1667 words a day, for 30 days…

I’m in. I was on the line because I have no clue what to write about. I can write things that have already happened, but write things that are make-belief? We’ll see. I have no plot ideas, but No Plot, No Problem, right?

What this means: probably a whole lot less blogging during this month. But I have a few fun things planned for November that you will like, I promise.

So: goals for November include writing a novel, continue my morning routine (ie: running), hold down a full-time job, and not die.

Perfect.

Anyone else other than Beth, with me in this thing? Tanya?

10 reasons why you should participate in NaNoWriMo this year

In two days National Novel Writing Month begins. It’s a month where a bunch of aspiring writers/creatives get together online and in
their communities with the goal of writing a 50, 000 word novel in the 30 days of November. That’s a small novel around the size of the Great Gatsby which you likely read in High School.

I first found out about it online when I was just two months into my degree. I was eager to try but I thought, ‘this is crazy, I’m super busy with my university classes, how could I ever find the time?’ and then I realized something important: my life was only going to get busier and busier from that year on (which I was right about). So I decided to do it.

It was marvellously thrilling. Not every step of the way, there were times when I hated it and wanted to quit. But 30 days isn’t that long. The story itself was crap and I dealt with the concept very childishly, but hey, I was 18 and I wrote a novel.

10 reasons why you should do nanowrimo this year:

  1. It will open your mind creatively.
  2. It will help you realize the things that aren’t all that important in your schedule.
  3. You can draw off this experience of doing something hard and finishing it.
  4. You can say you’ve written a novel.
  5. You will learn something about yourself.
  6. You will learn to write every day.
  7. You’ll have the thrill of writing in coffee shops, and staying up to bizarre hours, all while holding down a job/degree.
  8. You don’t have to be a perfect writer (see No Plot? No Problem!).
  9. You will build confidence.
  10. Win or lose, you will rock for even trying.

Like I said, when I look back I knew my story was pretty awful. The point was never to be a good writer, but to get the process of writing started. I had to kill the snob in me who said, “I will only write if it’s good.” You’ll probably have to kill the snob in you too. THAT’S ALWAYS A GOOD THING. Writers who don’t write aren’t writers. They’re just people who like literature.

So go sign up and maybe even get connected with people in your community who are doing it with you. Maybe you’ll find a kindred spirit writerly friend!

As an aside, every year I contemplate doing it again. After browsing that website, it really made me want to do it again. I have approximately ONE day to decide. Gulp.

Update on adjusting my morning routine

Remember when we talked about our morning routine and I wondered if it was even possible if I could become one of those regular human beings who can wake up at a reasonable time in the morning? Or at the very least that it would be a bit more normal for me to be awake at 7am.

I can’t even believe I’m about to write this. I had a celebratory moment with my mentor as I shared this with her. “I can’t believe I’m hearing you say this!” was her exact words and you know what? SHE’S RIGHT.

I wake up every morning either right before my husband’s 6:45 alarm or even 15 minutes before.

WHAT THE CRAP.

Also, I’ve managed to survive every day that I’ve woken up at this hour without a nap.

WHO AM I?

I cannot give enough props to the light therapy because it’s all thanks to that blessed light. In effect, it re-calibrates your circadian rhythm so if you look at it in the morning when you wake up, it will make sure you keep waking up at that time. Glorious.

But what about the actual components of my morning? How is that going?

Exercise, Center myself, See my husband, and Day Prep.

  • I’m waking up on time. I appreciate having that time with the light to keep waking up. I’ve noticed it takes me about 45 minutes to become a real human being in the morning, and so it’s helpful for me to stay in bed and under my covers and just click on that light.
  • Then I pull out my journal and Bible from the bedside table, still under the covers. Having it right beside my bed makes it super easy to move on to. I keep the light on while I’m journaling.
  • If it’s a Tuesday or a Thursday, I will grab a glass of water and drink that while I’m snuggling into the lights’ rays so that I’m well hydrated for my run. (Seriously, I can’t believe I’m writing ANY of this. 6:45? Run? Hydration? Miracles do happen, people. I am evidence of that).
  • On those days, I eat a bowl of cereal, suit up, grab my C25K podcast and hit the bike path by the Lachine canal in my hood.
  • I come back home, stretch and multitask as I read my iPad, enjoy the props my hubby gives me for running,shower, eat more,  and peace. Also, I put on clothes before I peace, but I think you got the drift.

