NanoWrimo

writingfaceNanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month has been happening in November since 1999.  It has grown so big, November has become the international novel writing month. This is my first year participating.

I’ve written a little over 33,000 words of the 50,000 goal this month with five days to go.  I started the process to enjoy the comradery of writing with other writers not necessarily to reach the goal.  I had several reservations about the quality of a book written in a month.  Still I joined, and began to write.

I’m grateful I’m doing Nano, because I learned a lot in the process.  One, I am way too critical while writing the first draft.  I don’t think 50k is enough for a novel, that’s like a novella.  So you are basically writing like a detailed outline to get it out… I’m getting it out.  I’m moving through scenes like nobody’s business.  When you are pressed for time Ego doesn’t have an opportunity to be critical, judgmental and basically slow you down.  Ego even blocks or completely stops people from completing projects.  I don’t have time not to be sure of my words…  More importantly, and this is something I have to remind myself of whenever I am encountering Ego, I can edit when I’m done.  So STFU Ego.

One of the wonderful things about just getting it out is the layering.  I actually write everything straight out then go back and organize it into dialog.  In the re-reading I’m adding words.  Sometimes a chapter at first is around 800 words.  After I go back and really live through the characters I’m usually ending around 1800 per chapter and some days I write two chapters.  I haven’t been writing consistently.  So I am required to write more whenever I do show up at the laptop.  Which is cool, it means I can’t mess around…

Which brings me to my next thought, I’ve also noticed who supports my goals.  Which equates to who supports me.  I told everyone I’m going to do my best to complete 50,000 words this month.  Still people planned things for  me in November and took it personal when I declined.  Some of them were successful in making me feel guilty which made me consider my boundaries all over my life.  Then the day to day of working and doing all the things required to be a functioning adult like making lunches, dinner, doing laundry, paying bills, getting grocery and maintaining relationships.  I can’t sit on the phone and talk all day.  I can’t text all day.  I’m in my head writing and working out scenes so that when I sit down I can get them out.  I was really hurt when I noticed people I love basically saying, let me interrupt your goals so you can listen to my day because completing a novel is not a real goal.

I sound whiny, but they’ve literally said things like, “well, you don’t really have to write today, do you?”  “What is the point of you writing every day, even I take days off from my job, and this writing doesn’t even pay?”  I actually don’t write every day.  And I actually do earn royalties.  On top of that, I wrote before I published.  Getting royalties is a bonus not a motivator or a requirement for me to write.  Why do I have to validate how I spend my time based on monetary gain?  Writing for me is a spiritual thing, it helps me get out of my own junk and makes me a better human being.  But even if it didn’t why can’t the people I love support my goals simply because they are important to me?  Do they not value me?  This is a heart breaking question I’ve been contemplating…  I can’t think about it too much though, I’ve got to write.

Another thing Nano has done is allowed me not to take it personal and to help me assert myself.  I don’t even have time to tell my loved ones how they are assholes for not supporting my goals.  One, I’ve got to write.  Two I have friends doing Nano, who ask me what I’ve written and keep me posted on their writing. In addition to this and the biggest part is, Nano introduces you to an entire group  of writers.  There are “Write-In’s” all over my city and your city, too.  If you go sign up on their site, they’ll give you a list of writers and events in your neighborhood.

About my city and the writing events.  I actually joined Nano after noticing that several libraries and coffee shops were hosting writing meetings.  I mean people actually meeting just to write is not common.  Every other group I know is about critiquing work, sharing work as a motivation to produce work or looking for readers to do writer peer editing.  I didn’t know any groups just writing.  The funniest thing is, my life hasn’t allowed me to get to any of those writing meetings that were the motivation for me joining Nano.  Lately, I’ve been telling myself, I am going to go to a “write-in” before the month ends.  Now I am forgiving myself that I probably won’t make one… Because the goal isn’t even to write with other people but to just write.  The write-ins are support for your writing in an otherwise hostile, not writer friendly society. LOL! Turns out there may be a lot of assholes out there trying to keep their writer friends from ever completing a book.

I must admit, I have written with friends in online setting.  We literally check in and then go work on our respective projects.  I hadn’t planned to finished but then something hit me and I’ve been pushing right along.  Going forward, whenever finishing a project I’ve learned the importance of deadlines to just finish a rough draft. I also know who doesn’t care about me reaching my personal goals and I can deal with that accordingly.

This is a lot of words I could have put in my novel, but I wanted to get this off my chest.  I’m looking forward to having a very productive writing day.  I’m looking forward to writing the bulk of what’s left if not finishing in the next two days. Good luck to all the other writers getting their Nano on! Write On!!!

Man declares he’s not gay anymore in viral video from church convocation

I’m praying that people will stop being the victims of Bible abuse. I am praying that black people will stop pushing the Bible as God’s official word as it supports slavery, rape, patriarchy and war. I believe the Bible like all books can teach powerful lessons when taught in it’s proper context. This video makes me sad.

Editing Poems vs. Altering Poems

editingpoetry

I’ve been contemplating whether I should edit my poetry outside of the emotional and spiritual spaces they are written in.  I’m contemplating how to edit a poem without altering it’s essence.

I wonder if I give my poems more clarity when “correcting” or editing them.  Aside from adding a word that I may have missed in the stream of consciousness I was writing in… do I actually make it more “correct” and more comprehensible?  Or when I’m editing am I just altering the vibe?  I feel I’ve ruined some poems that didn’t need my ego to strip them of their truth,  humanity and real beauty… to fit into whatever I believe is acceptable poetry… or so that I don’t feel I’ve betrayed myself by being too vulnerable and maybe giving too much of myself away.

