Still Here – NaNoWriMo is Eating My Brain

nanowrimoWell, it’s been almost a month since I posted here, which is the longest I’ve let the blog go without a post since…last November. Not because there haven’t been things that need talking about, because God knows that there do, and I’ve been trying to put some of them up on Twitter and Facebook…but because it *is* November, and if you look at the archives, the blog traditionally gets a little neglected around November because it’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and I’m off writing a 50 000 word novel of very questionable quality within 30 days.

I had hoped to get at least one blog post up this month, but it looks as if it might not happen, so I thought I’d just let everyone know that I’m still here…

“She’s Doing that NaNoWriMo Thing Again”

This is my seventh year (not consecutive; I started in university and did it sporadically, and unsuccessfully, for three years) of joining what is now 400 000 would-be novelists from around the world in trying to get a 50 000 word novel penned during the month of November…just because. NaNoWriMo doesn’t end with publishing contract or a prize, just the satisfaction of reaching that goal.

And I’ve reached that goal for the last three years. I have three approximately 50 000 word NaNoWriMo novels sitting on my hard drive and lots of other writing, including this blog, that I enjoy doing. So why another one? Because while this year I’ve been very good at keeping up with the amount off writing required in order to finish NaNoWriMo on time (approximately 2000 words a day for me, to create a bit of a cushion for days when there’s not enough time to write the required 1667 words per day), I haven’t been that disciplined in the past. Last year I pulled two “10 000 Word Weekends” in order to finish my NaNoWriMo novel on time.

And sometimes NaNoWriMo is a real slog. It’s generally really freeing, since writing so quickly forces me to turn off my inner editor, to just write and not go back and change anything, even if it means that I end up changing a character’s name halfway through the book because I can’t remember what I called her the last time she appeared, or something I write creates a plot hole that you could drive a truck through. Second draft problems. But some days those 2000 words don’t come easily.

Yet I keep doing this every year, I’m sure to the confusion of those around me.

Why NaNoWriMo?

For one thing, I don’t write much fiction anymore, which¬† is something that I really do enjoy. NaNoWriMo gives me permission to devote a whole month to it, which is decadent is my writer’s world. Even if the end product isn’t as good as I’d like it to be, it’s 50 000 words of content with which I can work, should I ever decide to, and that’s pretty cool.

But I think that it also has to do with the process of…not recovery, still struggling with that word….taking a second look at my life that I went through after I acquired my disabilities. Some of the things in my life that I really liked to do, as much as I struggled to keep them a part of my life, just weren’t as accessible anymore, or accessible at all. It was a long time before I started taking adult ballet classes, to see if I could handle any of it, and I was pretty much limited to the barre and to certain exercises at that. Any dreams of doing Highland dancing again were certainly out. Theatre? For a long time I had myself convinced that acting was no longer an option…which I’ve now reconsidered…but I’m cautious. Attitudes being what they are, I question whether I’d actually get cast in a part where the person wasn’t physically disabled, and there aren’t a lot of physically disabled characters in theatre’s classical repertoire. Certainly any musical theatre that requires dance is out.

I did rediscover after my stroke, however, that I like to write. I like blogging. I like writing fiction. I even like writing poetry, sometimes.

I was always asking the kids that I worked with, when we were talking about what they might want to do when they graduated from school, “What do you like to do?” And when they told me, I’d say, “Well, let’s find ways for you to do more of that, then.”

If there’s something that you like doing, and it’s not hurting anyone else (and it’s legal) you should do it.

So I will NaNoWriMo. Because I like it.

See you in December, hopefully with a fourth NaNoWriMo novel under my belt.