Children's writing

Guest Blogger: Becca, on NaNo

When I invited all you readers to join me on the NaNo adventure, Becca was the only one to accept. That alone is huge, but she’s also tap-tap-tapping toward a win. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that win or lose, she’s going to make a good showing. She already has.

Here’s a glimpse into her experience:

NaNoWriMo has been a new kind of challenge for me and is genuinely exciting. There is not only the bipolar high/low of writing but the reflection that occurs when you aren’t writing. I’m constantly thinking about the novel, even, it seems, in my sleep. It is a total immersion experience.

I’ve found that I don’t only reflect on my novel but on the NaNoing experience itself. (Yes, Virginia, it is a verb!) Chris Baty, in No Plot? No Problem! suggests the benefits of a writing totem that can be donned and doffed. I took this to heart. My son’s purple wizard’s hat has become my totem. (My novel is a fantasy involving Wizards, but I didn’t know that until I started writing.) It is a visible cue to my husband and son that I am in The Creative Process and must not be messed with. Something to say to me? Write it down. It works with the humans I live with, not so well with the felines.

nano-hat-becca1.jpgIt has, of course, sparked a certain amount of silliness, especially with my son’s high school senior friends. And so began what is now my NaNoing mantra–Respect the Hat.

The other night, when words simply weren’t coming, I played a game of Mahjong Titans. My husband discovered me in this pursuit and informed me that I was Disrespecting the Hat. (I was still wearing it.) I realized he was right. Breaks are fine, breaks are necessary, but I shouldn’t wear the Hat during them. When I’m wearing the Hat, it tells not only my family, but me, that I am in a certain place, and while there, I need to dedicate myself to that place.

I think that’s true of all the hats we wear. We need to give each hat its special place and all of our passion while we are wearing it, and we need to be able to put it aside when it’s time to wear another one. Yes, we can stack hats, but let’s face it, we’re not great at any one thing when we’re combining. That’s not to say we can’t carry five or six hats and change very quickly.

What NaNo has taught me is that it is very good to have a Hat that allows me to be and do that Thing that I want. That Thing will not always be the same Thing, but it will always be me. I think I’m going to keep this Hat after the month is over.

My other thought is to Love the Hat You Are Wearing. If you don’t, consider unloading that one. Life is too precious to waste on bad fashion accessories.

Hear, hear. The NaNo experience extends well beyond November and the act of corralling 50,000 words in a single document. Hats off to Becca!

nano-hat-jen.jpgI have no NaNo totem. Unless you count a cup of tea. Which you shouldn’t. So in an act of solidarity and support, I take a totem in Becca’s honor. Sure, I could have done better with a bit of preparation, but I have another 1,000 words to write today on top of a full day’s work. At least it’s not underwear.

Categories: Children's writing

6 replies »

  1. The totem is an awesome idea and I love how you and your family are implementing it, Becca. I have been thinking about NaNo alot this year even though I’m not participating, so I can just guess at how consuming it can be! Keep up the good work. Now I need to find a totem for when I’m designing!

  2. That’s supposed to be me thinking up my latest plot twist. Really, it’s me being confused about where I should look and wondering if I was chopping off my own head. It’s a self-portrait taken in the bathroom mirror. Tricky.