As you can see from my blogroll, I’m a fan of Ted Talks. If you haven’t yet, I recommend you check it out. Ted presents a wealth of inspiring talks given by inspiring people. It’s like a smorgasbord of heart, soul and mind candy. Except that these are all good for you.
One such delicious treat is the talk given by Shawn Achor. His topic, The Happy Secret to Better Work, is not only thought provoking, but down-right funny. He discusses principles on positive psychology, exploring the concept that success comes from happiness, not the other way. And at this point in our November endeavors, we NANOWRIMO writers might need such good news.
We’ve reached the half way mark. The thrill of the blank page is over. The excitement of meeting your characters and exploring new settings or even worlds is gone. The rush you got from seeing your words spread across the page like droplets of paint into water has turned into so much inky mud. The joy has been replaced by the mad juggling act of keeping in the air all the balls of what has happened so far, and where it all must lead. You’re perhaps a little behind in your word count. Nothing on the page is making sense. Doubt has started to creep in. But that’s when you need to be positive.
Cast aside the temptation to allow your inner editor to enter the stage. Close the door on stage right and focus on right now. Stop questioning what you’ve done. You’ve changed your mind and your romantic lead is suddenly swarthy and dark, not blonde and blue eyed? Your planet name has morphed into something almost unpronounceable? The Femme Fatal is now the Mentor? Don’t sweat it. Make a comment. Jot down a reminder. You’ve got ‘Draft 2’ to iron out all those inconsistencies, once the big picture is there in front of you.
Let it just happen. You may even discover that the story is talking to you. Here, in the midst of the influence of the muse, within the freedom of non-judgement, in the throws of getting all those darn words on the page, you’ve got a chance to listen to the story that lives inside you. Indulge in the journey of the pen to page, or the finger to keyboard as the case may be. Give yourself permission to explore. Only then will you reach the end with something in hand. And the only way that will happen is if you stay positive and keep going.
If after getting a dose of positivity from the video, you want more from Mr. Achor, I highly recommend his books Before Happiness and The Happiness Advantage. In them, he lays out steps you can take to bring more positivity into your life. He believes by employing principles of positive psychology, we can improve our well-being for the long-term. And there’s nothing more long-term than writing a novel.
But of course don’t read them right this minute. You’ve got to push through this hump and get those words on the page.
Just remember to enjoy the journey my fellow Nanowrimo-ians.