NaNoWriMo is coming to a close. Soon, there will be thousands of novels, ready for editing and revising and rewriting and then someday, publishing. That is a big YAY.
There’ve been critics of National Novel Writing Month, because anything that’s big enough to know about is big enough to criticize. People say, “There are enough writers in this world. Boo to you aspiring fuckers, isn’t there something better you could be doing with your time?”
The answer to that? Sure. There perhaps are better things to do with time. But out of all our choices (for those privileged enough to live in a world with grand choices), creating stuff is pretty sweet. Whether that be writing, or painting, or making movies or telling jokes or playing music, creation gives us internal satisfaction and external rewards. We get to bounce ideas off one another, we get to group-think, we get to add our own selves to our own stuff and then stand back and say, “Well, damn. It worked, and it’s pretty good.”
Or we say, “Well, damn. It didn’t work this time. But I see something here, and here, and over there, that I could use again and zomg I have a great idea, let me try this instead!”
Humans are so cool. We do so many interesting things, because we are smart, we work together and apart, and we’re quite creative bipedaled beings. If taking a month to create something, to contribute to the mountain of Other Cool Shit out there, is a bad thing, then…well, fuck. It’s just not a bad thing. Not at all.
The act of creating is countered by the act of absorbing. I don’t know about others, but my life is best when I’ve got a nice balance of the two. I absorb novels, articles, movies, art, and innovative ideas. I create stories, foods, non-fictiony stuff, etc.
NaNoWriMo is awesome, because it provides an excuse to try to create something new. Whether or not this results in a published book is really beside the point. An endeavor to create will always result in a change, for the creators and the absorbers, no matter how small. NaNoWriMo inspires me to think about different ways I can create and contribute to this magical world of ours. I am the only person who can see things from my perspective, and I’m the only person who can do things the way I’ll do them, because I’m me, you’re you, and we’re all unique and amazing. We all have something to offer, and all of our somethings are different.
Those differences in our somethings? That’s the magic we’re able to absorb. Whenever I’m tempted to be bored or idle, I seriously want to knock my head with a hammer and say, “DO YOU NOT SEE THIS? Look around you! Look at this INSANELY COOL WORLD!” Apart from the improbability and beauty of life in general–just life, the mere act of breathing and heartbeats–we have what we’ve created. Books, poems, songs, majestic buildings and sculptures and theater and so on. It’s so incredible it’s overwhelming. I’m thankful that all of these creators didn’t say to themselves, “Ah, there are enough artists in the world, I’ll just do something else instead. Surely there’s a better use of my time.”
Someday I hope to measure up.
To those who are well on their way to finishing NaNoWriMo, congratulations. You are making something that you, uniquely, are able to make.
Neil Gaiman on, “Are there enough artists in the world?”
This is a picture of my desk*. The object of note is the bulletin board, which I realize has no actual bulletins, since I haven’t gotten around to buying tacks. The quote! Look at the quote! It’s Dr. Seuss, one of the more brilliant creators of all time:
*You may notice that my desk is less of a desk than it is a Collection Center Of Crap. You’d be correct.