It does not take much to put me in a funk, I can tell you. Immediately after I posted my last entry, I went on a “Blog Surf” here on WordPress which enables you to keep track of other blogs you like. I was almost instantly slapped back down to earth by one writer’s opinion about NaNo and any person who uses the project. Without giving him the ping, let’s just summarize that he feels nothing but disdain for NaNo and all involved. Of course, I felt the need to add my two cents. Then, I left to do some volunteer door-knocking for one of the presidential candidates [if you read any further down my blog you may surmise which one]. I had other things on my mind and plenty on my plate that day.
For some reason, however, I awoke Sunday morning with his words echoing in my head, and my own response sounding more feeble than it really was. I could not shake it off all day. Maybe, if I had ventured outdoors to enjoy the sunshine, it would have been easier, but that’s not how I roll. Hiding under my blanket, reading bad news in the Sunday paper and staring at my pile of composition notebooks interspersed with the stack of half-read books on the nightstand while my family functioned around me, that’s my style. The good news is I had finished reading two of those books by midnight. I decided if I could not write, could not call myself a writer because I am only an amateur wanna-be, then I may as well read the works of those who can. [More on those two books to come in future post.]
Why, you may wonder, do I care what he thinks? Maybe because part of me agrees. I should not need a writing group/project like NaNo to write. In fact, I do not. Noone does. I do not even need a computer [hence the stack of notebooks and random jottings on napkins in my possession]. But, I do need motivation and discipline. Which is another point of his, though not an original one by far. In fact, in one of my recently completed books, there was a quote from Dr. Ben Jonson [circa 17th century] which essentially says the same thing: A writer needs the discipline to write anywhere at any time. So many others have given similar writing advice: “apply butt to chair and write.”
To his credit, the anti-NaNoer, wrote me a relatively congenial email which claimed his problem is only with hobbyists who use NaNo as an excuse to write [and, I suppose, to invade the space of other writers]. Those of us who actually write the other 11 months of the year are not on his shist, I guess. I almost wrote back that the only thing I have done daily, without fail [perhaps with a day or two off] for the past 4 years is change diapers. I do not have an office or unlimited writing time. I write in fits and spurts, and often do not write for long periods [see writing block tags]. Yes, of course I dream of the day I can say I am a professional writer and I write 12 hours a day non-stop. They call them dreams for a reason. At this point, I am happy if I revise a poem, complete a submission, or, hello, a blog post. Like I said, here and in my comment, I do not harbor the delusion that NaNo will bring me a contract or even a completed work. There is no secret ingredient to be found in any of the forums. In the long run, it is a personal challenge. I have to actually participate, first of all, and I am still alone at the keyboard. And I still have to change those nappies, as well as the other duties I am neglecting now. But I am not alone in the NaNo-niverse.
Fortunately, I came back today. I even checked out some of the other comments and blogs from fellow WriMos. He’s right, they are everywhere, shaking off the dustcovers, getting ready for the fun to begin next month. Talk about inspiration: Creative Procrastination [which is obviously up my soul-alley] and La Plume de mon Esprit are two I visited and added to my blogroll. One belongs to a published writer and the other to a young writer even newer than I am to the game [or career or hobby or lifestyle, whatever writing is to you]. I also found inspiration in another professional’s website who has chosen to help, inspire and teach others about NaNoWriMo, as well as writing in general. Lazette Gifford offers new NaNo participants a free advice filled e-book on her site the primary suggestion being: Have Fun. So, I am definitely not giving in because of one man’s opinion. I am not even giving up because of my own opinion, doubts or personal distractions. I am looking forward to the event more than ever, not to prove anything to anyone else, but only to myself. NaNo is not a door to publication, but it certainly is an opportunity to learn and grow and enjoy writing just for the sake of writing. I say that makes all WriMos real writers.