achieve what I want in life.
In other words, it helps to know what you want in life in order to achieve it.
Focusing on the now during NaNoWriMo has been an incredible blessing. I was looking to experience the joy of writing — and that’s what I’ve achieved.
I don’t necessarily want to write every day and I writing is still work, but its work that comes with surprises and delights and deep emotional resonance, when I let go of worry about the future and let myself setting into the process.
Currently, I’m around 10,000 words behind on my daily word count goals — and in all honesty, there’s a chance I might not make it to 50,000 with all my other commitments. (Writing this post is itself a kind of procrastination in that regard.)
But the word count, in and of itself, is not necessarily the point. I’ve written nearly 35,000 words and am still finding the story compelling. The events that have transpired on these pages have through the course of writing managed to both make me cry and creep me the hell out. My main character is messy and complicated and fighting so hard to survive. I love her and my heart breaks for her.
Regardless of where my actual word count lands on day 30 of November, I aim to hold to the story and the process of writing it. The work will go on and change, and I’ll discover new challenges along the way.
I may never reach the glassy perfection in the imagined reckonings of myself — and that’s okay. As a human, I’m messy and complicated and fighting hard (almost) every day to be better.
There is a value of envisioning the high in the sky possibilities.
There is a value in staying focused on the present moment and the tasks at hand.
The way forward (for me, I’ve found) is often through the blurred boundaries between the two.
What are some of your big dreams? What practical ways can you work to achieve them?