I had a dream last night where I saw the embodiment of ideas. My ideas, your ideas, or maybe all the ideas of Earth or the universe. Not really sure. But I got the vibe that ALL THE IDEAS was what I was looking at. And so, here goes:
It started out like a spirit guide, only a spark that I followed in darkness. It didn’t speak to me. Instead, it circled like a firefly—tiny and glowing. It had no true form and was made up of the elements. Fire, water, air, and even scattering bits of earth. It soon grew so that I could see its details better. Like a tiny galaxy, floating around the blackness where I stood.
Quickly—BAM—it expanded and surrounded me. Then it took me inside it and enveloped me so that I became part of it. I couldn’t see my hands or be sure that I still had a body. All I had was an intense warmth and the sensation of water washing over me, air I knew I was consciously breathing, and the view of what looked like a million little worlds before me.
Very super cool. I mean, I was a speck among specks, but it was awesome.
Now that I’m awake and back to reality, I’m left with a sense that we’re all so small and yet so powerful. Dreams like that drive me to not waste a moment of life.
Although I did take some time to create what I saw so that you could see it too.
Do you ever have dreams that stay with you and inspire you?
This month I’ve been busy with NaNoWriMo, writing 50,000 words in 30 days. First time I’ve participated. So far, so good. It’s mid-point and I’ve hit 30,000 words. What’s more, I have actually grown to love the story I’m creating. I admit, I didn’t expect love on such a deadline, especially since I usually outline and plot far in advance and I didn’t do that this time because I signed up at the last minute. But I think it’s essential that you fall in love with your story when doing NaNoWriMo, otherwise it’s going to be struggle to keep going.
I’m discovering that the best thing about writing a book from beginning to end in a month is that you’re forced to ignore your inner editor and just focus on writing without doubting yourself. Editing is for another month!
Although it’s long, 50,000 words is more novella than novel. Still, I think it’s important to get to the end on 50,000 words (or just slightly over). There’s a satisfaction in that, plus you’re going to fill it out and cut it up once the month is over. That’s when it will really grow and change into a true novel.
So, how do I keep up the pace? Two things have helped me greatly:
- Setting a timer and writing in sprints. I personally use the Pomodoro technique and write in 25 minute sprints. In that time, I generally write between 600 and 800 words. Takes a big bite out of that word count!
- Thinking in scenes instead of chapters, and writing lots of scenes. Scenes can be divided into chapters later.
I’ve made many awesome new friends while doing NaNoWriMo. We’re all plugging along at our novels together and that’s really the best part. So many of us tend to write in isolation and this shared experience brings us together as a community. It reminds us of our connection. We don’t have to go it alone! And when November is over and the words are all written, we can still encourage one another and grow our friendships along with our novels.
My dear friend Natania Barron and I have often talked about how creative folk draw from the same pool of inspiration. Some us call it the muse. Few of us can figure out how we travel to that magical source–frequently in dreams or arriving clear out of nowhere while we’re doing the dishes–but we’re grateful whenever it happens. We’re always reaching for it, muttering to it, and hoping it grants us yet another fantastic idea to add to our notebooks.
I’ve wondered lately whether we collectively add to this pool, and if it’s not really a source that has ideas waiting, but instead a place where our ideas gather, especially those ideas we obsess over, whether we use the ideas or not. For instance, I can spend months considering a concept, on and off, and then ultimately dismiss it, deciding instead on another direction. Then–bam!–that very concept appears in an article about some film or other project in development. I don’t mind; in fact, I’m pleased that, although I didn’t continue with the idea, it will come about all the same.
Could it be that I was merely helping this idea form?
Is it possible that we’re far more networked than we ever guessed–not alone in our craft at all?
So much for my professional hermit persona!