I have officially won NaNoWriMo. Wooo Hooo! I’m so happy I made it, and with quite a bit to spare. 😀
Now it’s time to take a short break, a full day, from writing, and then I’ll get right back to it. 😀
Growing up I had one of those mom’s who hovered. She hovered over me when I was washing the dishes, cooking, cleaning, doing homework, etc., and without her ever uttering a word I felt criticized. I splashed too much water when I was washing dishes, I needed to turn the heat down–cooking it too fast, I missed a spot, I spelled something wrong or added or subtracted or multiplied or divided wrong…Some of that is normal parenting, some of it was my mother’s need to do things her way and to have everyone else do it her way because that was the only right way/correct way. (She’s not as bad now, age has mellowed my mother… )
With so much hovering, and backseat cooking, cleaning, etc I ended up feeling like I couldn’t do anything right, that I wasn’t good enough, and that you had to do things a certain way or it wasn’t the right way. As a parent we try to teach our kids right and wrong, how to do things, and even more importantly we are supposed to teach them to find their way in the world and learn how to be a responsible, independent, caring, moral, and successful adult. I figure my mom got most of those right with me, but what she also did was raise someone who was taught that perfectionism, even if it wasn’t called that, is the only way you get things done right, at least in a manner of speaking.
Unfortunately or fortunately–depending on how you look at it, now that I’m older, and my kids are grown, I find myself sounding more and more like my mother, most of the time it’s just in my head, but I often find myself saying, “Don’t splash so much water all over the sink,” or “If you do it this way it’ll save you time, effort, etc” or “If you do it that way it’s going to take twice as long,” or “Why are you doing it that way, you should…” It’s the strangest thing when I catch myself doing it or when one of my children, or my husband, points out that I sound like my mother. I’ve never wanted to be that way, not the hovering thing, which to me equates judgment and criticism.
Lately, I’ve noticed that I am doing it to myself when I write. That little voice in the back of my head that whispers, “You’re not doing it right, look at all of those words you splashed on the page, they’re not right, it’s not right, you’ve done it wrong… [or] you’re doing it all wrong, you should be…”
I know that part of it is a need for control. a part of it is perfectionism, and a small part of it is insecurity. When someone does dishes differently than you do as long as the outcome is the same what difference does it make how they do them–so long as the dishes are clean it really shouldn’t matter. And yet, every time someone helps me with the dishes or does the dishes I find myself looking at all of the splashed water around and on the sink and faucet, noticing whether they are using hot water (God forbid you should wash dishes in my Momma’s house with cold or lukewarm water), or if you use too much soap or not enough soap…and I cringe because there is the part of me that wants to jump in and do the dishes the “right” way, or to tell them “you’re not doing it right,” or “stop splashing the water all over the place” or something else equally critical. And it’s not just the dishes, it comes up with laundry, sweeping and mopping, vacuuming, dusting the furniture, cooking, or hell, even how you sit on the furniture, or how far or close you are to the television, or driving (don’t get me started on the driving thing, so glad that my dad taught me how to drive and not my mom).
Don’t get me wrong, my mother is a wonderful, caring, strong woman who had a hard childhood, went through the tragic loss of losing a husband when she was only 28 years old with a 7 year old and a 4 year old, and then later on met someone and fell in love, and who said when he was going to marry my mom that he wasn’t just marrying her, he was marrying all of us and he meant that–we were a package deal. But my mom is nitpicky. She’s funny about her home, her domain. She grew up without, and once she became an adult she treasured every single thing she worked for, was given, etc. She didn’t own her own pair of shoes or coat until she was 19 years old and bought them herself, she got hand me downs from older siblings or from the church or from a charitable organization–as one of the oldest of ten kids being raised by a single mother, with an alcoholic father who never paid a dime of child support, my mother became a caretaker and the second in command/woman of the house at an early age. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for her, but like all of us my mom has flaws and it seems I’ve either inherited them through nature or nurture.
I have to admit though, I’m harder on myself than on others. I am way too critical of myself. Had my mom not taught me that there are certain ways to do thing, some better some just your own way, and also been taught to think for myself, I wouldn’t have known later on as an adult that I could do things one way and as I got more experience doing it I’d eventually fine tune how I do it so that it was the right way for me, that I could do it the way I was taught but watch how others do it and learn from all of it and find my own way. In practice, remembering that there is more than one way to do things is not as easy as it is in theory though. I can remind myself over and over again that just because I don’t hardcore outline, or just because I don’t write by the seat of my pants, doesn’t mean I won’t be able to write a good, hopefully great, novel. I can remind myself that I might write faster or slower than someone else, or that I might need a story board, or I might need in depth character sketches, but what it all boils down to is finding a process that works for me and fine tuning it so that it works well.
