Why and How I’m a WriMo

This is the first of what I hope to be a series on my experience with National Novel Writing Month orNaNoWriMo. It had changed my life, for the better. I hope.


Since I’m not working, I thought it would be a good year to be a municipal liaison for Nano. So I’m a co ML, which is great because Phoenix is a large area to take care of. So far, most of my job has been coordinating with my fellow ML and sending and responding to emails. We have someone interested in planning some meetings for an area in the nether regions, or at least far from where we are based. Yay!

My first November of literary abandon, as Nano is described, was 2008. I finally relented to my sister-in-law, Jean and decided on the first of the month I would attempt to write a novel of at least 50,000 words in 30 days. I was teaching full time at the time, so it would be a challenge in several ways.

The first challenge, of course, was time. Teaching 6th grade took up all my day and much of my evening and weekends with planning and grading. But I found the writing to be stress-relieving. No one had to see it or read it. You’re not supposed to edit as you write; the focus is to get the story down. A Wrimo (Nano writer) is encouraged to silence her inner editor. A monster was created. I couldn’t stop. I had to force myself to go to bed so I could teach in the morning. I had to force myself to do what I needed to do at home for school. All I wanted to do was write! And housework? Didn’t happen.

Another challenge facing on November 1, 2008, was what the hell should I write about? I hadn’t a plan. I hadn’t a clue. I decided to take a slice of my life as it was then and start with that. I ending up flying with it and very little turned out to be autobiographical. At least in my opinion.

Something else I already knew was that I didn’t really know how to write, how to structure a novel, how to develop characters, how to outline, etc. I figured I could learn if I wanted.

I always thought a writer had to outline, like they tell you in school. I’m not much good a planning ahead. I have since learned that  many writers simply set out and write by the seat of their pants. It didn’t make me a bad person to not outline. What a relief that was!

The first step in a journey of 50,000 words is the first word. I wrote that word and have been writing ever since.

Here’s the link to NaNoWriMo. Check it out. Perhaps there is a writing monster in you dying to be let loose.

One Good Thing About a Full Time Job


–besides a paycheck.

Stress.

When I worked full time, I had limited time to write. I would dream about writing at work, wish I could turn off the 35 children I was trying to teach and tune in to my novel’s characters.

Now, I have ALL day, minus time to job search, which I should be doing more of. I’ll look at my work in progress, then stare at it, then look at Facebook (again) and Twitter (again) and play Mahjong (again). For some new and different procrastination technique, I could figure out the wonders of Google + which I’ve joined. It’s something about circles.

Stress from the job made me want to escape real life. It fed my creative energy and my motivation to dream and do something to hopefully get me out of the need of a “real” job. Now I don’t have that. Might be coming soon, as we run out of money.

I like staying home too much. Our house is small and comfortable, slightly untidy and lived in. I like hiding away, especially in this hellish summer heat. It doesn’t bother me if the only time I open the door is to get the mail or take the trash out. We go to church on Sunday. Isn’t that enough out for a introverted dork like myself? Well, maybe not.

There were other good things about my job. I loved the kids-a few at a time. And I did have some good times with whole classes and I think one or two kids actually learned something, even if it didn’t show up on the AIMS test. I worked with some good people, too. People I will miss.

The structure the job gave my day was useful. I’m a “whatever, whenever” kind of gal. I’ll go to sleep whenever, day or night, cook food whenever. Write whenever, wear whatever when I’m hanging around home. Working told me “If you want to write, you have to do it between these hours, and no, you can’t stay up until two just because your muse wants to.” So, I wrote during those hours. I needed to. My sanity depended on it. And that’s not much of an overstatement.

My husband works nights and his four workdays vary every week. He doesn’t sleep for six or seven or eight hours straight. He’ll get up late morning, go back to bed in the afternoon and wake up again in the evening. That doesn’t help either one of us. About the only regular thing we’ve been doing is watching the Diamondbacks in the evening.

I need external expectations to help me be productive and I don’t really like that. I’m kind of wishing I could come up with a series of gigs to make money, different jobs to challenge my mind, meet new people and learn new skills. But if I can’t structure myself to be productive, I’m setting myself up for trouble and failure.

Or possibly, as far as my novel goes, maybe I’m scared to finish it and put it out there for e-sale or to be rejected by agents. Maybe I’m afraid it will be good and I’ll have succeeded at something and make a little money and be compelled to do it again.

I have the time I dreamed of. Now, I have to learn to be productive and use it wisely.