It’s official…NaNoWriMo-Panic!


“Her Name is Melancholy” by FlyPi (Found:

Okay, I am not certain whether I should be elated or crushed that I have completed approximately 40,000 words.

You see, National Novel Writing Month is really about to end come Friday, November 30th and I am supposed to write the remaining 10,000+ words by then–no, no, no, it’s impossible–while managing my regular life.

I am panicking–and who wouldn’t? It’s a competition between myself and my brain and I am losing–because I tend to be a bit of an over-achiever… and I am nowhere near where I “ought” to be.

However I am also relieved because I have come 4/5ths of the way, even if I do not arrive at my destination (50,000 words) by midnight Friday. (Let this serve as an example of a positive reframe of my initial thoughts).

So, what comes next?  Well, I am going to sit with the panicked feeling for a while longer before getting dinner.  Then I will plop myself back down in front of my laptop and begin hammering away at those last 10,000 words.  I can do it, right?  🙂

In the midst of all of this (well, really early this morning to be exact),  apparently I had time to write a poem. Thinking about it now, I would like it to be a part of a series revolving around the theme of winter.  I’m not panicking, right? It’s just 10,000 more words…I am beginning to wonder if blog entries count…


Insomnia, along with the howl
of the wind.
Night is no longer night, but
fragments of moments,
through which sometimes
there is sleep.

Tonight, Rome is beautiful chaos
wrapped up in serenity.
-Diedré M. Blake

NaNoWriMo and the 10,000 Words…

NaNoWriMo, Day 19.  I am in bed today.  I am in bed today, because my fibromyalgia symptoms are significant enough to keep me in bed today.

I am in bed today although I ought to be doing so much else.  Perhaps I am in bed today because I ought not to have been doing as much as I have been.

Regardless of which it is, there is only one thing that I can do today:  write.

I will be writing many things today, including approximately 5,000 to 10,000 words for NaNoWriMo.  Writing so many words will, apparently, bring me back on track to complete the required 50,000 words by November 30th.

The idea of writing so very many words does not seem daunting at all, but rather enjoyable.  This is what I have discovered as I have been doing NaNoWriMo.  I truly enjoy writing stories.  I enjoy the process of discover that happens with every written word.  What I mean is that even though I have an outline (and thank the universe that I do), I am still discovering new aspects of my characters and of the stories.  I am learning that a story is not a linear experience and involves more trekking off the main road than I had previously thought. In other words, I am recognizing that writing a story is akin to writing a poem, where each word hold innumerable meaning.

Of course, it helps to have a deadline, which one may choose to meet or not.  For me, I am certain that I will meet it.  I understand, however, as I have been writing that getting to 50,000 words is not the end.  Truly, getting to 50,000 means only that I have formed the skeleton upon which the body of my story is to be carried.

The setup for NaNoWriMo at home, if I need to ...

The setup for NaNoWriMo at home, if I need to be portable. Long exposure lit by sweeping an LED flashlight over the scene. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Really, I suppose I want to reiterate the point made by other NaNoWriMo writers and bloggers.  That is, the point of NaNoWriMo, I believe, is not to force one into writing a novel in one month.  Rather, it is to inspire one to draft a story, on which one will continue to work until its completion.

Truly, writing an entire novel is a daunting enterprise as many, who have tried to so do, can attest.  The standard novel is approximately 100,000 words.  NaNoWriMo’s challenge allows one to get to the half-way mark, i.e. 50,000 words.  Moreover, having to meet the deadline of November 30th aids in pushing one pass the block of procrastination.  I believe that the focus on quantity rather than quality forces one to dismiss the voices of self-criticism and self-doubt, in order to put down on paper the ideas that have been floating in our creative minds.

NaNoWriMo is not about writing a bestseller off the bat, but perhaps getting our thoughts organized enough to write something of interest to ourselves and hopefully others (if we choose to share it).  I am glad that I read Harley Jane Kozak‘s “NaNoNoNoNoNoNoMo” in Write Good or Die that deals with the challenges and humour of doing NaNoWriMo.

English: An Italian shopping list for groceries.

English: An Italian shopping list for groceries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like Kozak, some of us may find ourselves thinking that the “only way to pull it off is to throw grocery lists into my novel, along with my Thanksgiving Squash Souffle Recipe, William’s home phone number, notes to my kids’ teachers, and drafts of the text for my Christmas cards, which need to get to the printer.”

Perhaps, as Kozak ended, we may even choose to cut and past our blogs to make our word count. 😉  Either way, we should try to have fun with it, no matter how it turns out in the end.  After all, as one of my professors recently said to me, “Every month is National Novel Writing Month.”

I hope all NaNoWriMo-ers are also making their way towards the deadline in good spirits.  Eleven more days to go! 🙂

Until Next Time!



