Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Response: Do You NaNo?

Image found here.
I haven’t done NaNoWriMo for a few years now for a variety of reasons.  Although I have been able to produce rough drafts of finished manuscripts, Some of them I even revised and edited.  Three novel manuscripts at least and a collection of short stories, some better than others. 
But NaNoWriMo is just one of many challenges and the Poem-A-Day challenge on Robert Lee Brewer’s page and that, too, has inspired many poems, some gathered into chapbooks, collected thematically.  There is a wonderful sense of community created while doing these challenges.  Some have local write-ins that even allow people to meet face-to-face.  Writers meet other writers, connect over a mutual experience. 

This is, perhaps, the greatest strength in these challenges.  The “Why are you doing this challenge” question breaks the ice of introduction and it’s not unusual that likeminded people find their way to one another and offer encouragement and support.  Writing can be such an isolating experience and NaNoWriMo does a lot to allow for this.  Certainly, it gets the most attention although there are a plethora of writing challenges—some lasting an entire year while others are as short as 24 hours.
Every year I consider whether or not I will give it another try.  This year, I didn’t give it a second thought.  I had no desire or interest in writing anything for any of the challenges this month.  But thinking about challenges, I have been thinking about creating some for myself, ones that are more in keeping with my goals and desires for 2013.  Of course, the first thing I need to do is define my goals and desires.  

Inevitably, just as I would do every time I took the NaNoWriMo challenge, I have too many possibilities.  I want to read all of the books I own that I haven’t read and every year I pull 15 to be read by the end of the year.  Only, this year, I didn’t read many (any?) because studying took more of my attention than anything else.  Plus, the library has so many wonderful distractions that I forget my intention before I’ve even really begun.

Coming upon such a large collection of creativity, drawing, and writing books really makes me want to just work through them all but I really don’t know that I want to do it alone.  So maybe next year will find me participating in some of these online challenges.  Who knows?  But first, between then and now, I need to really look at the ideas I have for myself and what I would like to see happen in my life.
That’s one piece of why I love this time of year because it invites us to slow down, to think about where we’ve been and where we’d like to be, and, with the certification behind me as of 15 December, I can do so much even if I can’t figure out the one thing I want to do most.   Know why.  I know what is at the core, the foundation, of my goals. 

Knowing this will help and, in a few weeks, I’ll have my own answers. 

What about you?  Do you NaNo or participate in another challenge?  Do you look at this time of year as an invitation to turn inward and sink more deeply into your own life?

This was written in response to this article.

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