The joy of branching out

One of the main reasons I got into the whole game of working for myself was the ability to take on new projects whenever I want to.  And not having to sell them to a boss.  Wham!  We totally think that this is the best idea since sliced bread and it is DONE, baby!

Yesterday, I mentioned that I got an inspiration for the book I want to write in the frenzied insanity that is National Novel Writing Month (NaNo).  Now, the bad thing is that part of me did it because I think I always have to be busy scheming up something for me to do.

The good thing is that I’ve been awash in creative ideas since the idea came to me yesterday.  So going with the muse has paid off dividends for me.

Tons of non-fiction writers and freelancers take on NaNo because it’s a great break from what we’re doing day in and day out.  I participated for the first time last year, and I managed to win.  Even with less than a month’s planning before November 1st rolled around.  So this year I’ve got more of a plan of attack going months in advance.  NaNo helped me:

  • Learn how many words per day I can write.
  • Write without censoring what I write.  “This crap sucks” constantly got drowned out by “SHUT UP AND LET ME FINISH SO I CAN GO TO SLEEP!”
  • I learned the value of online file storage.  Thank.  You.  Dropbox!
  • I could honestly tell people I’d written a book.  At 90k plus words, no less!  Writing an e-book was a lot easier after that.
  • I got to try out a bunch of free word processing programs.  (for the record, I now use Open Office on my Mac and love it)

All of these things were what helped me grow as a writer.  And as an entrepreneur, I learned even more.  Consider.

  • I got interested in the whole self publishing game, and learned it wasn’t as difficult as I’d first thought.  So now I’m working on publishing my own nonfiction e-book, and down the road a fiction one.
  • I discovered firsthand that the idea of giving one’s expertise for free really is a valid one.  And one that I and other people value incredibly.
  • My faith in the whole “pay it forward” and “there’s plenty of room for everybody to be successful” was not only justified but increased about 250%.
  • Being able to lose myself in writing a scene that existed previously on my head taught me a LOT about mindfulness.  The world really did melt away once I got into a groove.  Writing could be a meditation process and now I use it as one when writing nonfiction.

I guess it goes without saying that I totally endorse participating in NaNo this year.  If you haven’t done it before, and if you’re on the fence, then just look at how much it helped me grow in just 30 days.  And I will bet you $100 that by branching out in your field like I did in Nano will pay off dividends for your work in the business that you’re currently in.

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