NaNoWriMo 2014 Conclusion

Guys, I know I’m a few days late at giving my closing statements for NaNoWriMo 2014, but I thought better late than never, right?

I finished the month at just under 30,000 words. That would be 20,000 words less than the NaNoWriMo goal, but I am considering it a success, nonetheless. I am just now engaging myself in the practice of writing “full time”, and I had never attempted such a large project before.

I have struggled with the instant gratification of short stories and free verse poetry — always dreaming of writing a novel, but never sitting down with the intention of dedicating myself to it.

NaNoWiMo changed all that.

Although I didn’t meet the word count goal within the month, I was able to realize that I can spend just a little bit of time each day toward a much larger goal.

I cheer for everyone that did finish and “win” NaNoWriMo by meeting the 50,000 word goal. I think they all did an amazing job! I am also cheering for all of the writers, like myself, that did not meet the word count goal, but gave everything they had to give in the month of November toward a fresh and big project.

I can’t say whether or not I’ll do NaNoWriMo again or not — it would all depend on where I am next November in my life circumstances and prospective projects. I think it’s a great thing for a lot of writers to try, at least once, but it certainly is not for everyone. And if you’re one of those writers that it didn’t quite work for – don’t worry! Don’t feel bad, you’re not alone.

I hope everyone feels accomplished and charged for all current and future writing projects – keep working at it!

Happy Writing!

NaNoWriMo Day 18 — Fast Drafts Are Not For Me

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I am aware my NaNoWriMo updates have been sporadic at best, and I could offer a variety of reasons for this, but I’m not going to.

Let’s just say life is busy, I’m still writing (although I am a little behind on my word count), and sleep takes precedence over updating this blog.

I admire those that do daily updates on their progress and list their stats and all that, but that is not how I roll at this time, nor do I have the time to do so.

I would like to talk about things I have been grappling with lately, if you don’t mind.

I have read two articles recently that struck a chord with me and I want to share. The first comes from the amazing folks over at The Write Practice. I love all of their posts and get excited each time I see a new post from them in my inbox. A recent article they put out, “Why Fast First Drafts Aren’t For Everyone“, really got me thinking about my own method of writing…

And I think I am one of those folks that need more time to write.

I just cannot pound out more than 2,000 words in 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Or, even if I did achieve this feat, the words would be crap. My mind does not work at lightning speed and never has.

I only think of witty or clever things to say a day or two after the moment has passed. I mull over plot and character possibilities for several minutes or more before I choose one to go with. I write a free verse poem and sit on it for weeks sometimes before I read it over, edit, and publish it here. I am terrible at arguing because I would rather hear the other person’s grievances, think about it for a few hours to an entire day, and then write a letter or e-mail to them stating my side of the issue.

I’m a thinker and I need time.

NaNoWriMo has been infinitely helpful to me, however. I have developed a daily practice of writing, which was my primary goal anyway. When my word count began to fall behind last week, I felt a stab of guilt and disappointment in myself for not pushing through, for not forsaking sleep and health and relationships for the written word.

Of course, I knew feeling this way was nonsense, seeing that if I am not taking care of myself I am no good to my husband or children (no one likes a grumpy wife or mom) and my writing would quickly suffer as a result of a brain that could not function to the best of its abilities.

The second article I read that I loved is by Jennifer S. White and I saw it on Elephant Journal, another really great online publication. “The All-or-Nothing Approach to Life Doesn’t Work” resonated with me since I am also a busy mother and wife that has a tendency to all-or-nothing approaches. I try to achieve everything at once with perfection, attempting to do it all, or I have the burn-out periods of doing nothing at all because my mind and body cannot support any endeavors past daily necessities.

This was something I really needed to read because I have been trying to set up daily routines and rituals for myself to create a more productive and satisfying life.

But instead of setting up one new routine at a time, I was trying to add in at least six new tasks for each day. Inevitably, there would be two or more of these additions that did not get accomplished and I would be left feeling frustrated over the whole thing, which would flow into the next day in a vicious cycle of disappointment, frustration, and just well, feeling down about my abilities to excel in life.

