The Practice of Creativity

Cutting the Fat: Week Two of NaNoWriMo

Posted on: November 17, 2014

“It’s a simple equation. Subtracting your dependence on some of the things you take for granted increases your independence. It’s liberating, forcing you to rely on your own ability rather than your customary crutches.” –Twyla Tharp

It’s day sixteen of the NaNoWriMo challenge and I’m right at the word count I should be: 25,000 words. I’m actually shocked and periodically I have a strong desire to shout: ‘Who’s in the house? A NaNoWriMoer is in the house! And, she’s writing!’

Almost half done. Shocking!

To complete NaNoWriMo, I know that I will have to give up a few things. At least temporarily. Some things, in the next few weeks, will be easy to shed: cleaning my home office, tweeting, clothes shopping, talking on the phone. I’ve already said apologies to my partner and friends. The process of trying to write 50,000 words brings on an intense focus and concentration. It makes you ask the question: What lifestyle “fat” can be cut during an intensive creative challenge?

cutting

The incredible choreographer and creative thinker, Twyla Tharp reminds us that giving up something can create a sacred container for the work to come:

“The act of giving something up does not merely clear time and mental space to focus you. It’s a ritual, too, an offering where you sacrifice a portion of your life to the metaphoric gods of creation. Instead of goats or cattle, we’re sacrificing television or music or numbers—and what is a sacrifice but a ritual?”

I’m willing to give up checking Facebook as much as I do. I probably can gain back a half hour of my day, if I just refrain from mindlessly checking Facebook.

I have to give up the rather comforting rhythm I’ve established this semester which is to write late at night when I get home. I’ve been getting up around 5:30 am and trying to write for two hours.

For those of you doing NaNoWriMo, what kind of fat have you been cutting?

If you’re not doing NaNoWriMo, how do you maintain focus on a demanding a creative project? What is easy for you to cut? Would love to know.

 

 

 

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Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

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