November is here, which means that both NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo have begun. For those of you unfamiliar with those acronyms, the first stands for National Novel Writing Month, and the second stands for National Blog Posting Month. Thousands upon thousands of people are out there going for it: writing a 50,000 word novel in one month, while thousands of bloggers have sworn to post once-a-day every day for thirty days.
I took part in NaNoWriMo about ten years ago, in my own unofficial way. The contract I made was with myself — I had begun a novel in September and I was about one third in and having a wonderful time. I thought — okay, I’ll really dive in and go for broke, see if I can finish it. I didn’t quite get to the end, but I came close: I actually crossed the finish line two months later, in January. The fact that a big chunk of the manuscript had been written during the month of November made me feel that “going for it” in NaNoWriMo fashion had been thoroughly worthwhile.
This year, during the last week of October, I actually considered officially joining other novelists and bloggers in the one-month writing and posting marathon. Write a new novel. Blog every day. But I woke up on Halloween and realized the scariest thing I could do to myself was sign up for that kind of pressure. These last few months have been given to two big projects: launching my website and releasing my book Sex and Soul.
The push to complete both those projects meant stress and pressure — plenty of both. While keeping at the website and the book, the usual demands life makes on all of us went on unabated, and — just to keep me on my toes –a few unexpected events were thrown in for good measure, events that required more of my time be given to family and friends. November is also my birthday month, and yesterday morning it seemed clear to me that the greatest gift I could give myself this year was to take the pressure off and de-stress as much as possible. The book is now a reality, so is the website. The next stage begins: marketing the book and maintaining the website. But I’ve gone into slow and steady mode — do the work, enjoy it, and ease up on deadlines. I’ve given myself permission to get back to writing and the activity that nearly always seems to open up new territory in my writing life — walking.
In 2014, my unofficial commitment to NaNoWriMo, and myself, is the revision of that novel I finished ten years ago. It’s been sitting on a shelf while my beloved DJC and I moved to another state, settled a new home, and I began, revised, and finished a memoir (the afore-mentioned Sex and Soul). The time has come to revise, rewrite, and make my way to the true finish of the novel.
As for blogging every day, that won’t happen. And when I do blog, it may take the form of haiku invented here in the USA, Allen Ginsberg’s American Sentence—a seventeen-syllable sentence:
To blog or not to blog, that is the question; this post is the answer.