Around 6pm yesterday, I won NaNoWriMo for the third time. It was incredible, as it is every year, and having another 50k in my pocket is a nice feeling. Also: I have no idea how I got through this month. I can't even compare it to the other four NaNo's because it was so crazily different.
This year, I didn't follow my initial plot. I really didn't have a plot at all, actually. Although in the past I have always believed that deep planning is the only way to do it, I learned this month how to write without a plot, and all the benefits of doing so. Here's the thing: you won't always have inspiration when you need it. You won't. And that's just how working creatively is. You don't always have it. But the thing about inspiration is: if you show up to work, it will too. I started without a plot this year, and I ended up learning something very valuable from what came of this no-plot experience: you have to show up everyday no matter if you feel like it or not. This can be applied to other creative fields: photography, art, music. What most people don't realize is that inspiration usually shows up while you are working, just because you were brave enough to try working without it.
Somehow, we all got it into our heads that you can't do creative work unless you have an idea of what you're doing -- unless you've gotten inspiration from something or from somewhere. This month, I learned that this really isn't how it works. You have to show up and just go with it. Sit down with a notebook and a pen and decide you're going to write something. Sit down at the piano and decide you're going to play something. If you end up throwing it all out the next day, that's fine. At least you learned what doesn't work. You don't always need inspiration to be creative. Sometimes, you just have to show up and do whatever you've got at the front of your mind. You have to be fearless in the sense that the work you're doing might not be worth showing anyone. Or maybe it will.
xoxo | Megan Kristine