Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Write That Novel and Have No Fear

I wasn't going to say anything about Laura Miller's piece on why she's bothered by NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) but I've read a few other posts completely unrelated to NaNoWriMo on a couple of faith blogs that were so opposite, I couldn't help but notice.

First of all, I think what Miller really means to say is that she's sad people don't read. This is a problem so deep and fundamental that it's going to take more than "cheering on" readers to fix. Oh and there are SO MANY reading challenges constantly happening that people can join--a great place to find them are on the social reading sites like LibraryThing or the blog A Novel Challenge. Additionally, there's the twice a year 24 hour Readathon an event that encourages readers to read for 24 hours straight, and the Buy Books for the Holidays blog--a blog that encourages people to purchase books as holiday gifts. What I'm saying is that there's a pretty active grassroots movement to encourage reading. But I would argue the real problem is reading education and literacy. Four and a half years of working with adults on reading showed me there's a problem in the way we understand and teach reading. Until that's addressed, we can hope people read all we want but they are unlikely to do something that is in the least bit difficult for them.

But I really take issue with going after NaNoWriMo. See, I believe we are all artists in some way, and we all have a desire to create. That might be through writing, it might be through cooking, it might be through blogging. We also all have a fear of creation. I think NaNoWriMo is a fantastic activity that encourages people to face that fear and just do it. I think personally that's a pretty awesome thing. And I think it incredibly arrogant to suggest others shouldn't and to assume that you know their motivation to do so based on a few bits of anecdotal evidence. It bothers me whenever someone tries to stomp on another's courage and squelch their creative spirit.

So here's what I say...if you want to write, write. If writing in community with friends and cheerleaders encourages you to finally pursue that thing you've always wanted to do, go for it. Write. Create. Have no fear. I'm cheering you on.

(Posts that inspired this one: The Fear of Doing, Creativity Overcoming Safety and an older post on this subject I love, There's no Right or Wrong (in art) please note these are all on Christian blogs and take a Christian worldview of humanity and why we create)


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