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NaNoWriMo is over. I ended just under 20k, but a solid understanding of what I need to do next and WHY did I wait so long to get scrivner? Locally, our ML’s asked for volunteer pep talks, which I thought was a neat way to get the group connected. Here is mine:

The world doesn’t need my novel. Let me say that again: the world doesn’t need my novel. I have no delusions of grandeur. I won’t be writing the next Harry Potter (or insert whatever book/series in your genre that fits). I don’t think I’ll be writing a game-changing novel.

So why do NaNoWriMo at all? Good question, particularly since I’ve yet to “win”, heck I have yet to finish any of the writing ideas I’ve started.

It’s simple really. I need my novel. I need the outlet. I need the story. I need the characters I live with to come out onto the page so I can re-read about them whenever I want. I need the story that I wish someone else would write. I am my primary audience. I need this.

Doing NaNo gives me a chance to refocus. There are so many authors, self or traditional published, who dismiss the event all together. If we really wanted to write we’d do it all the time. We’re not trying hard enough to make time. No novel is ever truly complete in a month. (To that last one I say, no duh. This month is about writing, not fixing and editing.) But to the other comments? I think the statements are unfair. Life gets in the way sometimes. We move, we have jobs and bills, and families. We experience creative drain. Illness. Stress. Or sometimes we just can’t write. Personally I had a few life events that took significant time and energy away from every other aspect of my life. My marriage was falling apart, I was unemployed and struggling with severe depression and a loss of a family member. It was too much all at once. I couldn’t make myself write, read, heck, I could hardly form sentences some days. The truth is, sometimes we just can’t write and hearing we aren’t trying hard enough is unhelpful. Take the break and come back later. And if you’re like me, re-read your old writings for a good laugh.

Doing NaNo allows me to try. Even better, I can do it knowing that there’s a whole world of people also trying. It’s less lonely. There’s a nice satisfaction to adding to my word count and our region’s word count. I can refocus my ideas, have a place to update my stats, complain, and get inspired with other people doing the same thing. I get a touch of healthy, encouraging pressure by participating. I’m reminded that I need this. I can practice leaving all the things that have previously held me from writing.

The world doesn’t need my novel.

But I do.

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The first time I wrote about having it all I wanted to add a voice I felt was missing–the married, childless (child-free, whatever phrase is hip now, I can’t keep up), woman. I felt like every bit of this discussion was about women who were career driven and had children. I don’t fall into these categories. I had written a post for International Women’s Day, (I’ve taken it down), and I realized in re-reading it that I was really just trying to explain away some painful situations I was living through, trying to justify the “alls” I had chased down. In reality, I don’t find the phrase “all” helpful. I don’t think it furthers our conversation in what a good life means, or that it helps us becoming better humans, lovers, communicators, etc.

What exactly does “having it all” mean? I’m not entirely sure. I usually hear the phrase in conjunction with kids and career, but I don’t feel like that is a wide enough conversation for all women (or all people) to participate in. And what about men? Do men not have these concerns?  My husband, when faced with the question, said “I really don’t understand what you are asking me. I don’t think it’s a question for men. If it’s seriously a question, it ought to be a question not based on gender. Women are expected to figure out the kid thing, it’s a lurking premise when women ask the question of each other.” What we should be asking, he argues, is about having a good life. I happen to agree.

Initially I had no life plans or goals. The few dreams I had I pushed aside for more “realistic” pursuits. I went to college, selected a major only because I thought it was interesting, got married at 21, graduated, and moved with no plan or jobs lined up. (Life lesson #1: not always wise to move without income lined up.) I changed jobs a few times before I figured that getting a master’s degree in my field might equal more income. And I knew I wanted to move to a different city. Now I had what I thought was an “all” goal: move, buy a house (cheaper than renting for where we were), do the grad school thing, get some better job. No real plan as to what that job would be. We did all of that and I took the first solid offer I had after grad school: a teaching gig at a small private college. It was my safest option at the time. (more…)

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The first post…

I’m desperately in need of content. Please stay tuned while I look for it. Thanks.

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