During this month of Nanowrimo, writers everywhere are combining their inspiration with perspiration and aiming to write 50 000 words. If you’re in this race then I applaud you. I am currently revising a novel and wasn’t able to take the plunge. I’m going to try my own version in January with my next novel. I love the idea of writing the first draft fast and messy.
Nano can teach us quite a bit about what it means to be a writer. How elusive inspiration can be and how much sheer perspiration it takes to get the words down, no matter if you’re inspired or not.
Recently I watched a TED talk by Angela Lee Duckworth about a determining factor in success, one that’s even more important than intelligence or social IQ or good looks or health. She found Grit to be the most important determinant for success. According to Ms Duckworth, Grit is passion and perseverance for a goal over a long period of time, not weeks or months but holding that passion and determination for years. Sound familiar?
I truly believe that Ms Duckworth is on to something. I believe Grit is the determination and perspiration of sitting at our desk day after day. It’s the willingness to learn and improve our craft. It’s the courage to put yourself out there, even after you’ve had rejections. Grit is essential to being a writer.
But there is another element to being a writer we can’t forget. No, it’s not talent. (I personally believe we can LEARN to be great writers. We can learn to be talented.) It’s not inspiration, though that’s part of it. It’s Curiosity. Curiosity leads us to ask questions and learn about life. It leads to the great question, ‘What if?’. Curiosity frees our imagination and our inspiration follows. Curiosity is also essential to being a writer.
So whether or not you’re doing Nano, let this just be the start of your writing career. Know (like Ms Duckworth says) that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Become gritty and curious and you will find success.
I believe. Do you?