Thursday, November 6, 2014

Walking While Writing Through NaNoWriMo part 3

Daily nanoWALmo Stats:
1:45 hours of walking with over 7000 steps and 1969 words written!

I'm continuing to really enjoy this process of walking while writing that I've talked about earlier on the blog.  Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but I'm hoping walking with voice recognition will be a method I'll continue to employ past November to increase my writing, not just with novels but with blog posts, email, etc.

Two more updates on the process I want to mention.
  1. As Carla Richards reminded me, when you use Dragon for voice recognition, it comes with an audio recording of your dictation sessions which allows ease of editing as you can replay and hear what you actually said.  I'd forgotten this feature as it's been a while since I used it, but it is indeed very useful.  Neither Carla nor I are aware of a mobile voice recognition software that offers an audio recording, but if you know of one, please let me know.
  2. Another benefit I'm discovering with voice recognition over my typing is that it spells a lot better than I do! :-)

Along with these (mostly) daily updates I'm giving regarding my progress, I thought it might also be nice to share a bit of writerly inspiration, as long as I keep it short so we can all get back to writing.  I'll start by recycling a few prior NaNo posts from a couple of years ago while they last.

First up, and this may seem a bit odd, but I want to focus on failure.  Not all of us will complete NaNo, and that's ok.  Many of us may also be frustrated by where we are in our writing journeys, worried that we haven't yet gotten that agent, editor, multi-book contract, NYT listing....

But I want to share some of my favorite words from JK Rowling.  These words of wisdom actually do not come from a Harry Potter novel but from her commencement address at Harvard in 2008 (bolded highlights are my addition):

I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.
Now, I am not going to stand here and tell you that failure is fun. That period of my life was a dark one...So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.
You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.
Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies...
I hope that even if you remember not a single word of mine, you remember those of Seneca, another of those old Romans I met when I fled down the Classics corridor, in retreat from career ladders, in search of ancient wisdom:
As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters. (JK Rowling)
Rowling's story, both in Harry and in life, is truly inspirational.  Especially to writers.  If you have not yet, you should read her whole address as she also speaks powerfully of imagination.

As we work our way through NaNoWriMo, let us not be afraid to fail, but afraid of never having tried.  And remember that the length is not as important as the content.

How is your NaNoWriMo going?