I decided some time ago to wipe the word “busy” from my vocabulary. It conjures up this vision of days filled to the brim, of doing “things” just to say that we have done them, of a life filled with “should”.
Part of the motivation behind choosing to live life on my terms was to dig deep down, to uncover the things in life that I am passionate about, and to allow my days to be filled by those things. No “should”. Just “hell yes”.
November has been a crazy month; too many things on my to do list, and not enough time to accomplish them all. Has some “should” gotten into the mix? Yes, but it’s par for the course.
I knew that adding in an absurdly difficult 30 day challenge this month was perhaps going to be too much, but that’s part of the fun of NaNoWriMo – you set a lofty goal, you push like hell, and hopefully at the end you come out a winner.
Rewind to just around one week ago, and I was ready to throw in the towel. NaNo just wasn’t feeling fun anymore, and I considered giving up. I had passed the 20,000 word mark, and something kept me hanging on, kept me pushing forward even though it felt a little bit like pulling teeth. I think it was probably a mixture of guilt and “should”.
And then, this crazy thing happened.
Every year, our local group of Wrimos hosts what is called a “Slump-erparty”. It’s more than just a traditional write-in. It’s one of the greatest motivational tools ever.
Picture the following:
You drag your weary self into Writer House, word count sadly lacking, motivation almost gone.
You sigh (heavily) about your pitiful word count.
You laboriously pull your laptop out and get set up, usually procrastinating as much as possible along the way.
You start writing. Surrounded by these other writers, ordinary people just like you, who are pregnant with their first child, or writing their novel while also working full time and going back to school, or any of the other stories that lurk within the people behind those laptops and notebooks, you pick up where you left off.
Before long the pace of your writing picks up and you start laughing and joking during writing breaks. All of a sudden your novel starts looking less like the tired piece of crap that you came in with, and your characters start to take an interest in their roles. Things start looking up.
Then, out of the blue, you remember why you do this every year. You remember why this is a “hell yes”.
Suddenly, you have just written 10,000 words in two days, you have laughed so hard that you cried because of a late night word game, and you’re *thisclose* to being back on track.
So what happened? What caused this seismic shift in your perception?
It’s about the people.
This could be any situation anywhere, whether for work or fun (or a combination of the two). Life is made or broken by the people you surround yourself with – if you are surrounded by smart, motivated, positive people who are on the same path as you (and maybe even cheering you on) think about the difference it will make.
There is a lot of talk about finding your tribe online, finding the people who really matter, who really care. I think that the concept of tribes is fantastic, and can be applied online and off.
So, my challenge for you during this holiday week is this: think about who you want your tribe to be, and go find them. Surround yourself with people who personify what you want to be, and then go be it.
May your journey be filled with amazing, inspiring traveling companions.
And, Happy Thanksgiving!