Saturday, March 20, 2010

NaNoWriMo Revisited

I still have not missed a National Novel Writing Month since the year I discovered it (late) in November of 2005. I threatened to miss two of them. Just couldn't do it.

In 2007, I said I might be too busy to participate and win. The two writers I was blessed with as part of a little writing group were forging ahead. I had to join them. I made the requisite mad dash at the end to become a NaNoWriMo winner.

In 2009, with a 3-year-old and a 5-month-old, I said No Way. Then I jumped in and did my own version where my goal was to write 15 minutes each day. And I did. I reached that goal and made a silly, appreciated little story about his toy knights for my older son. I was not an official NaNoWriMo winner. That was hard for me.

I've NaNoWriMoed through two pregnancies; in four different cities in two different states; with two different writing groups and twice on my own; with a toddler and with a baby and preschooler; with the intention of winning, with the intention of "cheating" (using extremely long names for each of my characters, extremely long inserted poems, and the like), and with the intention of not finishing.

I love me some NaNoWriMo.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Waiting Without Hope

I may have embarked upon a new writing venture. There's a baby under one year old in the house, after all, and that always seems to energize my ambitions.

I've gone through the No Shame Novelist experiment and learned what I thought I would learn.

1.) That some of my favorite authors have helpful tips and ideas about writing that I would love to learn.

2.) That to write authentically, I will have to find my very own way. Anything done as a copy of someone else's work is not worth publishing.

So my new venture seems authentic so far. I'm moving ahead very, very slowly so I can make sure it stays that way. I'm also (possibly) going to keep it a bit secret. Spilling all the beans now would ensure that I have no beans to plant later.

Part of my starting out very, very slowly is that I'm going through a long list of books to read during the beginning stages of this project. Do you want to see the list? It will most definitely give you a clue to what the project might end up being.

I'll post the list later.

For now, I'll take the opportunity to remind myself of the principles that should guide my new project.

1.) Take it one step at a time.
2.) When in doubt, do nothing.
3.) Be intentional (some would say prayerful) before writing.
4.) Do my homework.
5.) "I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope, For hope would be hope for the wrong thing."—T.S. Eliot, The Four Quartets

A wonderful Friend recently reminded me of that quote.

You may see two opposing forces at work in this blog. If so, you see me! The force comprised of ambition, energy, and will sits next to the force that thrives in stillness, waiting, silence, and release. They shove each other around quite a lot, but I try to keep them from an outright war. Every once in a great, great while they work together for the good. That is an amazing feeling.

I think I've found the right analogy for how I want to treat my new project. It's the way that I treat my baby's naps. He needs his sleep. It is very important for his development and happiness. I try not to plan anything during his two naps per day, so for the most part, we stay home when it's a nap time. I protect and guard that time. Sometimes it's worth it to skip the nap so we can go do something important, like watch my husband run a big race. This is how I'll be handling my baby-stage project. I'm going to guard it like a nap time for the most part, but sometimes it may be important to share things about it. So then I'll share.