NaNoWriMo Muddy Middle

I’m 18 days into #NaNoWriMo2018 and just broke 40K words. Most of them are probably shitty, but it still feels like a huge accomplishment getting the words out instead of thinking about writing.

FSWTM-RachaelHerron.JPGIn the past week I’ve listened to Rachael Herron’s “Fast-Draft Your Memoir: Write Your Life Story in 48 Hours” on Audible. Rachael had great success with National Novel Writing Month and it’s the basis of this book. Listening to her break down into baby steps what needs to be done makes me believe that I can do it.

I’m a recovering perfectionist and being perfect is what has stopped me from even trying to write. NaNoWriMo is all about spewing words on the page, no matter how messy or shitty they are. Just get them out there and worry about editing later. It’s not the way I normally write nor did it feel comfortable at first, but I trusted the process and after awhile, it felt liberating.

I’ve got 12 more days until the end of November so hopefully I’ll be well over the 50K target because a lot of what I wrote will be discarded like the contents of my Dyson vacuum. I’ve ordered the paperback of Rachael’s book so I can sticky note all the pages leading me through the next steps I’ll need to take. I can see the light at the end of this shitty first draft tunnel and it’s looking less and less like an oncoming train and more like the porch light of home.

Becoming Deb Sinness

I’ve always wanted to write, and for a time I did. I wrote poetry, faithfully wrote morning pages following Julia Cameron’s suggestions in “The Artist’s Way”, and frankly spent a lot of time thinking about how to monetize it because I needed to make a living. The creative well dried up. Life goes on, family obligations, break ups, job changes, and who has time for writing.

Last year I was inspired to learn the cello by attending a high school alumni music reunion, which was a magical mix of memories, laughs, and pure joy of being in the company of other musicians who love music. I’m not going to lie, learning to play the cello is damn hard, especially to an adult who is not used to using her beginner brain. But I did it, and I even performed at the teacher’s studio recital, the only student over 18!

I also took a stained glass class and using my hands to create a beautiful cobalt piece inspired me to keep the creativity flowing this year so I flew to the Women Warriors Writing Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. Women veterans and military spouses focus on telling our military stories in classes and workshops. I really wanted to write a draft to workshop, I tried, but the well was still dry.

Seven weeks ago, I attended a Creative Reboot in Santa Fe and hearing Julia Cameron urging us to write morning pages gave me the nudge to restart after so many years. I’ve readjusted my morning schedule to do morning pages and they are a welcome start to my days.

NaNo ImageIn mid-October, I heard about the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) event that happens every year in November. Intrigued, I checked out the website and asked on social media if others had tried it. The goal of 50,000 words in a month seemed overwhelming, but I loved the Idea of writing, as Anne Lamott calls it, “a shitty first draft”. I signed up and gave myself permission to write the shittiest of all first drafts because after all, I hadn’t done it before and I have no idea what I’m doing.

Today is Day 3 of NaNoWriMo and I’m happy to say I’m off to a good start. I’ve made two outlines, have largely scrapped them both, and that’s okay because it will be interesting to see where the story, my story, takes me. Not sure where I’ll end up, but who thought when I was a frustrated 18-year-old kid in podunk North Dakota that I would end up here?

I am called to write, so I will answer the call wherever it takes me. I will shed my “looking to see what the future holds” expectations, and write for writing’s sake…to find my deeper self and explore universal truths.