write about starting, even if you don’t know where to begin
NaNo is coming.
This is what I’ve been saying to myself and others since the beginning of October. There’s something about this time of year that just makes me excited for the process of writing. I love the daily goals, the community, the possibility that I might actually write with other people in a room. I haven’t made this last step yet, but perhaps this is the year!
My only regret is that I didn’t start participating in NaNoWriMo sooner. The first year was a wonderful experience. Last year, my progress was thrown off my events occurring in my personal life. Infidelity. Separation. Divorce. You know, things that pull your focus from your passion to your … whatever phrase fits.
But this year, I’m back. I’m ready to write and just get on with it.
Sure, there’s a whole lot going on in November. Thanksgiving. A smattering of birthdays. Decorating for that other, less important holiday that happens at the end of the year, but it’s the bustling busy of the season that makes NaNoWriMo special.
And so, in a measly 5 days and ~14 hours from the timestamp of this post (EDT), we enter November and the 2014 kickoff of NaNoWriMo.
For those of you that don’t know, National Novel Writing Month (also known as NaNoWriMo) starts today. What are you writing about? Who are your characters? What’s the point? That’s sortof what I’m asking myself right now. So… to get you started:
Describe your favorite scene or character or moment in life.
Juxtapose this with your favorite scene or character or moment from a novel or poem.
Fill in the blanks between the two.
On a loosely related side-note: I really, really wish I knew what my novel-writing plan was for this month. For serious. All my prior plans have mostly dissipated, or feel too unformed to work with.
the confines of a suburban room
tiktok of Oz
2013 is the year I get serious about my writing. It’s always been one of those things that sort of lingers reluctantly in the background, my voice too scared to speak aloud, Yes, I am a poet, for fear of being viewed as a flighty person. One whose head is stuck in the clouds.
It’s probably all just me projecting – this, too, I’m getting over.
I don’t really jump into things as much as you might think. I’ve actually been ramping up to this seriousness since the end of July 2012, when I started regularly posting the writing prompts. By the time November hit, I was ready to take my motivation and drive to the next level by challenging myself to participate in NaNoWriMo. I completed the task, though the story I had worked on is not yet complete. I’ll get there by the end of this year.
At the beginning of December, I attended a Poetry Chapbook workshop, not because I was especially interested in creating a chapbook, but because I wanted to interact with the poetry community that surrounds me. The workshop provided me with exactly what I wanted, plus a list of chapbooks I wanted to buy and some writer resources I was intent on trying out. With the holidays around the corner, I was fortunate that my various family members gifted me with the items I had on my list.
For 2013, I have made the commitment to invest in myself and in the resources at my disposal. Specially:
My 2013 goals for this writing life are fairly similar to those in years past, though with increased goal numbers. What can I say? I’m a girl that likes continuous improvement.
Lastly, I’ve got some plans for the blog – reorganization type things, featured items (hint: possibility of guest poets, chapbook/poetry book reviews, and more!)
Please leave a comment if you’ve got some ideas on how I can improve the site or if there are specific things you’d like to see.
I’ve finally started to take myself seriously as a writer, specifically poet. I’m learning to be OK with telling people that yes, I write and it’s sortof something I’m passionate about.
I’m learning to shut off the negative voice in my head that sends doubt down the length of my arms and into my fingertips. I’ve even started to ignore/delete comments from those that make a joke of it. I’m speaking specifically to Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, If you are a poet, then I am too. Yes, a family member made that comment on one of my FB declarations. I’m not opposed to constructive criticism, but I am not open to being belittled. Moving on…
There will be more things, most likely, that will help me feel good about what I’m doing. The most important of all is that I’m going to keep at it, because it really is the one thing that keeps me happy and sane, mostly.
In an effort to continue my motivation with writing past November, I have enrolled in a chapbook workshop for early December. Though I feel I sortof know what I’m supposed to do surrounding this, I signed up because I figure it can’t hurt to be around other people that are looking for the same thing. Community motivation, let’s call it.
I already have a chapbook/series in mind and have been diligently posting new poems on Wattpad every week or every couple of weeks. There are 25 poems in all, and I have 19 that have already been uploaded. I haven’t decided yet how I’m going to put the physical version together and have been contemplating creating the book myself – sortof an extra arts & crafts project that I can use to occupy my time. Whatever I wind up deciding, I’m excited with the prospect.
In my post from yesterday, I mentioned that I do not write to be published, which is true. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t want something to show for my efforts. Creating a physical chapbook to share with others is one way to have a more concrete final product.
I’ve finally worked through the demons in my head that on one hand say:
Write, because you need to!
Only to immediately follow up with:
Why bother? No one cares/will read it anyway.
I don’t know what changed in me to make it finally OK for me to stand up to myself – to battle with the voices of the cranky, negative editor and decide that this passion I have is for me and no one else. The joy I get from it is my own and any other positive effects it has on others that stumble across the path is pure bonus. This is the shift in mentality that I’ve been riding for the past few months. I feel like I’ve finally broken through from the internal voices that tell me I’m not good enough, that I shouldn’t tell people that, Yes, I am a Poet.
You know what, voices? You can stuff it. I’ve got better things to do than be silenced by you.
Today, write about why you write.
I don’t write for publication – so stop asking immediately after I tell you I write if I’ve been published or if I plan to be. I write because I am compelled to do so. From the moment I had a black and white composition notebook and pen in my hands, I was determined to put the ink to the pure pages and get out of my head all the things that didn’t really want to stay in.
I write to keep myself sane. To make sense of the world. I write to remind myself that I’m not the one who’s crazy – it’s the way we’ve set up society to be focused on production and output rather than pure creation. I write because I need creation in my life. I need the creativity and the satisfaction of being the one to bring it alive.
I write because sometimes the characters in my head are scratching at my snapping synapses to get out, out, OUT! I write because these same characters teach me more about myself than I could hope to learn from those around me. I write for clarity. I write to be vague. I write to stop the vibrating in my guts and hands and eyeballs.
I write, too, because I am utterly afraid of this world. I am afraid that I’ll lose some part of myself to the daily repetitive grind of doing things I’d really rather not be doing. I write with the hope that writing, in itself, can be enough for me to make it through the next 30 years of necessity. I write because I need to. I need to. I need to.
I’m not writing for you or you or you…. I’m writing for me. I’m writing to revel in this type of selfishness – this backlash against all those shoulds I’ve been hearing since I started making my own decisions.
Q: What are you going to school for?
A: English Creative Writing – Poetry.
Q: What are you going to do with that, teach?
A: No, I just want to write.
Q: You should teach. You’ll get summers off to write.
I don’t want to just write in the summers. I don’t want to teach. I just want to feed my creativity and write.
Q: I heard you’re writing, that’s great! What are you writing?
A: Insert brief description of work-in-progress here.
Q: What are you, going to send it to a publisher after, try to get it published?
A: No. I’m going to edit it and see what’s there.
A: I’m not trying to get published. I’m just trying to finish something. To work on a writing schedule I so desperately need. To get these characters and this separate world I’ve had in my head since I was 14 out. I’m not thinking about publication right now.
There are logical assumptions people jump to when they hear about writing. They think of the “sensible” thing do to. The shoulds. My answers may seem lacking, flighty. Writing for writing’s sake? Preposterous!
I write to revel in the ridiculousness. I write because it is my own type of therapy. It is my way of dealing with the world, on learning how to cope with things. I do it because I need to do it, isn’t that quite enough?