When you judge another, you don’t define them, you define yourself. Wayne Dyer
It’s such a human thing we do – judgement. I mean, we do it in the grocery when we buy one brand over another. “This is better.” We judge when we listen to music. “I like this song, it’s good.” We go to one restaurant and not another because we’ve made a judgement that it’s a preferable place to eat.
In every arena we enter, we are judging, ranking, rating, grading, deciding what is good and what isn’t so good. It happens in school, in athletics, in the marketplace, whether we are buying toothpaste, an automobile, or a new house. It’s not necessarily a bad thing – there I go, judging judgement, deciding if it’s good or bad.
I guess it’s on my mind right now, because next week I enter the world of Nanowrimo. I’ve done this to myself for many years, and it’s always the same. I pray as a writer to suspend judgement, at least for the next month.
Nano gets “judged” by some each year as an illegitimate novelist tool because it stresses quantity and not quality. It pushes for words on the page, regardless of their perfection. It is a marathon of sorts, goal in sight, and achieved at any cost. And yet that is probably the very reason I find it valuable.
Writers always sit with an editor on their shoulder. There isn’t a word, a sentence, a paragraph that gets to the page without the editor judging the quality of whatever is uttered. There are some days when I get no more than a sentence, perhaps two on paper. My personal editor is a real bastard when it comes to perfection. He wants nothing less from me, and he’ll prevent me from writing anything if it isn’t in the running for the next Pulitzer Prize. And so, many days, little gets written. How can I possibly measure up?
And then Nano comes around and I duck tape my editor’s mouth. Hopefully it holds through the month so I can meet the goal. A novel of 50,000 words in a month is not really a big deal and I never delude myself into thinking it’s really “good.” But frequently there are pieces of the writing that I like, and the fact that I can push myself to accomplish the goal is for me a commendable act.
There I go again, judging myself and what I do. It’s such a natural thing to do, and it’s so easy to do because we all want to be considered worthy. Perhaps I need to reframe my thinking. Judgement IS – it’s not a good thing, not a bad thing, just a thing, perhaps a no-thing. In any case, I’m going to be kind to myself for the next month and just let the words flow.