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

Adventures of Fall and its Time of Changing

While thinking about all of the changes in my life this fall and every fall before it, I wondered if there have been any scientific studies on this seeming phenomenon.* It makes sense to me that as our environment makes a drastic change from lush green to shades of yellow and brown that people would change as well. The birds take off for the south, insects start to disappear into the crooks and crannies of our houses, the sun doesn’t fly so high in the sky, and the days begin to get shorter. It is also, a time of harvesting the fruits of the growing season and mentally preparing for, or avoiding thinking about, winter. In addition to this, for many years of our lives we spend this time of year starting a new school year. Whether it be nature, nurture, or a bit of both, fall is a time of change.

While going through my personal break-up, it seems that loneliness likes company and whether it be subconsciously on purpose or by accident, it seems that there are many people in my life faced with this heart-wrenching life change. I like to take note of things like themes in life. This fall seems to have two themes for me in terms of changes: one being said break-ups, the other being babies.

Break-ups are a very difficult life change, as I am so incredibly aware of right now, and one often goes through the commonly believed five stages of grief, as if someone had died: disbelief, yearning/bargaining, anger, depression, and acceptance. These don’t necessarily occur in a linear or even logical order. I almost consider myself an “expert” on breaking up, but I know one thing for sure: I will get over it and so will all of the people I know going through this particular life change. Rencently, a friend of mine brought my attention to a word/movement/book/website called Quirkyalone:

Quirkyalone noun/adj. A person who enjoys being single (but is not opposed to being in a relationship) and generally prefers to be alone rather than dating for the sake of being in a couple.

A Digression:
I thought this was a fitting concept and I even took the quiz, which I scored very high on. This brings up an interesting dichotomy, though, about people being Quirkyalone or not Quirkyalone. Of course, Quirkyalone people can turn into “Quirkytogether” people, who are in a relationship. For the past few days, I have been mentally thinking about where people that I know fit and what makes someone not be Quirkyalone. Personally, I somewhat dislike and question dichotomies, even though it can make life seem so much easier and boring if things were just black and white, due to one particular Women and Gender Studies class I took in university. That being said, there must be some people in the middle that waiver between Quirkyalone and not Quirkyalone (can you tell that I just watched the Sex and the City about freaks where Carrie goes on a non-date?). Honestly, to put someone into a category of Quirkyalone or not Quirkyalone would be very judgmental of me and I am practicing the art of not judging others by what I see or know as a truth. In that case, Quirkyalone is a concept to make one feel better who is alone and perhaps feeling a bit “older” in order to justify his/her relationship status.

Back on Track:
What does this have to do with people surrounding my life having babies? Well, nothing I suppose other than the fact that it seems to be coming up a lot. I know several people who have recently given birth to precious beings and have discovered the pregnancy of just as many. I do realize that I am at an age where more and more people are having babies. So maybe that is the base of it, but I do wonder if there isn’t some sort of seasonal change impact on people starting to cuddle up on a cool, romantic fall evening. The stars seem to shine brighter in the fall than the summer. Perhaps it’s cosmic! Or extraterrestrial!

Maybe all of this is just one big coincidence, but it sure does make me wonder how everyone will settle into these changes and a long winter ahead.

* I could not find any studies on this topic, but will continue to look into it.