I took you on as a challenge in the month of November, and I lived to tell about it.
Having been blogging and being on various places in social media, I came across #NaBloPoMo--short for National Blog Posting Month, a meme where one writes a blog post everyday for the entire month of November. This is not to be confused with #NaNoWriMo--short for National Novel Writing Month, where one writes a complete novel with a minimum of 50,000 words over the course of November. There are distinct differences between the two, but both aim to get people to write with discipline, regularity, and a goal in mind. (For more detailed information on both, click here).
On November 1st, I came across both of these memes on social media. After understanding the difference between the two, I became very interested in the exercise of writing a post a day for 30 days. I know it seems like a very crazy thing to do, but as far as I'm concerned, I already knew I was crazy.
I just needed a meme to justify my craziness.
I thought about it all day that day. I wondered if I could actually do it, since I would not want to begin something where the chances of failing are high. I wondered: is it silly to take such things so seriously when there's no grade, no real repercussions, or no real reward at the end of this--whether I make it or not?
My Promptly I Write blog had been dormant for almost the entire month of October (longer than any period since its birth). I thought it would be a great way to give it a Pick Me Up. It would allow me to write in a different voice than the one here on Letters of Muse. I enjoy writing poetry and short fiction, although I'm not very good at the latter. To make the posts interesting and meaningful, I thought about including a photo for each one, and perhaps add an editor's note at the end if necessary. So after a day's worth of pondering, I decided to go for it. I posted my very first #NaBloPoMo post titled All or Nothing on November 1st.
Now that #NaBloPoMo is all said and done, I am happy to report that I did complete the challenge. And, boy, was it a challenge! I usually wrote at nighttime after the kiddos went to bed. Which meant I had very little time to get the post up and published. The majority of my posts were stamped between 11:45 and 11:59 PM. But I did get a stamp on every day of the month.
Instead of waiting for a prompt for which to write, I came up with my own prompts--many of them from my own photographs. I tried short fiction, I wrote lots of poems, and I even wrote a not-so-funny limerick and told a not-so-funny joke. Some days, I was completely desperate for words. Other days, words just came pouring out of my fingertips.
Here is a list of my #NaBloPoMo experience's pros and cons. First, the cons:
- I was stressed. Talk about a stressful month. I had to write something every day for 30 days. Usually, the writing part wasn't hard; coming up with a topic was. And coming up with a topic every day for 30 days in a row was very challenging.
- I lost sleep. Precious, needed, and coveted sleep. I never went to bed before midnight the entire month of November. I was barely functional on some days.
- I didn't read. I lost time to read the blogs I regularly follow, not to mention a few fellow bloggers' who were also participating in #NaBloPoMo. There's just not enough hours in the day! I was lucky if I actually published my daily posts, much less be able to read others' daily posts. I still had to, you know, do all those things I do everyday, like wiping poopy bottoms.
- Expected hiatus. Like I said, I'm an All-or-Nothing kind of person. I knew that coming off the 30 days' writing challenge my "all" would turn into "nothing" for a short period. Only that the short period carried over to this blog, too, which brings me to the next bullet point.
- Letters of Muse suffered. A little bit. I didn't get to write as many posts as I normally would for the month of November. I was just written out. I even complained of painful knuckles lately, and Dear Husband is convinced--while I totally disagree--that they are the result of #NaBloPoMo. But I'm back, after a few days of rest, since my fingers just itched to exercise their knuckles again.
Now here are the pros:
- I did it! I did it! Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah! No writing here tonight, woo! No writing here tonight! No, no, no writing here tonight! I'm such a riot! Um, yeah--that's me, channeling my inner Dory on the night of November 30.
- I wrote. And wrote, and wrote. None of them were long pieces--in fact, I specifically wanted to practice writing short poetry, fiction, and song lyrics. Some of them were silly, some were meh, and a few were written from the heart where I even surprised myself.
- I featured my photographs. Whenever I ran out of ideas, I went to my photo collection. I looked for a picture that could "take words places." Sometimes pictures would take me places I never thought I'd go. They were almost like magic carpet rides that took me to faraway places for a glimpse and a glance.
- I made connections. I truly appreciated a few followers who cheered me on along the way. I am forever grateful for bloggy friends who took time to follow, read, and comment on some of the posts. And I promise I'll be back to your blogs now that #NaBloPoMo is over!
- I did what I really loved to do. Which is to write. To spill words onto a screen, ornate and associate them with a picture, and present a piece of my heart that perhaps others can relate to.
This post is intended as my reflection upon #NaBloPoMo, and I am really not here to promote my own writing and urge you to read all those posts. But if you are interested in seeing some, here are a few I recommend--or not:
A few silly ones: Cleaning Woes; Germ Fest.
A few not-so-funny ones: Sucker; Orange.
A few short and to-the-point ones: November; Viva Violin; Origami; Chores.
The one and only semi-fiction I mustered: Shadow People.
And finally, a few of my own favorites: The Music Box; Breaking Silence; I Say Nothing.
For all the #NaBloPoMo posts, you can see them on the right side bar under the month, November, over at Promptly I Write.
Finally, I want to give a shoutout to my bloggy friend Cassie from Our Foto Friendly Family, who went along with me on this roller coaster ride. So I might have a crazy friend or two, too. Thank you for keeping me company throughout the past month. We did it! And like you said, we can now take a deep breath and smile!
So, Dear #NaBloPoMo2012, I'm very glad to have met your acquaintance this year, even despite the few gray hairs you probably cost me. I reached and stretched (sometimes not-so-gracefully) and went places where I didn't know I could go. The fact that "2012" was in your name up there in the title of this post means a very good chance that I will participate again next year. But for now, DH will be glad to have me back on most nights of the week again. And, who says there's no real prize at the end? I have 30 spanking new posts to show for November. That's what I call reward, baby!