Blogging Every Day For a Year

Yes, friends, this is what I signed up for. My daughter said, “Mom, that’s great but this is so much more than your 30 days of NaNoWriMo!!!!”  She is so right but I feel an unfamiliar dedication to this project.

NaNoWriMo is an annual event in which writers from all over the world set out to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. It takes place every November and every year I join. I do not always finish. Honestly, I do not always get halfway. So what makes me think I will blog every day for 365 days?

img_6708First of all, my creative mind often gets sidetracked from everyday stresses and obligations. Writing a blog allows me to write about those events and clear them out of my way. Secondly, NaNoWriMo is very volume and deadline driven. Having that kind of pressure does not always work for me.

I also like to write about little miracles and little beautiful occurrences throughout the day. Like today, for example, I saw the most beautiful butterfly. It was blue and its wings glistened in the sunlight. I had just watered the plants and the butterfly swooped down to the little puddle of water I created on the sidewalk. It was just a tiny moment in my day but it has stayed with me all day.

Since I decided to do this project with my friend, Maitri, I seem to have a motivation I have been lacking. I know I need to be careful not to set too many expectations for myself, but I am anxious to work on things I have set aside for far too long. I think I have needed the push.

I have decided to create yet another WordPress blog for this 365 day adventure. I have a website I considered putting it on, but it is under construction and I did not want to bog down my blog with the design work I need to finish. I also decided not to blog here because this blog to me has a different purpose and so much family history. It just means something different to me.

So, if you care to follow along on this 365 day journey, I would welcome the company and the encouragement. I’ll be blogging on a new WordPress blog: From Cave Walls. I’ll be there for the next year starting September 24th!

Hope to see you there! Happy Blogging!







NaNoWriMo and a Cast of Characters

IMG951291November 1st is fast approaching. That crazy time every year when I try to architect 50,000 words toward writing a novel. I can honestly say that I am 100% successful in starting the process. I can also say the completion of my goal is a bit more on the dismal side. I could moan and groan about that, but the truth is, I’m okay with the results. As I look over the challenges our family has faced over the last 10 years, I am amazed any of us are still able to speak in complete sentences.

My focus today is a little preparation before the writing starts. I don’t do character development, nor do I create plot lines. I fly by the seat of my pants. That works for me. The characters live fully within my head and I take them everywhere I go. They have coffee with me, sometimes they take my side in arguments and sometimes they laugh at me in my most clumsy moments. That’s how I know they are real and relatable.

I will say I need to get into the mindset of writing. I don’t use a lot of flourish, but I call on memories to remind me of the feeling of a moment. It’s hard to explain so I decided today I would write a little about some of those memories and get the creative juices flowing.

I have a memory that has been in my mind for weeks now of my grandmother. She was a strong woman and when I close my eyes, I see her vividly. I remember long ago I was on a plane and I stared constantly at the woman sitting on the aisle one row in front of me. She looked just like Granny, just a little younger. I found myself wanting to talk to her, to tap her on the shoulder, to have a moment with her. She was quiet and reserved, but her face, her stature, her smile. It was crippling.

My memory:

She sat in a rocking chair crafted by my grandfather, but it wasn’t rocking. It was pulled forward, rockers mid-air, balanced by her bare feet in front of the old heating register by the window. Wisps of gray hair escaped the bun and framed her face. Her glasses magnified the intensity in her eyes. I watched her grimace and blink as she read which made me realize some sort of conflict must be at hand. I had seen the same trait in my own mother so many times as she immersed herself in stories that kept the world at bay. These were the women who worked hard to make a small space in this world for me and for my life to come. I felt a great sense of admiration balanced with a healthy dose of caution because in some ways I slightly feared the woman I loved so much. I guess it was strength she exhibited for I had never seen her cry. She came close once when she told she had been accused of killing her own mother by controlling the dosage of morphine required to ease her pain. We never spoke of it again, but as I looked at her now I knew I saw her differently than most people. And for that, I was glad.

My writing calls upon those strong tactile memories. The small details that invoke a mood or a smell or a memory. Close your eyes. See someone. Now bring them into focus. All of your experiences with that person create what you see – often years of experiences that craft a very simple, fleeting moment.

In 4 days I will sit at a keyboard and attempt to write. I do not know what story will have formed in my mind by then, but I will sit and write and create something magical. Even if the only person who ever reads it is me.

For all my fellow writers – good luck. Drink lots of coffee and live fully with your characters. They will talk to you and may even try to distract your muse. Play along and remember, they aren’t in control – you are.

See you on the flip side.