I’ve changed poems to protect lovers from how I feel, how I see them and to protect our privacy… but why write a beautiful poem stripped of the lessons learned from my actual life to hide from the few who would even know who we are and what they are reading?

I don’t spare myself in writing.  I really can’t spare myself and grow.  When I write I come to be better and know better… and hopefully to not only have the wisdom to make better choices but find the courage.  So I admit when I’ve made a poor choice, feel selfish or caused harm.  I think admitting that I’ve made a mistake is how I remain open spiritually and creatively.  Which has made me a better friend, lover, artist and an overall better person.  I don’t spare myself in poems because poetry is how I do my spiritual work.  I don’t paint myself a hero, a victim, a villain or a damsel in distress.  I also think that accepting either of these roles as a condition would limit me from reaching my full potential…

In fact, I am so honest about myself I once had a lover say, she didn’t feel she needed to grow or change based on my poetry… Through my poetry, she saw herself as perfect… or that I didn’t find flaw with her… Because I lied about who she was, by omitting any challenges I had with her in my poetry.  Then, I hadn’t learned that it isn’t kind to protect people from our truth and maybe their truth.  How we see people isn’t always their truth… in love though, we each get an opportunity to see ourselves through different eyes.

Then, I was younger, I also think my thought process then was not to focus on the negative and to accept people as who they are.  I still think that acceptance is real love, but there is a fine line between accepting who people are and accepting how they treat you and how you feel as a result of that treatment.  It’s also hard to remain objective when we’re overwhelmed with hurt, disappointment, guilt or shame so that we can tell the difference between what we feel is happening in contrast to what is factually happening.  Feelings are usually rooted in a past experience and can undermine experiencing what is happening in the moment.  Our past lessons help us build, but they can also be destructive… There is thin line there… There is a thin line between standing up for ourselves, communicating how we are to be treated and trying to change people… I’m usually writing about the thin lines between… I’m usually trying to decipher what battles to fight.  I’ve always been, and still am focused on the big picture.  Also, when I decide to be in love with someone I also decide to always see the best in them.  Which means, I don’t ever see their intentions as harmful, so it’s hard when their behavior actually is harmful and I miss it.

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Even then, I am always trying to find the balance, weighing things against my own actions towards myself.  Certainly I’ve made choices that haven’t served me.  I’ve definitely made choices that were against my internal spiritual knowing and even sometimes against spiritual warnings that have hurt me.  I’ve had to forgive myself for those choices.  Even now, I still on occasion go against myself… Sometimes I don’t know if it’s really my spirit speaking or fear or ego or the programming that tells me I cannot do things, or that I should not do things. That is my battle to know when it is actually my spirit speaking and to have the discipline and courage to heed it.  So I am always in a place of accepting the choices I’ve made that don’t serve my greatest good and forgiving myself… Knowing that, I am also forgiving of others who make choices that harm me, because I know it is not my intent to harm me, and if I know someone loves me I also believe it is not their intent to harm me…  Intentions don’t always translate into actions and words as often as emotions and impulse does.  So in love I want to give the benefit of doubt.  In poems I want to give the benefit of doubt… but sometimes impulse, ego, emotion or processing the current moment from the past nominates me as my own warrior, savior, or makes me a victim or villain…  All of that is important to write and be… All of it is human.  All of it allows me an opportunity to examine

But there is another thin line… Knowing someone does not have the intent to harm and deciding they are too destructive and you may have to let go to save yourself…  There is also another thin line, accepting that we are our own advocates/saviors while not in the same breath seeing ourselves as God.  There is a fine line between accepting our divinity and not feeling we are THE DIVINE.

So my poems are streams of consciousness written as I process feelings, actions, conversations and inaction.  When I edit, I want to leave the lessons or emotions or thought process in tact without judging whether it is wrong or right in tact.  Especially because, sometimes I return to a poem when I’ve learned better and I don’t want to edit it to show the lesson I’ve learned, that was missing when it was originally missing.  I want to leave in tact the process of learning and deciphering.  Actually, now that I’m writing and processing all this… I think I will also write another poem in the space of realizing what I’ve learned when I feel like I might be altering the original work.  I’m going to try and be conscious of the shift from editing, correcting for better comprehension to altering and changing the essence.

I’ve appreciated this opportunity to process. Thank you for being here to witness it… Love Love Love

 

Writer Blues

blue I know that rejection is a part of being a new writer.  Rejection is also a huge part of exploring

ways to make money writing.  I apply to so many things, it’s easy to… I wouldn’t say forget… but not to anticipate a response while still remaining hopeful.  You have to think about the benefits of winning or being funded for the motivation to even apply or subject yourself to someone else’s judgment.

Lately, I’ve not been chosen for grants and lost a competition.  I’m sad.  I don’t write to win competitions or grants, but when I enter my writing into something I hope it will be successful based on the standards of those judges.  I hope each book will at least pay for the next one.

I don’t know. I’m a little discouraged and hurt.  I love writing, but I also love spending time with people I love, spiritual experiences, travelling, dining out and experiencing new things… Between writing, working and just doing all the routine survival things required I don’t have the energy to actually live.   I wish I made more or at least owned more of my time. I wish writing would free me from working a nine to five.

It will one day.  I just wish it was today.