Hearing my mother’s voice in my head sometimes keeps me aware of how important it is to strive to be the best you can be, to do things to the best of your own ability even if it means you have to splash some water all over the sink to get there. I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those people who has an immaculate house, I’m too creative and distracted, not to mention the fact that I function better with color, clutter, and a bit of creative chaos around me, but my kitchen and bathrooms are usually clean and would (most of the time, unless I fall asleep reading or get into the writing zone) pass even my mom’s inspection. However, even though I am creative, distracted, and chaotically clutter and chaos (I imagine a female Linus walking around with a pen and a notebook instead of a blanket) I am also my mother’s child and when it gets to be too much my OCD kicks in and the house gets clean from top to bottom and organized–it might not stay that way for long, because me or my laid back husband will inevitably leave a cup on the end table, or leave our jacket on the back of the chair, or our dirty clothes on the floor instead of putting them in the hamper, or I’ll leave a book or a few books, or watercolor pencils, or my husband will leave his guitar propped against the couch… Our home is lived in and we’re happy.
I’m grateful for my mother and all that she taught me. That little voice that yells at me to get it right, to do it right, to keep trying until I’ve got it perfect or as perfect as it can get helps keep me striving to do better. I just have to remember that “being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect–it means that you’ve decided to look past the imperfections,” and for me it also means just being the best me I can be and forgiving myself and others when they splash water all over my sink.
It’s been a rough week. I’ve been sick for the past few days, finally starting to feel better though. Writing while you’re sick is like going to work with a hangover the size of Mt. Rushmore. I don’t know how I managed to do it, but I did. I didn’t get the word count I wanted, but I did manage to write at least 1000 words each day that I was sick, which is saying something. **Patting myself on the back.**
I’ve still got my buffer for Thanksgiving, but it set me back by a day–I needed a two day buffer for the Saturday after Thanksgiving as well. Oh well, I guess I’m going to have to get on the ball then and write.
I’ve created videos the past few days and it’s been especially rough–you know you’re sick when you don’t drink coffee first thing in the morning and drink orange juice instead, or when you make a video and don’t bother to put makeup on–in my defense, I’ve been sick and it’s NaNoWriMo. 😀
I’m not vain, I just figure if I’m going to bother with filming a video I could at least make myself presentable… being sick changes what you consider presentable–I was clean, had on clean pajamas, and had brushed my teeth–presentable. LOL!
The first day I was sick I tried the opposite method: Dressed up in hopes that if I didn’t wallow in being sick I might feel better–that only worked when the medication kicked in, once the medication started wearing off I was right back in pajamas.
I’m going to get back to writing now, I’ve got two scenes to write so I can get to the next chapter, which is a major conflict chapter and one I’m really looking forward to. 😀
I’m participating in NaNoWriMo, if you’ve read my blog posts or seen my videos or FB or Twitter posts then you know, and if this is the first post you’ve read then now you do 😀 (and thank you–all of you for taking the time to read my post),and part of the reason I love NaNoWriMo is because of the writing community. Whether it’s on the NaNoWriMo website and in their forum, or on IG, Twitter, FB, WP, G+, YT, Tumbler or whatever other social media that is out there. The Writing Community has been so supportive, motivating, inspiring, welcoming, and understanding. Because of the Writing Community I’ve slowly but surely realized that I’m not alone out here (well I am, I live in a small city, big town, and we don’t have a ML for NaNo, my county isn’t even listed on the “list.” But anywho).
I’m an introverted extrovert. I was born on the cusp of Cancer (my
sun sign) and Leo (my rising sign) , so I’m a bit of both, along with a bit of Aquarius, which is my moon sign. If you’re not into astrology, that’s okay–broken down into layman’s terms… I’m an extrovert when I’m comfortable with people, my true self, and physically my outward characteristics are more Leo, but on the inside, or when I’m not comfortable with people, I’m an introvert, a bit of a loner, and the person who sits back in the corner and watches, but if I’m at home (in my comfort zone) I’m out front, bold, sassy, and a talker.
It’s easier to be bold, sassy, and talkative when you’re comfortable with people. I spend so much of my writing life alone that having a place where I can socialize, learn, and share is refreshing, as well as both motivating and comforting–as in comfortable. It feels like a writerly niche.
