Monday, October 18, 2010

Irresponsible or therapeutic?

I am totally copying Sarah and have signed up for NaNoWriMo. That means next month, I am going to write a novel just for the hell of it.

Why yes, yes I do have other things to do.

Why yes, yes I do have other things to write.

But yes, yes I am going to do it anyway.

I don't know if I told you guys this, but I kind of lost my shit for awhile right after I defended my dissertation and got my PhD.

Firs there was the total meltdown about toxic chemicals in my beauty products. Then I thought I smelled smoke all the time and convinced myself I had a brain tumor. There was a particularly bad elevator ride where I got off on nine and made us all walk down some rickety hotel stairs with our stroller and made Ben stay at least a flight ahead of us so he could check and make sure the door to the stairwell opened on each floor, so we could have an escape route.

I saw a really nice therapist and worked through some shit, namely that my anxiety stems from my work. I am scared to write, which explains why I fill my days not writing and feeling really anxious about it. It's a cycle. I have tried yoga and massage and other relaxation techniques, but at some point, I just need to freaking write something.

Enter National Novel Writing Month. I am going to spend November writing fiction everyday-- at least 50,000 words by the end of the month. Not because I think I can write a good novel in 30 days (and how much do real writers hate all the effing jackasses like me who pound out 30 days of crap and call it a novel?) but because I want to remember why I love to write-- the process, the craft, etc. My advisor always told me that what made me a successful grad student was my ability to write total shit, and I have lost that ability. I used to sit down at the computer each day and write-- not because the muse was with me, but because it was my job.

Now I stare at a screen and feel stupid.

Then I eat something.

So, NaNoWriMo? Anyone with me?


  1. Since I am not a fiction writer, no novel writing for me. But, I may try my hand at NaBloPoMo again this year...

  2. No more commitments for me! But I admire you and Sarah for doing this!

  3. I shall be joining you! I've actually been looking forward to it.

  4. I think this is awesome. And I can totally relate to your writing anxieties. I SO want to sign up for this but at the moment I think teaching four classes and gestating a baby is all I can handle for the month of November. I'm definitely going to keep it in mind though. Maybe that's what I'll do with the month I have between the semester ending and the baby's due date... Also, a book I used for academic writing that was SO helpful is Wendy Belcher's _Writing Your Journal Article In 12 Weeks_. It's a totally step by step back to basics approach that just insists you work on your article 15-30 minutes a day. I followed it to the letter with a friend and we both got academic publications in the end! I found that kind of simple (sometimes obvious) guidance helped me overcome my blocks about writing and just sit down and do it.

  5. Well, for the record, I really enjoyed reading your Friday writings. I thought they were all good! I, too. would love to write a novel... but for me it is a pipe dream.

  6. You think it would count if I wrote an epic poem? My fiction stinks like a bachelor's bathroom.

    Then again maybe I ought to get serious about the blogging again. I'm just in a place where, when I'm done working, the last thing I want to do with my (cough) free time is sit in front of a computer. Maybe I could sacrifice a couple of legal pads. You know. Old school. I'm going to eat something now too. LOL

  7. Good for you :) Will be cheering you on!
    (next year... I swear I'm going to do it next year...)

  8. You go! I think I shall save up my writing in case I will be getting a paycheck to blather on and on about nothing. But I can't wait to see what all of you do!

  9. oh, I think I'm getting talked into trying it by you and Sarah both giving it a go. I really want to do it, I'm just not sure I even have a premise to write crap about. but surely I don't want to wait all the way until NEXT year to try, and it's not s fun if you just do it some random month by yourself. We'll see.

  10. I am psyched to write "total shit" with you! LOL For what it's worth, your Friday creative writing was AMAZING. I can't wait to see what November brings!

    (and "real" writers may not like our NaNoWriMos, but a friend of mine participated last year & her novel will be published this winter, so.....)