Not too long ago, I did something irrational and against my natural tendencies: I signed up for NaNoWriMo and attempted to “make” myself write a novel in a month. For some strange reason, I assumed that if I had the titles to all of my chapters the words would flow from my brain to my fingertips and then voila’! poof! a novel would be born! Not so easy as it turns out, and not so cathartic; the act of writing is a purging of the soul and NaNo is an emetic for the gut. Both may be productive but only one displays the potential for beauty. And vomit will never be beautiful, no matter what is being regurgitated; think splatter art versus Picasso…need I say more?
Not only did my NaNo experience completely fall flat but the end result was to squelch any inspiration that may have translated itself into written expression. It was as if the well had run dry in anticipation of the unreasonable demands that would be placed upon it and in an act of self-preservation, its waters completely evaporated. Alas, one more attempt to force authentic creativity bit the dust but I did learn something of value: I can trust my process. I do not have to focus so intently on the end result because if I trust the process, the end result will naturally arrive and that little epiphany has freed me from my paralysis. I have been beating myself over the head with frustration due to my inability to perform as expected and I now realize that just as the butterfly must squeeze itself from its cocoon in order to wring-out the blood from its wings, so I must struggle, rest, and squirm as the writing continues to emerge on its own timetable and in its own way.