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On NaNoWhateverMonth and Existing

Photo by Mor Shani on Unsplash

I used to get an ache in the right side of my neck when I'd gone too long without writing, and I found that an hour or so of holding a pencil in my hand and scribbling down my thoughts would sometimes help. I began to feel that same ache sometime yesterday, but didn't recognize it til just now, as I started typing on my laptop. I was planning to go to yoga this afternoon to try and help my neck feel better, but maybe this exercise will be worth it as well. I'll admit that it's not at all the same action as holding and moving a writing utensil, but I need some accountability right now, and putting down words in my journal does not equal easy share-ability with the digital world. Yes, I could take a photo of my poor handwriting and post it on Instagram, but those photos might get boring after awhile, and anyhow, this is what I've decided to do. Who wants to read any more of my reasons why? (Not me.)

I've been very much in my head lately where my writing is concerned. I reckon that's the result of six months of sending out queries and proposals with very little feedback. So with every sentence I write I'm been dodging blows from the "who cares?" monster jumping around on the other side of the boxing ring inside my mind. Yes, boxing. Do I know anything at all about that sport? NO. But it's the metaphor that came to mind, so I went with it. This exercise is not about producing the most clever, well-crafted, and knowledgeable sentences, it's about stretching my writing muscles and learning how to use them again, everyday.

A lot of my friends are participating in various writing challenges for the month of November. Some are writing a poem a day, some are writing anywhere from 500-1500 words a day. Some are fiction, some are blog posts, some are pages they hope to have in a finished work of non-fiction someday. My particular challenge is not so well defined. I just know that I don't write as much as I want to because I worry too much about the end result. And that's dumb. I think *this* kind of writing, this, right here, is what a blog is for. That's why I took a break from it so I could do a bigger project called a book. A book is where the good sentences and thoughtful stories go. It's the real race, this is just my daily jog. And I'm quite out of shape after doing neither the book writing, nor the blogging for the past six months, so here's my attempt to get moving again. I don't have a clever acronym or weird made up word to call it, but here it is.

A friend of mine told me the other day that she thought people liked the way I think, and that's why they read my writing. I'm still not sure if I believe her, but I jotted that quote down on a yellow sticky note this morning for motivation, and it's currently balanced on the armrest of the chair I'm sitting in. Then, a few days later my husband said to me that my mom believed in my work more than I do. Which feels sweet and horrible at the same time. My mom does believe in me. Even if my book never sees the light of day. I like thinking about that. I don't like that I don't believe in myself as much as she does, but I don't know how to change that right now. I just know that I'm going to a writing conference this weekend and I'm hoping it will be worth all the prep work that I have to do to get myself there.

As for the rest of today, I'm still planning to go to yoga, and I also need to stop by Wal-mart, and finish the laundry I started. Plus the four other things I wrote on my to-do list a little while ago. But at least now I can put a big ole check mark next to the line that says "write something." And that feels much better than all the days I've not been able to do that. Hope your day is filled with some meaningful check marks of your own. Now go acknowledge your own spark as well as the one you see in others. Namaste.

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