Currently that schedule is pretty tight to fit everything in. I need to be more intentional about not reading twitter while I stretch after my run and think more through my day. Or find a way to add that elsewhere.

So far, though, I’m still in the honeymoon phase. It’s still exciting and fun and I’m running off the thrill of feeling like a totally different person. If I learned anything from writing that novel in 30 days when I was in first year university, though, soon the excitement will wear off and I’ll be stuck with a commitment I no longer like but am determined to finish for bragging rights.

Finding that middle road

When Willy and I were dating it was pretty clear that we were coming from two distinctly different planets when it came to our music taste. He shared with me a song by Corb Lund, I shared with him a song by Broken Social Scene. The sole things these two artists shared in common was that they’re both technically Canadian Indie artists.

That day when we exchanged those texts, I think we both had a moment of shock like, “Ok, so this is different.” In fact, Willy tells a story of how growing up he always thought marriage was about ‘sacrificing’ by repainting the living room a different shade of beige to appease the wife who desire change. “I didn’t think it would mean I’d have to listen to this!”

To his credit (and my great pleasure), Willy has never complained about my music. But I have also really tried to make sure I don’t drive him to it, either. Since music is tremendously important to me (it’s a life-giving force, even!) I’ve tried to find a middle ground of music that we both enjoy.

Guess where we found it? Hipster-Pseudo-bluegrass/country!

Here are some of the artists we like best:

  • Joel Plaskett: Example here and here
  • Mumford and Sons (not Canadian, but definitely pseudo-bluegrass) – here and here
  • Civil Wars (thanks Beth!): I die every time I hear this song. And this one is great.

As this is being published we’ll be en route to a marriage conference put on by Family Life in Mont Tremblant. I plan on introducing him to the Great Lake Swimmers (concrete heart) as we drive through the gorgeous Quebec countryside. I’m confident he’ll like the band.

Just like the in our relationship sometimes we need to find the middle road  in order to find moments of peace and enjoyment, we also need to chill out, step away from pushing towards our goals and being productive and just enjoy life.

That’s what I plan on doing this weekend with my husband. You should, too. (Except not with my husband).

#journalpeek

You can’t just pull down a box of journals without rifling through them. As I was looking through them I found some pretty sweet memories. I did a #journalpeek on instagram the other day where I showed the entry of the beginning of Willy and my relationship. Two years ago last week.

As I was going through those journals I was reminded just how much I doodle and write messages to myself in ways that would stand out to me. I took some photos and made a ghetto collage of some of them.

This makes looking back in them a lot funner for me!

Also, next week is the 2 year anniversary of Willy and my first date evar!

Fresh pages every day

Last week I finished another journal. I pulled down my box of journals from my bedroom closet and was surprised at how heavy it was. As I looked through it I was struck by how many words I had written, how many thoughts and ideas I had captured on paper over the years. Each time period is identified by the style of journal. Spiral notebooks for my teenage years, covered in bright colours or patterns and Moleskines for the adult years. 27 in total.

You can see I like the colour pink.

Journaling has been a way for me to write out my thoughts and to privately capture what spills out of my insides. As an extrovert, it has become a way for me to process ideas, thoughts and emotions before they’re ready for public exposure. I was first inspired to keep a journal after my mom gave me one of hers as a young girl. I loved the idea that I was reading my mom’s thoughts from when she was a teenager, learning from lessons she had forgotten she had recorded. I wanted to do the same.

Sometimes I go back and read what I wrote and am surprised. I learned that already, cause I feel like I’m still learning that! I wrote that? Because it’s not half bad! It’s also encouraging to see how far I’ve come.

This summer I started one morning reflecting on how great it is that every day is new, waiting for me to write a new story. Every day is a fresh page. I don’t have to continue from the previous day, I can start all over again if I want to whether it’s in act or attitude.

Writing helps me have perspective, it helps me process and it helps me progress.

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