Writing about writing

Posts tagged ‘zombies’

Epiphany

Lovely_Bones_coverI have been wondering why in the world I have been having so much trouble writing my zombie story this NaNoWriMo when it has been something I have been thinking about for more than a year.  Plus I honestly do think that there could be a decent story there.   So what has been my problem?

I have come to the conclusion that I am having so much trouble because I haven’t finished my memoir that I have been working on.  I made a goal, a commitment if you will, to finish it by the end of 2014 and putting it off to work on my zombie story is only giving me Writer’s Block as far as my zombie story is concerned.

It reminds me of when I first read THE LOVELY BONES by Alice Sebold.  I always do a little background research when I begin a book by an author I have never read before.   One thing I read doing that research on Alice was that while she was writing THE LOVELY BONES, she found that her own voice kept creeping in and attempting to speak for Suzie, the main character.   While Suzie’s story differs in many ways from Alice’s, because of the similarity of there being a rape in both stories (yes, Alice was raped while in college), she was having a difficult time telling Suzie’s story instead of her own.   So Alice set aside Suzie’s story while she went back and wrote her amazing memoir,  LUCKY.  Once she finished her own story,  she was able to get book_lucky_bonesback to Suzie’s and let Suzie tell it in her own voice.

In other words,  like Alice,  I am having to get my own story out of my system before I can concentrate on my new story.   There have been times when I have been able to work on more than one writing project at a time with little to no trouble.   But this time,  for various reasons,  I simply cannot move forward until I finish my memoir.

Rather than continuing to fight it, I am going to go ahead and go back to my memoir for now.   When I am able,  I will get back to my zombie story.   I know it will be better for it.

Why I am choosing to do NaNo again this year

unnamed

So I’ve decided that I’m going to do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month—writing 50K words in 30 days) again this year.  I’ve been involved with NaNo one way or another since about 2004.  I have not won (successfully written 50K words in 30 days) every year, but I have won about five times.  Very few people will ever read the full manuscripts for any of the years I attempted NaNo, whether it be the years I won or otherwise.  They simply are not audience-worthy.

They were fun to write and I did share parts of them with others, but as a whole entity, the manuscripts will stay “hidden” on my laptop.

I have not yet once revised a single manuscript over the years, not even for the novels I really enjoyed writing and feel could possibly one day be publishing-worthy.  My serial-killing-teacher novel from 2012 was more fun to write than I can possibly describe—it’s about a teacher (based loosely on me) who kills (with arsenic, mostly) and buries her students under her desk in her office.

NaNo is a lot of fun for me regardless of whether I have as much fun writing the novel as I did in 2012 simply because I LOVE to write.  When I have something to say, 2k words a day is nothing.

The hardest part about NaNo—beyond Revision and/or preparation for publication—is finding the TIME to do it.  While I try to write every day in my journal, when I am really very busy, my journal, sadly, is the thing that suffers.  I might still write in my journal, but my word count will more than likely be far from my daily quota (750 words).  I just have a LOT going on:

  1. I am a Mom to a 13-year old in 8th grade—Middle School (I don’t think I need to explain!)
  2. I am a wife to a Pastor (21 years!)
  3. I teach English full time at a community college—that’s 6 classes (average) per semester with 125 students (average) per semester—and I’ve had a 7th added that begins in the middle of October—you can do the math when every class writes a 2-3 page essay and I have to grade them. I have two online classes as well as two hybrid classes, both of which bring with them their own challenges.  Plus, I am teaching a class that I have never taught before and even if I had, the State of NC has demanded drastic changes to both our Freshman Composition classes which means a lot of new preps for me.
  4. I am on the board for NC CEI (North Carolina Conference of English Instructors) and we have a conference the last weekend of October (just prior to the start of NaNo). I am presenting.
  5. I am now the Club Advisor for the brand new Dr. Who Club at my community college and we’re planning on meeting every two weeks this semester!
  6. Because I’ve had a lot of health problems, I have various doctors’ appointments every few weeks.

And I hope it goes without saying that there are also all the regular day-to-day activities that must be taken care of as well as attempting at least somewhat of a social life in order to function at any level of intelligibility!

I’ve had many people ask me how I have time to read, let alone half of the other things that I have to do—want to do—need to do.

My answer?

We tend to do whatever it is that we REALLY want to do.

When I don’t REALLY want to do something, I don’t do it—whether that be doing the dishes, grading papers, or just going to imagesschool.  (We all need a “Mental Health Day” every once in a while!)

But when I REALLY do want to do something, I find a way to do it.  I find the TIME to do it.  If my sleep suffers, so be it.  I make it up during my afternoon catnap or with a large soft drink or coffee!

NaNo has not made me a successful, published writer—yet, but I thoroughly enjoy participating in the challenge to write 50K words in one month.  I have yet to do Camp NaNo; once a year is all I can afford at this time.  But I keep signing up for it!  I have no idea if I am going to be able to win NaNo this year or even if I’ll make it to the 50K words, but I am going to give it the old college-try and hope for the best.

I have an idea for a story that I’ve been playing around with almost a year.  I have no idea if it’s going to work or not, but I’m excited to give it a try.  It’s about Christian Zombies.  I do not have a title yet nor do I even have a plot beyond an idea, so this year’s NaNo ought to be one of the most interesting yet!!!

In my heart, in spite of how very busy I am, I feel that this is MY year not only to win, but also to write something that will be worthy of revising and eventually publishing!  How will I know if I don’t at least give it a shot?

Here’s to NaNaWriMo!!!!!

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: