Navigating Creative Delays



November is NaNoWriMo or, for you non-writers out there, National Novel Writing Month. The idea is that you write fast and furious for 30 days and at the end of the month you have a novel ready for all of the edits and re-writes that take a first draft to a final one. For the past two years, I’ve had the best of intentions to take part. I’ve created a profile and done lots of pre-NaNoWriMo inspirational reading.

Then we get into November and life somehow takes over. There are paying work projects, a loving family (pictured above) and a sweet toddler that needs twice-daily doses of pink amoxicillin that all demand attention. Then toss in Thanksgiving, Christmas cards and kids’ activities and before I know it, it is November 28. Unfortunately, I still haven’t put any words on paper.

While writing an entire novel in a month is a challenge, writing one in three days is impossible. So, I concede defeat and stick NaNoWriMo back into my someday file. But I don’t beat myself up too much. Deferred dreams can still come true.

Anna Quindlen, one of my favorite writers, said, “You probably can have it all. Just not at the same time. And, you might have to make certain compromises when your children are small. But you children are going to be small for a very short period of time.”

Life brings creative delays, but in the end, those delays may make us even better at what we do. Novelist Anne Tyler said, “It seems to me that since I’ve had children, I’ve grown richer and deeper. They may have slowed down my writing for a while, but when I did write, I had more of a self to speak from.”

We all have commitments and learning how to pursue our dreams while meeting our obligations is a fine art. Fortunately, no matter what our passions are, we can all work at our own pace. For me, it is a marathon and not a sprint. 

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