NaNoWriMo

introverted extrovert

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November is done. And so is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I did not officially enter but I had a writing accountability partner, Lawrence. He made his goal of 50,000 words!! Whoo hoo for Lawrence!  I did not have a goal but I wrote 28,000 words! Most of my words went towards a daily devotional but, when I was absolutely stuck, during my third week, I started a short story.  

And isn't that a misnomer? Starting a short story but not finishing? Especially when it only needs to be 3,000 words maximum! 

The daily devotional focuses on the month of November. May for the Southern Hemisphere. I wanted to deal with the issues of short days, cold days, and days that might feel hopeless or hard for some people. It's a difficult time of the year when the sun hides more than it shines. 

I often find November invigorating but I'm an introvert and a writer! I enjoy spending time alone. And it's especially helpful for me because I am a pastor of a local church and pastors, by the nature of their vocation, are called upon to behave as extroverts.  

When I take the Myers-Briggs assessment tool, my results place me near the middle of the Introversion-Extroversion continuum.  But I digress!

The daily devotional is 30 days long and focuses on the themes of letting go, falling, death, and unexpected as I take cues from the leaves of the trees during this time between the Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice.

 

a short blog post during NaNo

It's NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. I'm not officially signed up to NaNo but I am working on a new project, day by day.

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My novel, in its fourth draft, is still out with a couple (one-and-a-half to be exact) beta readers and I'm giving it a rest as its opening chapter is not working. I need to let it sit and think about it from afar.

My new Work in Progress is non-fiction. My first book, Disturbing Complacency: Preparing for Christmas, is a book of daily devotions for the Christian season of Advent. 

I always thought I should do Lent and Easter next. It makes sense, right? And I have one started, many years ago. But only a couple of devotions, a couple of days are done. I have no enthusiasm for the project yet. 

However, I became really excited with the thought of writing a daily devotional for the month of November (or the month of May for people who live in the Southern Hemisphere). There's just something about the darkness and the short days and the blusteriness of this month, that grabs me.

And...better yet! I have an accountability partner. We facebook message each other at the end of the day with our word counts. What a blessing. 

Are you NaNo-ing? 

A quiet stillness

It’s October. A time for wood-burning candles that pop and snap, for steaming cappuccinos (decaffeinated please), and entering the threshold into the dark time of the year.

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The streets are littered with yellow and orange leaves. There’s outdoor work to be done but most of it will wait until next year—painting the other two sides of the shed, painting the deck floor, digging up the patch of dirt to plant tomatoes.

And for the writers among us, we are 15-days away from NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

I’ve not yet participated in NaNoWriMo. Writing 50,000 words in a month that holds a couple of birthdays, the Thanksgiving celebration, and a fun but frenetic day of Christmas candy making is too intimidating. And I’m still working on my first novel.

However, I am there in spirit. There’s something about the barrenness of November that lends itself to the pursuit of a creative endeavor. Even with the revising of a story. There’s something about going ever deeper into the lives of our characters, of polishing the plot, of shining the light brighter on a certain scene That’s enthralling.

A couple of years ago, I took a week of vacation to go to a retreat home. An acquaintance who owns a second home in a small village, situated mid-hillside, overlooking the Mississippi River. I stayed there three nights. And I couldn’t get online with my computer although I could read my writing blogs via my phone. I’ve refused to access my various emails and facebook pages through my phone). And there was no television. Only the big window which overlooked the river to watch the eagles and the barges.

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That disconnect? That silence? Broken only by a wood-burning candle or Advent songs I had brought along? A balm to my soul. 

Although these short days are hard, especially when they are grey and cloudy, they are blessed days. A time for mystery. A time for the dark soils of our souls to be fallow, to lie still, and gather energy for the spring that always follows.