Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

Begin Again

“Part broken – part whole, you begin again.”
~Jeanette Winterson (from ‘Why books seem shockproof against change.’ THE TIMES: BOOKS)

It’s that time of year again–the time when many writers hold themselves to a self-imposed commitment to write every day for the 30 days of November. Some call it NaNoWriMo. Bloggers– with no novel in mind– call it NaBloPoMo. Some think it is motivating, and some think it is pure hell, losing themselves under the weight of generating something new every day of the month.
I’ve jumped into this pool more than once, and I’ve been on both sides of the argument. There have been years that I was thrilled to be pushed to write daily. By nature, I am a goal-setter so I (usually) welcome that extra push to strive harder and meet the challenge laid out before me. However, that same drive can also become my fiercest enemy when not kept in check.

I had to check and double-check the date of my last entry on this blog. It has been almost 2 years since I’ve written on here. 2 years! For almost 2 years, this site has sat, gathering dust and my guilt. Since I stopped early, I’m guessing my last round of NaBloPoMo was more daunting and crushing than motivating. I don’t really remember what was going on in my life at that point. I do remember it felt liberating to give myself permission to walk away from a commitment, especially in the middle of it. On the other hand, I know this blog also became that over-stuffed closet in my mind, the one that holds the junk that needs to be purged but is, instead, ignored. Lights turned off. Fingers in the ears. Singing loudly. I did my best to ignore it, but I could still hear and feel the echoes of this blog. Especially when I wrote elsewhere.
I suppose I haven’t been entirely quiet for 2 years because I have been writing and sharing short vignettes on Instagram. (Did you know I’m on Instagram? https://www.instagram.com/reclaimingmary/) More often than not, my posts are connected to a moment captured in photo during my day, be it from my morning walk, life with the Guide Dogs for the Blind puppies I’ve continued raising, or just a random, unremarkable moment in my day that prompts me to dig deeper.
With a quick look back over the last two years, I’ve discovered the obvious;  I could never really be quiet. Whether on this blog, a social media platform, a long letter to a friend, or in my journal, I have been writing. In fact, and without a doubt, I’ll forever be writing. Words to paper are the air to my lungs. Thoughts come in, swirl about, filling me, and then pour out when there is no room left to draw in anymore.
Lately, I’ve been feeling the need to take let out a very large breath. That voice that pushes me to write has been screaming in my head. I’ve opened and closed this blog at least half a dozen times in as many days.  “Write!” I hear it calling. Then, I look at this site and question where to even begin. Still, I hear it, that pleading moan that I feel deep in my bones. “Write!”

I dabbled with the idea of writing here again but made no commitment to myself or anyone else. I wasn’t ready to commit.  “Write!” The voice grew louder in my head as my list of excuses grew longer. And, just when I was ready to turn my back on this blog once again, I saw a friend’s Facebook post announcing she was jumping into the NaNoWriMo pool once again.

“I’m in, too!” I announced. I didn’t think, I jumped, as I’ve been known to do more than once. But was I? After all, there is no one watching to make sure I write here. I could just as easily have said, “Sure, I’m in” before closing my laptop and flipping on the television. Instead, I opened this blog. Date of last entry: Nov. 12, 2017. Then, I wondered what was happening two years ago when I stopped writing.

I pulled up my old photos from Nov. 13, 2017, the day after I stopped writing here. Other than having just started raising another Guide Dogs for the Blind puppy, I saw nothing that indicated life had gone through a major shift. However, I apparently had sipped a cup of tea that reminded me “This life is a gift.” I agreed then, and I agree now.  Since I snapped a picture of it, odds are good I wrote about it someplace. Somethings in life haven’t changed.
I guess stopped writing here two years ago because it was time to stop. Perhaps I simply needed a break. Perhaps, I simply needed the time to let things swirl about in my head a bit longer. But, just as my dear writing friend, Niki, declared today, it is time to begin again.

I don’t know if I will write every day this month. I think I will try just to, well, you know, dust off the keyboards and my writing chops, but with a busy month ahead, I will write for the primary purpose I always do; to discover and to dig deep.  I hope you’ll stick with me because, my friends, I’m in!

Prepare to be bombed.

IMG_20131005_152730_674We’ve all heard of “photobombing”; you set up the perfect shot and someone unexpectedly appears in the picture, seemingly out of nowhere, like a bomb. When stars or squirrels are involved, the photos often go viral. Or when it’s my husband “photobombing” our daughter and her friends during Parents’ Weekend, it merely provides laughter within the walls of a home. (He’s the bunny with the beard.)

Today marks the launch of the well-known (among writers) challenge, NaNoWriMo. It also marks the launch of the lesser-but- still-well-known (among bloggers and writers) challenge, NaBloPoMo. In both challenges, writers are brought to the mat to ferret out their perseverance by writing a novel in a month or, as a blogger, a post everyday during the month of November.

It is not for the faint of heart.  I know. I took the bait, I mean challenge, two years ago. There may be tears involved. There will be sweat. Some days, there will be regret. And, there may even be some cursing directed at the blogger that threw the gauntlet down in your path. (You know who you are, Lois at Midlife at the Oasis. Seriously, you’ll want to know who she is, too. Follow the link; she’s fabulous and be sure to check out her about me page!) Above all though, there will be a sense of accomplishment, perhaps a nice glass of red, and a friend or two to toast with at the finish line.

Count me in again this year. Why not? It gives me a reason to push myself once again. Not every day will be a long narrative. There will be days I post only a picture, with or without a quote. Or a quote, with or without a picture. Some days, I may simply post a list about __________(something). There will likely be posts related to the milestone birthday I’ll celebrate this month and my admission into the 5-0 club.  The only thing I am sure of is this: there will be 30 of them. 30 days. 30 posts. (Gulp.)

So, if you are a subscriber/follower, you’ve been warned; “blog-bombing” begins today. I will be showing up in your inbox every day for the next 30 days.  And, if you’re not yet a subscriber, please join me in the journey. (See the easy “Follow” button on the right?) Don’t you want to find out if I make it to the finish line?

Cheers to new months, new challenges, and new beginnings! What are you celebrating today, this week, or this month?