Writing Beautiful…

Twelve days, immersed in writing and writers and the beauty of creative minds seeing and sharing the world around them. I’ve come back from my sabbatical to a flood of social media NANO page count mania, and I have the strongest urge to shout, “Stop the Insanity!!!” Not that writing daily and being prolific isn’t my personal mantra, as a commercial fiction writer trying to make a living by producing pages that readers can’t put down. But there’s so much more to it than that, and my mind is still swirling with the other that sustains me. With images like this that inspire and guide and beguile you to make each word matter and resonate, even if it means less words that day:

lake sunrise color

Where I’ve been this last few weeks, a sunrise can look like this every day.This moment was mine, simply because I walked to the end of my friend’s doc. But how do I make it yours? How can I possibly show you how to feel this color, this openness, this majestic infinity the way I did a few days ago?

And then, just minutes later, there was this:

lake sunrise mist

How is it possible that light and air and water could shift around and inside me to become something wholly new, right before my eyes? Can I make you feel the wonder of it, too? Will you come with me to this place between one blink and the next, where discovery was being and breathing and knowing how small and very eternal every moment, every word, is?

And before my adventure into Middle Georgia, to meet young writing minds and catch up with writer friends I’ve gone too long without seeing, there was this:

ocean sunrise orange

And this:

ocean sunrise cloudy

And this:

ocean sunrise supernova

Morning after morning of it, in a perfect retreat from noise and distraction and complications that take the writing away. The words were flowing through my mind, each time I woke and looked and walked and dreamed on endless beaches of sand. Did they make it, all of them, onto the page for a daily tally? No.

Most of them are still inside, calling to me to form them into images that will never rival their inspiration. They’re working, though, these stolen moments, molding me into what my stories will become next.

I’m settling in today to finish sorting through the unpacking and reorganization that coming home demands. I have new pages, as a result of my time away. But there’s so much more to it. Inspiration and excitement and joy and love for the words yet to be written. My writing isn’t a grind this day. I’m not obsessed with how much I must produce to stay on target. My creating isn’t a schedule. It’s a celebration of the images and memories I’ve returned with, as I plug them into my now and see what we can come up with together.

My best advice to every NANO participant is to love each word, no matter how few. Respect each goal, even if you fall short. Live each experience as a writer, a creator, looking for just the right way to make a moment in your mind real for someone who longs to share where you’ve been. Stay focused on the mechanics of producing story, yes, but never at the expense of what you’ve seen and heard and experienced.

Living fully has been my challenge these last few weeks, not tracking word count. As a result, I’m 50 pages further along in story than when I left, and the discovery I encountered in that 50 page journey is a magic I couldn’t have imagined before I embarked.

So, I’m encouraging my NANO friends to live this month with abandon, engaging with life as you write, rather than hiding from it for the sake of word count. Scroll back up and look at the pictures again. Then go make some vivid, unforgettable memories of your own, that will inspire words you’ve never strung together in quite the same way before.

Don’t make the number of the words your challenge this November. Make what they say, what they show, what they reveal to you and others your goal. Make them beautiful, even if it slows your progress. Take a magical journey of your own, and let’s see what this NANO can really make happen for you ;o)

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3 Responses to “Writing Beautiful…”

  1. Good morning Anna!
    Since I got to share part of that amazing retreat with you, I know for a fact how beautifully you put the feeling of renewal into words. It was a joy to get to know you in SC, to learn from you, to have you as part of someone who filled up my writer’s knowledge well. Thanks for the reminder about how special it was!

  2. Kathleen says:

    So beautiful, Anna. Thank you. I needed to hear this today.

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