Maybe it’s just that when I’m writing, I feel the most at home, as at home as I feel when I’m creating art, when I’m with my husband who is truly my best friend, or with my daughter is also my best friend, or when I’m busy working on DIY projects for our home. Though I prefer to be the one taking pictures–the whole behind the camera thing, since last year’s NaNoWriMo I’ve been vlogging, which means me in front of the camera. I couldn’t have done that if the writing community wasn’t so encouraging and supportive. Let’s face it, when you’re talking about someone who is an introverted extrovert with ADHD, Anxiety, and Depression the last thing you really want to do is make videos. I fidget, I stutter, I talk really fast or really slow, I lose focus and ramble, change subjects rapidly and then back to the original subject, sometimes without pausing.
Some people think that NaNoWriMo is all about quantity over quality, which is not a good thing if what you really want is to write a novel that will be publishable, but the first draft is not usually publishable even if you’re writing it on your own without NaNoWriMo. I tend to use description, notes to myself when I get stuck about what I want to do with the scene, character, setting, plot, etc, which increases my word count. I also tend to be long-winded anyway, which is helpful for NaNoWriMo but not helpful when it comes to editing. I’m writing because I have a story to tell, one that I would want to read, and I’m an avid reader of various genres.
One day I hope to have my book published, so I’m not killing myself worrying about my wordcount, but I am trying to make sure that what I do have is at least a decent first draft, BUT mostly I’m writing for me, because I love telling a story, because that story has been bugging me on and off for years wanting to be told.
I’m including a video I did in response to someone who 1. Doesn’t participate in NaNoWriMo 2. Believes that NaNoWriMo encourages bad writing habits, but I also did the response video because I believe that NaNoWriMo has helped a ton of writer’s start writing again, write their novels, whether they ever get published or not, and I’m a huge fan of their Young Writer’s Program. I hope you’ll watch. 😀
It’s been a crazy week and it’s only day 6 of NaNoWriMo. This NaNo is different than the previous one’s.
Perhaps it is because this time around I’ve done things differently. From how I planned out my novel (using the hero’s journey and tarot/Arwen Lynch’s eCourse), to re-doing a novel I started a previous NaNo, to having my own website, to having been on YT creating videos for a little over a year now… Yes, it’s different. But it’s not just those things–it’s me.
I’ve changed. My writing process has changed, my writing space/room has changed, I have a new laptop (though still the same old desktop).
Those changes have helped me become a better writer because I’m slowly but surely figuring out my writing process. Perfecting it, if you will. Not that it will ever be perfect, but I can get my writing process to a point where it works for me 99% of the time. At least that’s what I’m aiming for.
I’ve been busy writing, drinking coffee, reading, changing my eating habits–trying to be a healthier me, writing, procrastinating, drinking coffee, reading, and writing. Oh, yeah! Did I say procrastinating? I did. I’ve also been going through a bit of anxiety over self-doubt already, as well as a bit of the overanalyzing dialogue, etc…….
What else is new though? I did a video in April about this very same thing–Self-Doubt. Why do we doubt ourselves? Our ability? Our right to create? To be creative? Our talent?
I decided after last year’s NaNo and the Camp’s over the summer, that when this NaNo came around I was going to do something about it. So I’m in the process of reading “The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity,” by Julia Cameron. The book was reccommended by several people over the course of the last 6 months, and last month I finally ordered it. Well… It finally came in today. YAY!!!!
The craziness has begun and by craziness… I mean NaNoWriMo!
As you read this post I’m on day 2 of NaNoWriMo, but as I write this I’m wrapping up day 1. I closed out day 1 with 2,820 words. Not bad for the first day. I’d have had more, but unfortunately the power went out on our whole street at almost 11:30 so no more writing for me unless I want to write by candlelight with pen and paper. I could, technically, write on my laptop–it’s charged, but there’s no internet and I thought the time might be better spent relaxing after the hectic first day.
(I added in the bit about the power after the power came back on.)
I’m still a bit anxious but I’m so excited about this NaNoWriMo. Things are quite a bit different me this time. 😀 I plotted out my novel using the Hero’s Journey and Tarot (an eCourse by Arwen Lynch). I had a great time doing it and made a NaNoWriMoPrep playlist of my journey outlining. I’m also excited because this a book I started last year but it needed a lot of work and it didn’t feel authentic to me, a good story but not real enough, so I’m starting from scratch–the only thing I kept was the prologue (the rest is stored in the closet of a Scrivener project).
Happy NaNo’ing. 😀