Writers write…

NaNoWriMo, Day 3.  It is as difficult as I imagined, but surprisingly simple.  The difficulty?  Moving pass my desire to edit as I write.  The simplicity?  The action of writing.  I am logging my word count like a good NaNoWriMo participant.  I am somewhere in the range of 2500 words, but I have done my writing for today.  There are several things I have come to realize about my writing behaviour by engaging this process:

  1. Writing at home before 2:00am in the morning is impossible.
  2. Writing in the library at any point in the day works.
  3. Writing to the sound of wordless music is better.
  4. Writing when distressed is challenging.
  5. Writing when excited is challenging.
  6. Writing when in a calm, neutral state allows my imagination to flow freely.
  7. Writing with access to the internet is helpful–I say a thankful “YES” to
  8. Writing with an outline is useful, but I am enjoying discovering random side roads as I go along.
  9. Writing means that I am writer.  Thinking about writing means that I engage in creative thought.
  10. Writing does not necessarily mean sharing with others.

As the writer of this blog, the final point regarding not sharing might seem a bit odd, and perhaps I find it a bit odd too.  The thing is this…I have no desire to share the story as I am writing it.  I have desire to describe exactly what it is about, not because I do not know, but because I do know but also desire the ability to have flexibility in my knowing.  That is, I want the freedom to expand my knowledge or concept of the story.  Having to tell or retell the story concept appears to me to be a process of cementing the story, of forcing myself to remain on an obligatory path…I do not know how others feel as they are doing NaNoWriMo, but this is how I feel.

I have not written a synopsis, or even written the title of the story.  I do not see the point of so doing until I am at the end.  I do think that sharing my experience of my NaNoWriMo may be helpful to others, and I will do so intermittently on this blog.  Other than that, I find that I need to keep my thoughts to myself.

The title for this post, “Writers write…,” is taken from William Miekle’s superb writing guide of the same title (currently free for Kindle).  More importantly, it is only half of the mantra to which he asks aspiring writers.  The full mantra is,

Writers write!  Wannabe Writers Wanna Write.”

Perhaps it is a bit strong.  It has, however, served to kick my butt into gear.  I have been repeating this mantra to myself from the time I started my outline.  Yesterday as I struggled over words and my temptation to edit, I kept as a constant in the background my mind.  Writers write.  Writers make time to write no matter how busy their day.  Writers put aside external issues and circumstances in order to put forth their imagination onto paper.  Writers write because they write.

A long enough time ago, I wrote the poem below.


because nothing else soothes

because nothing else makes sense–


what is lacking in spoken words

what is lacking in expressed emotions–


Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

So, I am off to the library to write for a few hours.  The goal: 3000 words.  Do I think I will make it?  I do not know.  It is, however, the goal for today.  Tomorrow, I will set another, and then the day after that too…until I get to the end of the story.

To fellow NaNoWriMo participants–Write on!



the small things…and my mother’s words

Found on Tumblr (File name: tumblr_lxk4ytehyo1qzuyz3o1_500.png)

I am listening to Vivaldi‘s Four Seasons: Summer.  I did this last night as well.  I enjoy the Four Seasons in its entirety, but it is Summer that makes me yearn to reach for a life that is beyond the moments that are painful for me.  For me pain, I realise, acts as a barrier.  It shuts out my desires, my thoughts, and thus my words.  The mind contained with the brain contained within the body then no longer belongs to me.  It belongs to my pain.  Why write about this today? Well, the title says it all.  The small things in life make whatever pain I may  be experiencing seem insignificant.  I am reminded that it is temporary.  That like the music of Vivaldi, I, too, will have my crescendo after this prolonged but momentary decrescendo–this is the nature of all things in life.  We fall to rise, rise to fall.  I am not so different than anyone else.  Simply, my pain functions to punctuate the music of my life.  It brings me back down to see the world from a place of quietness…stillness even. Slowly, the music of my life is building once again.  It is a lovely thought.

(How amazing is this violinist exactly?  Yes, I am in-love…You ought to be too)
My Mother…
is an amazingly talented, hardworking, forthright, and beautiful lady.  It’s that simply.  Were I to study for the rest of my life, my knowledge could never amount to that which she possesses. Well, she and I spoke last night for the first time in about two weeks–I have a tendency to hide myself away when I am ill–and she shared with two very important things:
She told me stories about her childhood and her relationship with my grandfather, and even about my great-grandfather.
She told me also to stop hiding myself (i.e. my writing)–this kind of statement may seem strange given that I have a fairly public life (ahem, this blog, etc.).
The second point she mentioned to me after I had read to her some of my new poetry and an essay I wrote about my grandfather.  Now, one might say, Well, mothers say this kind of thing.  Well, not my mother.  She doesn’t say anything unless she absolutely means.  Her honesty is undeniable.  You can count her to tell you what’s up.  She sees it as her duty to help others see where they can improve.  Thus, you can imagine how wonderful it was for me to hear my mother tell me that my new writing was worthwhile and worthy for publication.  🙂  Yeah, I was like Yay!  Go me!

So, where does this leave me.  Well, simply that I feel more energized to write.  The question mark of am-I-good-writer that is sometimes looming largely over my head is quite diminished.  Now the question is what steps should I take to get published.  Hmm?  It seems easier said than done.

Anyone have any thoughts on the benefits of self-publishing poetry?  Or submitting essays? Well, do share if you do.  In the interim, I will be making my own investigations.
Also, I’ve just signed of for NaNoWriMo (Noational Novel Writing Month).  So, please, light a fire under me if you see my word count not increasing once I start.  Start day is November 1st and my username is diemblake. 🙂
Until Next Time!