Throughout my life, I have always done some sort of writing. I have done it for school, for pleasure and for money. I have also done it as a therapeutic exercise through journaling, and finally by sharing my experiences as a survivor of sexual abuse. Some of this writing has been fun, some has been tedious, and some quite painful. But the experience has always filled me with a huge sense of accomplishment, the translation of thought to a different medium, expressing things often somewhat nebulous in origin with clarity and precision.
It’s been a challenge for me to follow up my last series of posts here, the ones I wrote about my writing for Violence Unsilenced. A sudden shift to music or minutiae felt inappropriate but I have retained the urge to write. In many ways the urge was there, perhaps even the words, but it was as if I had lost my voice. I am hoping that I am on the right path to finding it again.
For many years I had participated in an event called National Blog Posting Month or NaBloPoMo in which you pledge to write a blog post each day during the month of November. It’s a fun process and was always an exercise to see if I could follow through on the commitment to produce something each day. NaBloPoMo is actually a spin off of another writing challenge National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. The idea behind NaNoWriMo is to write each day during the month of November so that at the end of the month you have the first draft of a novel completed. The goal is 50,000 words or approx 1667 words per day. It’s not necessarily about quality, it’s about putting words down to tell a story, a story that you can then edit and work on further after the month is over.
In past years I always had a momentary spark thinking about participating in NaNoWriMo but that would quickly be pushed away by doubt and fear. I don’t have the time. I can’t write a novel. I am not clever enough to come up with a story. I don’t know how to write good dialogue. The reasons I would come up with as to why I couldn’t do it quickly overcame any inkling at all that I possibly could.
There is that word again.
I have written in the past that “I’m not sure that it will get better and I am fearful of being overly optimistic but I am going to latch on to “could” with all that I have. It’s a strong word, a hopeful word. I don’t know for sure what is going to happen – but you know what – I could actually do this.” That sentence was written about my journey to give a voice to my past and the work that I am (still) doing to overcome the obstacles that are in front of me each and every day. I still feel like I could do it.
So I guess it’s not a surprise that this year when November approached I once again thought about participating. I posted on Twitter and Facebook that I was considering it, got some encouragement from others and set out to convince myself that I couldn’t do it. Over the course of the next two days, I got to feeling a bit giddy. I became excited at the thought of facing this challenge, of making a commitment and carrying it through.
So here I am, less than a week left before i start. I’ve spent the last 10 days or so outlining some basic plot points, sketched out some characters and have identified some themes. What I haven’t done is talk myself out of it or tell myself I couldn’t. I don’t know what will happen or if I will finish successfully – but you know what – I could actually do this.
Follow along with my progress on my official National Blog Writing Month profile page where I’ll be updating my word counts each day.