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November 5, 2010

Blarghhh, I’m all cranky-puss from another discussion on why no, not everyone has the freedom to travel all over the world.  (In part, see here:

But that’s not what I was going to post about today!  No no no no no.  Too anger-making, as Uglies would say.  Today I’m going to talk about NaNoWriMo.

I haaaated the idea when I first heard about it.  Hated it SO MUCH.  It seemed to me like a way of saying “Everyone can be an author!”  Maybe that’s true, but not everyone can be a GOOD author.  My younger self was appalled–I’d been writing stories since I was nine.  Bad stories, good stories, I don’t know.  Mostly unfinished stories.  My even younger self felt writing as a major was too self-indulgent, and besides, what could anyone tell ME about writing?  Writing is something you DO because a writer is something you ARE.

Blah blah blah.

Also, I have an intense dislike of fan fiction, and a lot of NaNo participants were all about that too.  So it seemed like a grand playground for stomping all over copyright and ownership.

But it made people happy.

As I got older, and school took over the aspects of my life that weren’t already filled by my daughter and her schedule, I began to see NaNo as just this thing I could do, a way of challenging myself to get back into writing.  Maybe finish something.  The fear had grown so big, you see—if you don’t write, if you don’t finish, then maybe you were never a writer, and maybe you shouldn’t even think of yourself that way.  You definitely do stop thinking of yourself that way, the way you used to when your college roommates would sneak onto your word processor when you were at class to read the next chapter of your latest greatest story.

I feel old.  I don’t feel like I’ll ever be published, because I think I lack the discipline and the talent, and because I lost the spark a long time ago.  But maybe I can find it again.  I think that’s why a lot of people participate in NaNo.  It helps with the spark.

Writing reconnects me to who I was when I was younger, that girl who believed in her talent without question, even though she never finished anything and the thought of publication was never something that crossed her mind.  She wrote because she loved it; writing gave her a sense of joy.  I want that joy back.

But I don’t know if NaNo can give it to me.  My expectations of myself are ridiculous–I expect myself to be amazing and disciplined and professional without any training or, you know, self-discipline.  I regret not taking writing as a minor, because I don’t think it would’ve been too difficult with my schedule.  But fear stopped me.

So I’m doing NaNo again this year, and I hope to hit my goal.  The issues I’ve already had with that I’ll discuss another day, because I actually said something different here than I meant to, and I want to let it sit and stew in my head.


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