No to NaNoWriMo but Yes to Writing More

As you know, this is National Novel Writing Month fondly called NaNoWriMo, and many people have begun the journey to writing a 50,000 world novel in a month.

Kudos to them!

As the beginning of November approached, I had a debate with myself about joining. Should I? Shouldn’t I? Should I? Shouldn’t I?

I recognize the advantages of joining NaNoWriMo: the community, the inspiration, the support group, etc. But, when I really thought about it, I felt an overwhelming sense of pressure at the thought of joining. Why? Here are some of my thoughts:

  • I know I can write a novel. I’ve done it. Just because that novel has yet to be published doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
  • I know I have other books inside me, but trying to force them out has made me depressed and frustrated. I can’t force myself to create, I create when I have something to say.
  • When I find a story, I write quickly. Thousands of words pour out of me in a short time period, so the time limit of a month has little meaning anyway. If I have a story to tell, I will tell it.
  • Writing quickly does not necessarily mean writing well. I know, the concept behind this is to just get a draft done, and then you can enter the editing process, but every writer has  a different process so I’m not sure that would completely work for me. (I often alternate between writing and editing, reviewing past work before I continue forward).
  • I am already putting too much pressure on myself to accomplish, and I’m struggling a lot with my own pressure. NaNoWriMo seems like it will just add to the mix.

For those of you who have joined this challenge, I think it is wonderful. I look forward to reading your stories and learning about your adventures throughout the month.

I just needed to make a different choice. For a while I thought perhaps I was just making another excuse, another reason to say “I want to be a writer,” rather than “I am a writer.”

Then I looked at what I have written since Nov 1 (even with a power outage and other issues)  and I realized, I am writing. I wrote:

I have written hundreds, if not thousands of words a day. So, while I may not (or maybe I will) have a novel to show for it at the end of November, I will still be able to say “I am a writer.”

That has to be enough.

Good luck to all you NaNoWriMo writers! And good luck to the rest of us as well.

Achieving “Fortytude”

It’s a little challenging trying to write Hubs to get some kind of writing “career” (for lack of a better term) started, but wanting to write here, for the wonderful community of connections that I have been building. Today, for example, I wanted to share with you the lucky serendipity of my discovery of the book by Sarah Brokaw called Fortytude: making the Next Decades the Best Years of Your Life–through the 40s, 50s, and Beyond but I also realized how much it fit into my series of Reinventing Self posts on the HubPages. So, I decided to do both, allowing this post to become the more personal exploration of the topic and the other to be a little more generic. If you are interested in both, here is the link to “How to Reinvent Yourself: Living Life with ‘Fortytude'”

But enough business. I do suggest you go out and read this book, because it is making me rethink a lot of things about life. I plan on exploring a lot of the questions it is forming over the next few days, and knowing me I’ll do it right here in the blog for all to share. As soon as I started reading, I found myself scribbling notes frantically as thoughts and questions blossomed into my brain. I haven’t finished reading yet, but have filled front and back of three large note cards with things I want to write about. I wanted to share a picture of them, but for some reason I am being defeated by technology today. So instead, I am going to share some of the notes and questions I’ve written down. If they inspire you, please feel free to explore them in your own writing, and let me know or share the link below in the comments:

  • Brokaw writes about “sparkling moments” which, to her are moments that often get the label of problems. She suggests that “sparkling moments” provide “opportunities to change, experiment, push yourself, grow, and learn new skills” (3) I want to explore the sparkling moments that exist in my life.
  • “Why do I . . . allow myself to be undermined by the very values I choose not to ascribe to?” (Brokaw 7)
  • How do I exhibit grace in my life? What does grace mean to me?
  • Write about a time when I was told that I was not “good enough” and how that changed my life completely.
  • What defines my femininity?
  • What are the “sprinkles” in my life? (According to one of the women Brokaw interviewed in the book “Adding a few sprinkles to your ice cream made all the difference in the world. Sprinkles change your mind-set.”

  • How do I feel connected and establish connections? (Part of that answer exists in the very nature of this blog)
  • How do I define a quality friendship?
  • What does mentoring mean to me?
  • What does it mean to be an accomplished woman? What am I accomplished at? What is accomplishment? (This one is a really important one for me to explore).
  • Am I good enough? Why don’t I feel good enough? Will I ever be good enough?
  • What does the word career even mean to me?
  • When I am 90, what will I regret?
  • Be creative with definitions of what I do well. I need to define myself in new ways.
  • What is adventure? What does adventure mean to me? How do I define it?
  • What is my body telling me?
  • What would I love to do if age has no meaning. This comes from a discussion in the book about Blame Sally, a rock band started by women in their 40s and 50s and succeeding against all odds.

There you have it my friends, a babbling list of questions that will hopefully inspire future posts–for myself and perhaps for a few of you as well.

More later. Thanks for reading.

Lisa

 

Revealing My Strengths

My commitment and search to reinvent myself has begun more seriously now. I’m taking steps toward earning a living, creating employment, and understanding myself better so that I am not just doing a job but embracing living and working in the most fulfilling way possible. I’m not going to go into too many details here, as one of the steps I took in this direction involves writing post for HubPages, a place where I could potentially earn some money off of my words.  I wrote my first post there today. Check it out.

Don’t worry though, WordPress is my first blogging home, and this community is very important to me. This the place where I can write, and explore, and dream, and vent, and complain. This is the place where I laugh and cry, and share all of the craziness of my life. This is the place where I have made friends and connections that have given me the courage to take this bizarre journey that I am on, a journey into finding my strengths and creating a life full of joy.

What exactly are these strengths, you wonder?  Well, this morning I took the on-line survey from Strengths Finder, to find some eerily accurate descriptions of myself. I’ve only skimmed the surface of what the analysis has to say, but to break it down in a few bullets, some of my strengths include:

  • Thinking and discussing ideas with others.
  • Being innovative and facing challenges creatively.
  • Learning new things and searching out the knowledge I need to successfully (and creatively) face my challenges.
  • Willingness to work hard, but apparently I work harder when I get recognition for the work I do. (I’m not sure this is true, but I do know that I get frustrated when I have worked hard and get no recognition).
  • Gathering information and reading.
  • Apparently I have some skill with words and writing. (Tee hee hee)

So what does all this mean? I have no idea yet, but it is an interesting journey.

 

Tomorrow I should have regular access to the internet so I will be back to commenting and responding to your comments. I’ve missed you all!

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