Let’s Say We Are Going to Camp NaNoWriMo

I am the queen of unfinished drafts.

Like every good writer, I start stories, novels, blog posts with every intent to finish them. But sometimes, I get bored…okay, a lot of times I get bored after I begin always in the middle. That part of the writing process when it begins to feel like work and there I go off to something else new and shiny.

But this July, I decided to try Camp NaNoWriMo…again. CNW_Participant_Square

Last November, I started working on a novel project, and I didn’t finish it (like I said I am the queen). I found myself trudging through the motions of writing before giving up mid-way through NaNoWriMo. Since last November, I keep thinking about this one project. This one idea that I started, characters who won’t let me move on to the next project.

Even if nothing comes from the novel, I need to write out.

This is why I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo. If I could explain that writing this novel isn’t about publishing; it isn’t about signing an agent to market my work (I am open to both scenarios should anyone be interested); and it isn’t about writing an insane about of words in one month.

For me, it is about getting into a daily writing habit. It is about not feeling guilty that I can’t keep my damn butt in the chair long enough to write something. It is about breaking free from the endless cycle of “should haves” and “what if’s.”

Sure, I may not finish this month, but if nothing else, I will be a few words closer to finishing.

That’s why I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo again.

 

Birthday in 32 Parts

OneWord2013_Ignite

I.

TODAY, I’m celebrating the big 32, or if you prefer 2-3 reversed.

II.

This is also the month in which my friend, Sarah Bessey releases her book  Jesus Feminist. Her words are pure healing for those of us who have been set adrift by the evangelical, fundamentalist movement of the 1980’s and 1990’s. She traces how women have been both excluded and the need for inclusion in the church. While the beginning part of the book does unfolding slowly and methodically(necessary since she is putting forth foundational truths for the later chapters), Sarah Bessey moves quickly into her natural cadence of Warrior Poetess and hand-raising Pentecostal.

(Full disclosure: I received an ACR from NetGalley. The review and thoughts are entirely my own)

III.

This past year has been full of healing. My 31st birthday wounded me, but I’m slowly recovering.

IV.

Cake.

V.

Something finally snapped inside my head, and we got a kitten.

VI.

My new kitten, Lily, will never “haz cheezeburger.” She spells correctly and uses proper writing mechanics at all times.

VII.

I really should be writing for NaNoWriMo, but I’m not.

VIII.

I need all of the coffee in the world…forever…

IX.

I have developed a thing for wine bars, good cheese, and cured meats.

X.

I have no dignity about bragging about my new obsession on Instagram  or Facebook.

XI.

Did I mention CAKE????

XII.

After years away from teaching, I’m back teaching. I love it!

XIII.

There are many papers to grade, many, many papers.

XIV.

The kitten tried to eat a student’s paper. She could taste the quality of the writing and went back to licking herself.

XV.

After years away from church, I finally feel able to sit in the service and Sunday School without a minor panic attack.

XVI.

Trying to remember how to do Roman Numerals is hard.

XVII.

My writing group is the best ever. Who else would put up with all bazillion rewrites of my stories? Also, there is beer and wine, so that might be why.

XVIII.

I HAD SOME SHORT STORIES PUBLISHED!!!!!!!!!!

XIX.

I have had lots of rejections too.

XX.

But I kept on writing.

XXI.

Because I don’t know how to evict all of these crazy characters from my head.

XXII.

I can neither confirm or deny that I may have hugged my new Keurig coffeemaker.

XXIII.

Trying to focus on being healthier…but it’s my birthday and CAKE!

XXIV.

I should be using my words to advance my word count, but I’m blogging because in reality I really like blogging.

XXV.

I have to remind myself that blogging was part of my forays back into writing for fun and fiction and poetry and being creative.

XXVI.

The music by HEY OCEAN! is amazing and lovely. Also, I could listen to Vampire Weekend all day on repeat.

XXVII.

But I lose all hipster street cred when I admit I have an unabashed love for country music.

XXVIII.

Deal with it.

XXIX.

Also, I am married to best husband in the entire world, and of course, I am his very best also.

XXX.

Why yes, my 30’s were far better than my 20’s.

XXXI.

My library has swollen to epic levels and I must needs read!

XXXII.

Here’s to another year, a better year than the last.

Signs of the Weary

Weariness marks its territory all over my desk.

Paper piled up, a few stray candy wrappers, a soda half-consumed. This is weary, my weary. Long work days and nights squeezed out the life force, the vibrance. Also, the will to clean. Spread out all over the corner desk, I leaf through school work, junk mail fliers, coupons to spend at stores I don’t shop. Behind my eyes, my head aches, but I continue plodding along. Stiff muscles and hands throb reminding me of my long work day tomorrow too.  Over and over, my mind races through my schedule and where I need to be and when every one else in this family needs something or go somewhere. As if a giant calendar lived inside my mind, I berate myself with all the must do’s, the needs, the events.

Weary, no longer abstract, looks like me.

I try to write, but even then, weary creeps in and becomes my muse. Sitting at my desk, I type out words and conversations for my novel only to get my word count up for #NaNoWrimo. But weary isn’t the kind of muse I want. It sits on my shoulder and reiterates how the words I am writing break every rule touted by established writers. More importantly, writer published with books lining shelves. My muse weary points out my plot flaws, dialogue errors while whispering how my idea isn’t original or even that creative. Why not quit? Weary suggests. No one will ever read this anyways, and the muse goes on to delineate how difficult the publishing industry can be. Ruthless and hard, I should just go read someone’s else words.

Weary doesn’t show us much grace.

Some days, I buy into the lies whispered my weariness. Those graceless thoughts fester inside my head, and I allow it. Doubts follow, and soon, I sit in front of my computer about to delete all of my words–novel, blogs, all of them. Who wants to read this? But even in these moments, weary doesn’t have the loudest voice. My other muse, grace calls over weary’s brazen words. Grace doesn’t gloss over the difficulties of my craft, the industry, but Grace gives hope.

Hope replaces our weary.

Some days, I cling to hope despite weary. But I must work. To spend my time honing the craft, to write words no one will ever see, to push against all of my feelings of inadequacy–I choose which muse I will listen to. Even on those weary days, I choose to hope that tomorrow’s writing will be inspired. I choose to believe Grace’s words that I have worth, that I have a voice to speak.

Which muse are you listening to today?

 

Hello from the Chaos

Tomorrow, I will have been in the #NaNoWriMo trenches for a week.

Already, I’m over 10,000 words into my first novel. While it is simply a first draft(not even at the rough draft stage), I still really like my characters that I developed and the few who showed up. Right now, I have one character in a back office who has yet to open the door and introduce himself or herself. Not sure, yet, but I’m hoping said person will come out soon.

As I plow through my novel, here are a few things I learned this first week.

  1. I waste a lot of time. At first, I looked at my schedule and thought I wouldn’t have enough time. But when I cut down the good things, the distractions, I am always amazed. I have hours to devote to my art, my writing.
  2. Deadlines are not the enemy. For some writers, word counts and deadlines stifle their art. My art thrives under pressure.
  3. Writing brings me joy. Even in the midst of the chaos, writing this novel makes me feel creative joy. It’s not a perfect process, but it is far better to have a work in progress than simply an idea stuck in my head.
How is you art coming this week? How was the first week of #NaNoWriMo?