Taking myself less seriously

The title of this post is a little ironic, since I actually switched to doing freelance work precisely so I could take myself more seriously when it came to my writing. Not only would I structure my life to be conducive to writing, but I’d also focus on submitting more and writing more often for a real audience. So it’s humbling to remember that sometimes the best thing we can do as writers is take ourselves less seriously.

NaNoWriMo reminds me of this every year. Even though I wrote on a fairly regular basis these first few days of the month, my word count was lagging behind. Getting 1,000 words was a little excruciating, and I was shooting for at least 1,500 a day. My writing style and the story itself were having a hard time fitting together. I even asked myself, How did I ever do this twice before? And how come it was so easy the first time?

But this morning, I finally began hitting my stride. You see, my previous novel was the most excruciating novel I’d ever written, and I agonized over each scene, over each sentence (time will tell how much good that did me, since I still haven’t had the chance to sit down and read it start to finish). Taking a month off wasn’t sufficiently enough to “cleanse my writing palate” to dive into something new, to once again eschew quality for quantity. Today when I wrote, I returned to the stream of consciousness writing that has made me successful in previous years and just kept writing whatever popped into my head. I made 1374 words in a little over a half an hour. Yes, it’s messy. Yes, most of it will probably need to be cut. And no, it’s not the glorious prose I’d imagined when I began. But it’s passed the most crucial test of all: it filled blank pages.

Have you filled any blank pages today?