November 10, 2014

Does NaNoWriMo Make Me A Bad Mother? {and other important questions}

{I know I promised that today would be the next part of my writer's room reveal but frankly, I've been missing blogging and now that I'm more than a week deep into this NaNoWriMo craziness, I thought it only appropriate to let you know how things are going. I've rescheduled the room reveal post for Thursday.}

does #NaNoWriMo make me a bad mother & other important questions - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak
There is a nagging little demon who wields nagging little barbs like angry q-tips that he grinds against my hearts ear. {How's that for incredible imagery?} 'You're being selfish! You're ignoring your children! You're a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad mother!'

This is the truth: 

There's a stack of laundry on my bed that has needed folding for eight days.

I haven't done the dishes since Wednesday.

We have eaten take-out food four times in the last week.

I am short on sleep and high on inspiration.

I work four days a week outside the home. On top of my regular work hours I've given hours to lead worship at my church, delivered a charming{ish} speech at a special dinner banquet, taken my children to their mid-week programs, and kept them bathed, fed, schooled, and kissed every single day.

Does NaNoWriMo make me a bad mother?

Heck no!

Perhaps they don't get the amount of attention they're used to. Perhaps I don't sit with them at the end of the day to watch some mindless television nonsense. But what is happening is an ongoing dialogue...

"How's your novel going, Mommy?"
"Are you going to publish it when your done?"
"How many words did you write today, Mom?"
"How many now?...Now?...Now?"

I am amazed at how interested they are and it's fun to bring up my stats sheet and show them how I'm doing and whether or not I'm keeping up.

I am teaching them a lot through this process. They're seeing what dedication can accomplish and somehow they understand and accept that this is 'just something mommy has to do' and they seem proud of me.

They are not neglected by this project - they are my partners in it!
 {Noa has taken to doing her reading while I'm writing, sitting quietly and pretty in the corner as I work.}

Is it hard?


I have a target of 1667 words per day in order to reach the 50,000 word goal by the end of the month. It's tough to get started each day when I sit down but I've found that if I end the day before in the middle of a thought I have a place to pick up from and it seems to flow easier.  

This is a completely new approach to writing that's both exhilarating and terrifying.  I have this {bad?} habit of editing my way through a project, sometimes spending hours on one little scene before moving on. The pressure of NaNo makes my normal approach impossible.  Write now - edit later.  It is a month without using the 'delete' button and that's a huge adjustment for me.  It's becoming clear to me why I've gotten stuck so often in the past - why I have incomplete manuscripts lying around. This is teaching me to set aside my inner perfectionist and just get the ideas out of me and if they're not perfect {or even barely mediocre} oh well - editing comes in December.

What am I writing about?

I began the month thinking I knew the story I was writing exactly. Silly me! By the end of the first day it became very clear that what I was writing was very different than what I had planned and right now I have no idea where it's headed but it's going to be fun getting there! 

My main inspiration is from the old hymn 'The Church In The Wildwood' which just so happens to be the working title. Things got a little creepy right off the hop but I'm hoping I'll be able to bring it back around in the end with some kind of redemptive message. {Fingers crossed!}

You can read an early excerpt here but please remember - it's unedited and very very raw.  I'd love to hear your first impressions so please don't be shy in sharing your thoughts with me.

What does NaNoWriMo smell like?

I'm so glad you asked! In a word? Delicious! 

I bought this mason jar candle right before the month began and it's making my writing space extra cozy and comforting. 

If I was really being authentic to the tale I am writing I should be burning a candle that smells like the forest because much of my action is happening in the woods but I just can't help but think of that slimy boy I went on one date with who had an evergreen air fresher hanging from his car's rear-view mirror - not exactly the kind of inspiration I'm looking for.

Day 10 is calling my name and I have 1065 words to write in order to keep on track. Here's hoping I can double it - Monday is my day off after all.

{p.s. A cup of coffee (or tea or hot chocolate) for whoever sends me a drawing of the demon and his angry q-tip!}

Like to party? Hop along the Hump Day Blog Hop on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog. Click here to return to the Hump Day Blog Hop.
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  1. "right off the hop" -- You and Jason Mills are the only people I've heard use this phrase. It made me miss HMC :)

    It was nice to hear a little about the novel process! Nanowrimo does not make you a bad mother! Your kids will see how much you do for them on a regular basis when it's all finished. I seriously can't wait to read this novel when it is finished! I'm really happy the entire process is teaching you a lot about writing. What more could you ask for?

    1. You're totally on my list of first readers so beware!

  2. Why is it women always worry about the laundry piling up? I have never heard a man wonder if the dirty laundry is making him less of a man? It's crazy if you really think about it!

    Glad you see your children are fine. You may not be feeding them home-cooked meals, but you are teaching them about setting goals, and doing what it takes to reach them. Totally love their support! This shows that they get it. I can totally hear the,
    "How many words Now?"
    "How 'bout Now?"

    Kids are great, and they do have to learn that life is a process. It's not immediate. I'll read your early excerpt later. Super behind and struggling with everything today! Keep posting your writing tips. I'm intrigued and listening. I'm also all about learning from others.

    1. Laundry is a mysterious source of guilt - I don't get it either but I also can't shake it...

      Good luck getting through your laundry list of to-do's today! (see what I did there??)

  3. Here's a crazy thought from one mom to another - what if our families secretly ENJOY getting a little break from "MOM" for a month?

    A few things I know:

    1. I've never met a kid that didn't like pizza for supper 3x a week.
    2. Even if their socks don't match EXACTLY - husbands will survive and can pick through a dang pile of unfolded laundry. Better yet, they can pitch in and fold for a month. (Ah hem.)
    3. Ain't no one happy unless Momma's happy and Momma needs to write.

    End of story.

    Hope you're having a GREAT NaNoWriMo. And thank you for linking this post up to the Hump Day Blog Hop. I host this blog hop on the last Wednesday of every month and it runs for a week. I'm so thrilled to meet you and to read this post. Thanks so much!!

    1. I'm happy to have found your hop! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. NaNo is a crazy ride but you're right - kids DON'T complain when you stick a slice of pizza in front of them and they certainly don't care that I haven't swept the floor for a week (ew!)

    2. So what's next for you after NaNoWriMo? Get through the holidays and then edit in January?

    3. I definitely need to take a step back from the manuscript and give it a little breathing space while I recollect myself and repair the disrepair that is my house right now. I'm looking forward to a break but I'm also looking forward to coming back at it without the time crunch pressure and polishing it up to make it the best that it can be!

    4. I always wondered if a non-busy non-mom chose November for NaNoWri. I'm so crazy busy this time of year as a mother of four. But then, if you can get through November and hopefully end up with 50k words or somewhere close to that - a break to get through the holidays is a good distraction and January 1st is a good day to resolve to revisit what you produced in November.

      I'd still rather see NaNoWriMo held in January or February during the cold winter months when not much else is going on...

    5. I'm sure it was a man who came up with it! I'm totally with you - January would be a wonderful time for it!


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