NaNoWriMo’s Successful Dismal Attempt

NaNoWriMo

The National Novel Writing Month known as NaNoWriMo is quickly coming to an end.  For some this was the year of your novel.  You finished your life’s dream.  Congratulations!

However, for others this could be the end of yet another failed attempt to do something.  Perhaps this is your first year, or this was a multiple attempt year to beat the 50,000 word deadline by the end of November.  Regardless of how many attempts, the feeling of defeat can paralyzing.  Unless you look at it as a sign that you are uniquely special.  After all, how many other people do you know are crazy enough to publically say they will write a novel in a month?  Not many I bet, and that makes you pretty special.

This was my first attempt at NaNoWriMo, and I failed successfully well.  I could create the excuse that there was a lot going on this month.  Actually there really was too much going on this month.  My kids had activities, the husband was traveling a lot and when he was home there was this sense of urgency to spend time with him before he left for work again, oh and there were all those social media outlets I needed to keep up with especially the groups I help manage, and let’s not forget Thanksgiving preparations.  Plus I can’t overlook do blah, blah, blah.

Isn’t there a 12 step goal in which we are supposed to admit that we are powerless over something?  Well sometimes I feel pretty powerless over my own time.  I have a feeling there are a lot of mothers and fathers who feel pretty powerless when it comes to making time for self.  Actually, I know of several unmarried people and young people who feel that same tug of war between self-ambition and family, work, or community responsibilities.

However, NaNoWriMo taught me something about myself.  I learned some of these tips in NaNo workshops and some from the participation in the yearly event.

1)      I really do have an hour a day to do something for myself, such as write.

2)      The world will not fall apart if I give myself time to do what I love.

3)      The family, and I’m sure others, think I am a more pleasant person to be around when I am happy, and honestly I’m happy when I feel a sense of self-achievement.

4)      It is okay to fail while writing.  That is why the editing process exists.

5)      Do not edit while writing the first draft.  Especially do not edit during NaNoWriMo!

6)      Join a writer’s group for support and sanity.  It’s just nice to not feel alone.

7)      Read, observe, and write as often as possible.

Even though I did not meet the NaNoWriMo goal I still feel like I succeeded.  I learned something about myself.  There have been new friends met and new writing tools gathered for future writing events.  Plus, I’ve connected with authors, Indie and traditionally published.  Oh and I’ve learned one other thing:

8)      There will always be another NaNoWriMo next year.

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Coming up from behind

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As a parent sometimes our kids pleasantly surprise us.  Sometimes as parents we are even reminded to give our kids more credit. Tonight was one of those nights for me. Actually tonight I was starkly reminded that my teens are not clueless, life sucking creatures that never listen & always have to learn everything the hard way.

Okay, okay I’ve never really thought they were life sucking creatures, but I needed a good description to go with the picture. However, as any parent of a teen knows the other adjectives are actually fairly normal thoughts associated with raising a young adult, but it’s the whole raging hormone thing that is usually the culprit.

Tonight hormones can not be blamed for anything negative. That’s because they may have contributed to something positive.  They may have helped create  a competitive edge.

Two of my teens are attending a debate class. I’ve actually been a little concerned about their attention to detail level. Partially because many of the other parents know exactly what is going on at all times.  Plus partially because I know my teens.  Of course the reason their parents know everything is because they attend every single meeting with their children.   I on the other hand sit in my vehicle and quietly wait.  There’s three reasons for my seemingly uninterested attitude.  Number 1, I have my own homework to complete within the scope of my graduate studies.  Number 2, I don’t want my teens to think they have to have a parent with them at all times.  One of these days they will no loner be teens and I don’t want to be viewed as a pacifier.  Number 3 is kind of related to number 2, I simply want my teens to learn how to take notes and relay information to me about their needs.  If they do not responsibly and accurately take notes then they must suffer the consequences.  One of those consequences is embarrassment, another consequence could be a poor grade.  Both lessons teach a form of self responsibility that only a life lesson can teach, and believe me when I say that all of my teens have had to learn these lessons.

Thankfully tonight my teens did not learn any hard lessons.  Instead they excelled.  They attended their first debate tournament undefeated.  Although they did not receive enough points to win, I am still very proud of this first effort.  I was also impressed with how quickly they improved with each debate.  Oh, did I forget to mention that I did attend the tournament? Yeah, I will not attend their lessons, but I will always try to make it to their performances.  And what a performance!  In one debate, of this very traditional European parliamentary procedure, they were the government proposing to increase the use of new technology.  You know I would have thought iPads and computers would come into play, but they did not.  Instead this debate was boxed within a time period of revolutionary France and centered around medical technology.  It was clever and cheap at the same time.  The other team was at a total  loss for how to oppose such a proposal.

I have a feeling my history buff of a son who independently studies all things ancient French was probably responsible for proposing this topic.  Wow!  My teens have learned something and it’s not just entirely education related either.  They’ve learned how to take control and make a situation their own.  I’m impressed.