The rituals were supposed to help, not make things worse!

I have (finally) realized that I cannot be a homeschooling mother of two, a devoted wife, an immaculate housekeeper, a yogi, a writer, a journal-keeper, a meditator, a knitter, a reader, etc all in one day everyday. There is just no way this can happen, at least not for the mind that needs ample time to sort anything and everything out before action can take place.

“And, here’s another thing–my healthiest self walked away from this writing. While my preference is to hole up in my bedroom with coffee and my laptop, this, again, is a current rarity.”

Jennifer hit the nail on the head with this one. I have my own preferences about how to conduct my life and engage myself in my passions…but with little Monsters in the home, my preferences are often thrown out the window. I know time will pass, my children will grow older and more independent, and I will be left with more time — if only to think: how did they grow up so fast!?

Life isn’t about checking things off on a list, or being able to do everything you want to do the way you want to do them all of the time.

Life is about the experience while doing what you love, what you don’t love, and learning from each and every moment.

 “And trust me—I’m an all-or-nothing sort of person (if you’ll recall). So, I understand that multi-tasking is a myth; that life is easier when performed orderly, cleanly, neatly and entirely. But I’m also a yoga practitioner (I think I mentioned that too)—I believe that living moment-by-moment is the only way to truly live (happily at least).”

As painful as it is for me to admit, I can only do so much in a day, and things I love to do often get pushed to the side for the well-being of those around me, or for my own well-being.

Writing, yoga, reading, and many other things are important parts of a balanced and healthy life for me, but it’s the balancing part that I need to practice more. Not attempting an all-or-nothing approach…because it has not and will not work.

I know I have gotten off topic from NaNoWriMo a bit, but I wanted to address these aspects of life, and what is writing if not an integral part of our messy lives?

I will continue to write each day during NaNoWriMo and beyond…just maybe not 1,667 words a day.

How is your writing going? How is life? Do you find you have difficulties balancing your passions and loves in life? I would love to hear what works or does not work for you.

Have a wonderful day, and Happy Writing, everyone!

NaNoWriMo Day 6

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The days keep coming and going, slipping through my fingers, while I have no idea what I have spent my time doing.

I have been in a complete brain fog for the past couple of days — partly from lack of sleep, but mostly from almost constantly thinking about my NaNoWriMo project. Do any of you experience this as well while working on a project like this?

Yesterday was my one day of great discipline thus far, as I got up at 5 a.m. to begin writing before the Monsters and the Husband woke up. It was a beautiful hour and a half… I sat in my Ikea Poäng chair, had my cup of homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte by my side, and I typed away until my littlest Monster woke up. I was able to get out around 1,200 words during that time, which greatly helped me feel more at ease the rest of the day.

Today has been a completely different story.

I turned off my alarm immediately when it chimed at 5 o’clock and slept for another hour or so until the littlest Monster beckoned for me to release her from her room.

It is now 2 o’clock in the afternoon and I am finally having my first free moments of the day, and here I am, writing this post instead of beginning my NaNoWriMo writing for the day. I’m telling myself I needed to get these thoughts written down and cleared out so that I could better focus on the big project. Maybe it’s just an excuse, maybe it’s legitimate.

No matter the reason I find myself here, I must get to work before responsibilities come calling in 45 minutes.

How are all of your projects coming along? Have you hit any walls yet, or is the writing still coming freely from your fingertips?

I wish you all success, and Happy Writing!

NaNoWriMo Day 4

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I just finished up my NaNoWriMo writing for the day, and my current word count is 9,253. I have never before in my life been so prolific with my writing. It feels both strange and exhilarating to take on this project.

I honestly didn’t know if I would be able to find the chance to write at all today, as it was a tumultuous day with my Little Monsters. However, I just tried to use that frazzled energy to my advantage while squeezing in my writing this evening.

What about you guys? How are your creative ventures coming along? I would love to hear!

Happy Writing, everyone!