Nanowrimo 2010

For the past few years I have tried, and miserably failed, to participate in Nanowrimo. Last year I took a break from it and everything else to focus on other things. However, a friend of mine sent out a FB note asking people about Nanowrimo. So I signed up.

The idea of writing a novel in one month seems ridiculous, even to me. Some people think doing Ironman is ridiculous; in my mind it makes more sense than nanowrimo. However, since September I have been thinking of plots, characters, ideas, and strategies to actually do this.

My first strategy is the word “no.” Right now I’m training for Ironman, working, and getting ready for nanowrimo. I have had to say No to many commitments that have been asked of me. This is no easy feat for me. I learned from my dad that “yes” is a great word and that we need to step up to make things happen. However, I have learned in the past few years that if I say Yes to everything, I will be left with no time or energy to do the things that I really want to do. It has taken some time to learn to be selfish like this, but it’s really coming along.

My second strategy is to learn about all the fun things that happen around Nanowrimo in November. I learned about these chat rooms where people do “sprints,” which means that everyone sits and writes continuously for 5, 10, 20, etc. minutes at a time. Then they take a break for the same length of time to chat, go to the bathroom, or just think about the story. Then they do it again. I actually did a sprint recently and really liked it. It was like an interval in training and I really like intervals. I’m going to intersperse my writing with sprints.

My third strategy is to make clear goals every day. In order to write 50,000 words in one month, I must write around 1,667 words everyday. Last night I watched a cool video about nanowrimo and the strategies and it suggested making a calendar. So I did. In my day-planner, I wrote in the amount of words for each day. By the 30th, I will have 50,010 words… in an ideal world.

My fourth strategy is to create characters now. I am trusting that details and ideas will come as I write, but I want to have a loose plot and characters, places, and names in place before the 1st.

My last strategy is to surround myself by nanowrimos. On the 1st, I’m going to a nanowrimo launch and then there is my friend that somehow convinced me to do this in the first place. We have a small group of people that we’re hoping will get together every 7 to 10 days during November. I’m mostly looking for online support, though, because there are going to be times when it seems impossible. I hope that the online groups will provide the inspiration I need to keep going.

Here is my day-planner with the pretty pink goals:

Nanowrimo Word Count

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The Clutter Project – Introduction

I was born a pack-rat. Even from a young age, my mother fought with me to throw out items that I squirreled away into the corners of my closet, dresser, and even under my mattress. Some of my mom’s favourite stories of me include throwing away coloured colouring books, which to me was a showcase of my hard work and I loved seeing the completeness of the books. My mom, of course, saw them as unnecessary clutter. I would scream and cry and sometimes even dig through the trash bags hoping to salvage some of these important items that seemed to define my existence.

After the de-cluttering, though, my mom could see a change in my mood. I was a happier child with more lightness and positive energy. As an adult I know that my “moodiness” throughout my life can be attributed, in part, to my mood disorder entitled “Bipolar II Disorder.” If we had known back then what I know now, we would have done a lot more than just throw out my precious things. We would have dealt with the problem in the first place. The problem being the accumulation of the stuff and the representation of my inner self. A big part of it was the fact that I did not adjust well to change and ended up not being a very well-adjusted child or adult. While I have become better at it, I work on it every day and try very hard to change the way my brain processes the changes and obstacles and are inherent in life.

The other day I went in to a used bookstore, a place where one who has clutter and is a collector of collecting things should never go. I have had some specific books that I wanted to look at and thought that I would see if the sought out titles were there. They were not, but I found other books that I wanted. I decided on two of the three, deciding that I already had too many vegan cookbooks and put that one back. One was a knitting book so that I could start my next knitting project – I have been quite successful in finishing knitting projects. The other was an ironic choice entitled, “Clear your Clutter with Feng Shui” by Karen Kingston – this one really spoke to me and I instantly felt a connection with the author in the first page that I read.

I have struggled with clutter my whole life, but never have I struggled with it as much as I have since moving into my new house last June. I bought my house and moved all of the stuff I had in my 1.5-storey house into my current house with about 75% the living space as my other one, but about double the storage space. This has proved to be extremely dangerous for me. I have succeeded in packing every single corner of my living and storage space with stuff. Since I have moved into this house, I have felt unsettled, ungrounded, and disorganized. This has done nothing to help with my struggle to manage my bipolar and it seems that every time I get one step closer to organization, two more things come into my house and my life to mess it up again.

Upon reading the Feng Shui book and being in some places lately that have had such positive energy, I have made a commitment to uncluttering my house and my life. I need this in order to keep my sanity and take back my life. Even within the first few chapters, I feel understood: “Probably, like most messies, you maintain that there is order in your chaos and, what’s more, that you need to keep things in the open to remind you of important things you have to do. But if someone actually puts you to the test and asks you where some thing is, at best you only know the general direction in which it lies and rarely its precise location.” This paragraph resonated in me and I knew that this was a project that I must embark on ASAP, ie. NOW.

I am externally motivated and often need goals, sub-goals, lists, and deadlines for a project. While I have not come up with those yet, I have committed to this project. I have taken pictures and am hoping to document this process. I know that in order for me to do something, I must do it quickly or I won’t do it. I hope in the next few days to get this project off the ground and to have it completed by the end of November. Let’s see how this pans out.

A Book Project

Usually when Treehugger sends me its daily earth-friendly titles, I skim them. Usually they kind of annoy me because they talk about things like “sustainable cars,” earth-friendly businesses, etc. These are oxymorons. In reality, there is no such thing as a sustainable car and I believe that capitalism, in general, is not earth-friendly. However, today there was a pretty interesting topic called “9 Must Read Books on Eating Well.” It was mostly just interesting to me because I was curious to know what books Treehugger would select as important for reading (it’s true that I don’t hold Treehugger in the highest regard, but it lends for good blog rants). I was pleasantly surprised to see many really good books on the list. Books like The 100-mile Diet by Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon, The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, Stuffed and Starved by Raj Patel, who was just here in Saskatoon yesterday, and Where Our Food Comes From by Gary Nabhan.

As I was reading the list, I kept thinking about how I had HEARD so many great things about all of these books, but I have not actually READ them! I have been told by a lot of my friends to read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” especially, but have resisted partially because I’m vegan (although I know he’s not necessarily anti-vegan) and because I have just been procrastinating from reading it. However, I have decided that it would be a great project to work through this list of books.

Lately, I have been on a self-help book kick around relationships and communication. In general, I like to mix my books between fiction and non-fiction. I plan to keep that going, but I think that my next phase of non-fiction will be this list of books. I wonder how long it will take me… and how it will affect what I eat. The only realm of food books that this list is missing, in my opinion, is one on eating raw food.