Thursday, October 31, 2013

Taking the plunge

I am taking the plunge: I just signed up on the NaNoWriMo website.

Writing the NaNo way is the opposite to what I do. Usually  I write a few pages, or even a few paragraphs, and then I edit. Producing an average of 1700 words a day isn't something I typically do. In the past, when I have been productive and written a lot in a day, the next day has always been devoted to editing. To come up with the word count day after day for a whole month doesn't sound doable, which is why in the past, when I had tried to participate in NaNo, I had always done so unofficially. That way I wouldn't beat myself up.

And so that's why I will participate as an official NaNo writer this year.

I have not been terribly productive in my writing for a while now, and doing something out of character may just be the thing to shove me forward again. And as for beating myself up. Who am I kidding? Official or not, if I don't finish, I would do that anyway. So again, I will try to opposite route: I will not beat myself whether I finish or not. Quite a concept, don't you think?

So come what may, I will jump off the cliff and start swimming tomorrow.

See you on the other side, or maybe when I come up for breath!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

When I Grow Up

I discovered the Narnia books when I was 24. Harry Potter and The Hunger Games were published long after I had turned 11 and 16 respectively. So I never harbored secret wishes to receive a letter from an owl or looked behind dusty coats in wardrobes for a path to a secret wonderland. 

But being visited by Gandalf at 50. Now that, that is still possible.

For many years growing up, I had pegged the 20s and 30s to be a person's most productive time, the prime of their life.

When I turned 40, I realized I didn't know enough, hadn't done enough. But society assured me 40 was the new 30. So I embraced the idea, downplaying my eyesight that seemed to have worsened overnight, and the aches that were sneaking up on me. I tried new things! Took up martial arts! Wore increasingly brighter clothing! Got cataract surgery!

Now 50 is looming. And I see attempts in the media to pass 50 off as the new 30. Um. 50 is the new 30 like orange is the new black.

But, that doesn't mean I am ready to give up learning and doing new things. I do, however, admit to a certain sadness that veers towards hopelessness in my writing. I feel as if I am still swimming upstream, wondering when the steepness will level out. My arms are tired and my eyes drift often to the side of the stream that promises rest.

Then a writing friend shared this article from the New Yorker last week. 

It's not that I believe I will attain the stature of a genius (just writing that sentence embarrasses me, as if I needed to even state it) but it is rather comforting to know that learning and creating can indeed go on for much longer that I had imagined, that just because I'm past the magical period of my 20s and 30s doesn't mean I should give up. I may not have the strength to paddle hard but my muscles have gained stamina from constant practice.

So, bring it, 50s! I'm ready.

Just as soon as I find my reading glasses.