Monday, November 1, 2010

NaBloPoMo, Anyone?

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a method by which one attempts to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel between November 1st and November 30th. I'm always pleased to see many of my friends partake; I love any activity that pushes people to write (even if it's not high quality; that's what revision is for, after all). As a writing teacher, I like the idea of folks getting roped in by writing because the act of writing is fun and allows for creativity, after which I hope said writers become even more interested and want to write more.

I, however, have never really tried involving myself in NaNoWriMo, mostly because until fairly recently, I was up to my eyeballs in writing for school, and when someone has been writing papers nonstop for six years, often for multiple English classes at a time, and recently for graduate-level English classes (three to four of those graduate-level English classes a semester for two years), one figures that one has written several novels per month. And one - and by "one" I mean me - needs a mental break from all the writing. 

(I enjoy research, and writing non-fiction, but I never got into it very much, possibly because I was doing so much of it I just got overwhelmed and suffered burnout. Similarly, I suspect that most people associate writing with the forced-upon-you-for-English-class flavor of writing, and often those types of papers are just not interesting. I mean, you have to write things that just aren't always that interesting in order to learn a particular form or style of rhetoric or argumentation. And when you're teaching even one class of English, it's simply not possible to always give every student the opportunity to write what they'd like every time. Sometimes the assignment isn't interesting simply because one doesn't particularly care for the piece of literature in question, or the research isn't something you'd choose. This is more of a problem in lower-level writing and English classes, but I digress.)

Besides which, I have to admit that NaNoWriMo has never quite appealed to me, mental burnout aside. I used to write a lot of creative stories when I was a kid, but somehow I got away from that; probably no real reason for it other than I just stopped enjoying it. However, one of the classes I really enjoyed in grad school was the creative non-fiction class, which allowed me to utilize and integrate research into, for lack of a better phrase, autobiographical sketches that we were assigned. For the first time in a long time, writing was fun again because I could steer the writing in a direction I chose. This style of writing is partly why I enjoy blogging: There's no length requirement, which means I won't feel badly if I don't write 50,000 words; and it's not creative writing, which means I don't have to map out characterization or plot. Creative writing is absolutely a wonderful thing; it's just not my forte.

So when I heard about National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo), I was intrigued. I love blogging, and the "requirement" (such as it is) is this: Post something every day for a month. That's it!

I can do that.

I set up a profile, tapped my blog's RSS feed into it, and I'm ready to roll. The challenge will be seeing how long I can keep this up.


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