Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | November 6, 2013

ROW80 Check-in November 6

As I announced on Sunday, I joined NaNo this year.  So far, I am finding it a fascinating experience. Two things have happened that I did not expect. My word count has gone up steadily from Day One.  Yes, I know that 5 data points mean nothing, but I take comfort in the fact that the NaNo widget told me I would finish on February 1st on Day One,  but told me today I would finish on January 30th.

However, far more exciting is my attitude.  For several reasons, I was unable to write first thing this morning.  I felt disappointed, but resigned, thinking that today might be the first day off, since I was so exhausted after the day job yesterday.  To my surprise and delight, the words burned in my gut all morning, through committee meetings and space planning, until I got them out on the screen. I have not felt like this in years, and it is so very welcome.

Working through the emotions of the writing is difficult but liberating.  I used to say in therapy years ago that the truth shall set you free, but first it will make you miserable.  I find myself remembering things that happened, thinking at the time that things were the same in other families and houses down the block and across the street.  It is when I look from the vantage point of being a parent myself that the sense of wrongness, of difference, is overwhelming.

I’m slightly under the weather this morning, so this will be a short report. I should make up for it at the next check-in.If you have a free moment, please go visit the other ROWers, whom you can find here.

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Responses

  1. Elizabeth,

    I LOVE this!

    I learn new things about writing and myself every NaNo I participate in. I think I do it at least as much for that as for the dedicated block of writing time.

    And I so know what you mean about seeing childhood differently through the eyes of a parent. It’s my goal to do all I can to see that, when Jeremiah and Annalise are grown and look back, that they see that it wasn’t the same everywhere else, but in a way that makes them feel even more deeply valued.

    When they hear my voice in their heads for the rest of their lives, I want that to be a happy and sustaining thing.

    I’m still looking very forward to visiting…we are having car issues, right now, though, and – sniff! – I may have to postpone again….I will let you know, for certain, during the weekend.

    Be gentle with you, and may NaNo continue to surprise you in many positive ways! =)

    • Thanks, Shan. Yes, I know exactly what you mean about Jeremiah and Annalise seeing it was different, but a good kind of different. My daughters and sons have all independently mentioned in the last couple of months how they felt they could always talk to us about anything, when their friends didn’t. That kind of different is good, and made me feel I had accomplished something important.

      And it’s too bad about the car issues, but if we have to reschedule, it will work out for another time. I’m looking forward to it as well.

      • I love knowing other families who have made that shift, because it reminds me of how important it is. =)

        Jeremiah is 12, now. He’s nearly as big as me, and, if I had kept on with him the way I started, my life would probably be feeling scary by now.

        I’ve had more than one person tell me that 12 is the age where kids become obnoxious, and I wonder if that’s because they’re growing past the methods parents used to “control” them in previous years.

        My 12 year old is not obnoxious. He’s not perfect, but, neither am I. Sometimes he’s not sweet, but most of the time he is, and, as he’s maturing, he’s connected, and, yes, he knows he can talk to us, and not be punished or harshly judged.

        To me, that’s so hugely important!

        Jim is working on the car, but the main issue is a tie rod end, and he doesn’t want to tackle that until his weekend (which starts Monday). So, most likely, another week would be better, to take the pressure off him.

        Hopefully, we can work it out before the snow really flies ! =)

  2. It’s always so nice to hear all of these moments of freedom and emotional release from fellow writers (and fellow humans who brave any new endeavor that allows them to find new personal horizons). And like Shan, I too find myself using NaNos as a way of discovering myself… probably more than as a way to do any writing. The words are nice, but not as important as understanding what works and why…

    Thank you, btw, for the wonderful lunch and mini-sprint. Hopefully we can do another one or two before the end of the month. Or maybe even on a semi-regular basis after the Writing Month is over. I think it was good for us.

    • I’m surprised by how much I am learning from this experience, Eden. It’s been fascinating to see how important the writing has become to me again, after my fear I had lost it all in the past year or two.

      I’m also discovering where I need to learn more, but it doesn’t cause me anxiety. I merely think, “Hmm, I don’t do very well with dialogue, and tend to describe rather than move things through conversation–I need to work on that.” I don’t immediately think I’m a bad writer (which is new).

      Lunch was absolutely wonderful, and the mini-sprint amazingly productive for me. I’d love to fit another before the end of November, but I agree that we shouldn’t feel bound by the calendar. It was very good for us.

      • Maybe that’s the best part about trying “new for us” things like the NaNo (and though I’ve done it many times already, I keep finding out new things–I’ll probably stop when it becomes to pat)… Self-discovery and acceptance.

        So cool about the realization about dialogue (and the acceptance that it’s just something you haven’t worked on a lot rather than a sign of being ‘bad’). We all have different strengths and weaknesses. Shan and I tend to have a “voices in the mist” issue (we’re always seeing it in each other’s work)–sounds like you have the reverse situation.

        It’s just a matter of recognizing the problem and paying attention in the edits until you have time to really practice the skill.

        And yes! It was good for us. Amazing how good taking just ten minutes can be. Maybe you chould “meet” with some other sprinters on Twitter for a 10-minute mini sprint during your lunches at work? I’m sure there are some out there

  3. Good for you! I did NaNoWriMo last year and, while I didn’t “win,” I made such great progress it was worth it. Best wishes!

    • Thank you for the encouragement, Julie. It helps to hear from people who didn’t “win,” yet got something from the experience. I take great solace from that.


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