Sunday, October 14, 2012

I Might Be Insane, But . . .

Last November I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWiMo) for first time ever. Every night for a whole month I rushed home from work and sat hunched over my computer keyboard for hours, tapping away, striving to write a complete novel in just thirty days. I went into it not knowing if I could do it, but wanting desperately to prove to myself that I could. I had a lot of reasons for not just wanting, but needing, to do NaNoWriMo last year and I am very pleased to say that I achieved my objective. I scraped by with just over 50,000 words on the very last night. It was an amazing feeling.

Fast forward a year and just about everything in my life has changed more than I ever imagined it could. Today, only two weeks away from the start of NaNoWriMo 2012, I am sitting here at my kitchen table, enjoying my coffee and what passes for peace and quiet around here these days. I can hear the toddler jumping up and down in his crib, shrieking and giggling, and two little girls arguing over a toy. The table in front of me is covered with unopened mail, a snarled up tangle of pipe cleaners and other crafty stuff mixed in with the dregs of a goodie bag from yesterday's birthday party. In other words, I am surrounded by chaos, noise and mess. I would have to be certifiably insane to think I could do NaNoWriMo this year.

I'm doing it anyway.

I learned a lot from NaNoWriMo 2011. Aside from learning that I do indeed have it in me to write a novel, I also learned that planning and writing a novel by the seat of my pants was harrowing in the extreme. The endlessly worrying over what should come next in the plot took some of the fun out of the writing itself, so this year I'm going to plan my plot in advance and write from an outline. I will need to because I won't have the luxury of time that I had last year. This year when time to write appears I will need to get right down to business, not waste precious minutes mulling over plot twists.

Once I made the decision to go ahead I started to get really excited. While I do enjoy having the kids here, I have nevertheless been grappling with the feeling that who I am and my own needs and interests are just dissolving in the face of the constant care and attention that these kids need. Sometimes it really does feel like slowly drowning in quicksand. I know that isn't the image of motherhood portrayed by Hallmark, but I'm sure that any mom reading this will know exactly what I'm talking about. NaNoWriMo is a lifeline this year, a way to hold onto something about myself that is too important to just let sink into the ooze of mommyhood.

Another reason to look forward to NaNoWriMo this year is because it will be a family affair. My nephew, Zach, Princess Jasmine and my mom will all be doing it, too. My mom has been doing Nano for years and this past summer she and Zach collaborated on a book of short stories that they published on Amazon. Princess Jasmine is super-excited and we have been working together on planning our novels. She is planning to write about a little girl who woke up one day to find her whole family and all her friends were gone. Seems like NaNoWriMo might be a lifeline for her, too, a way to get some of her bottled up feelings out on paper and conquer them with a happy ending of her own choosing.

Crazy or not, NaNoWriMo 2012, here I come!


  1. I love how you described the way you feel about needing to do Nanowrimo. I completely understand and I couldn't have put it better myself. I too am participating in Nanowrimo, and I'm determined to succeed, although I suspect I won't. I'm giving it my best shot. I'll be following your progress. All the best, I hope you succeed, and have fun in the process!

    1. Thanks Lacey. I think we can both make it. It will be chaos this year, but I'm looking forward to it anyway. :)

  2. It's so great to hear your Nano story! I know exactly how you feel about motherhood. Sometimes I need a break from it, and I know sometimes my own child needs a break from me after spending five or six days a week together the entire day. It's just so hard to get anything done, much less write. While I don't think I'll participate officially this year, I definitely want to set some kind of personal writing goal during Nano. I really need to form a daily writing habit again. That was my favorite part of participating: creating that self-discipline. Good luck!

    1. Hi Yesenia, thanks for commenting. :) I agree, the discipline that I had after Nano was amazing! I'm not sure it where it went over the past year, but thanks to Nano this year I'm motivated to find it again and not let go of it this time.