Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Like nanny-nanny-boo-boo. Only for writers.

NaNoWriMo...betcha can't say it three times fast! And please, not in my presence. So I signed up for the NaNoWriMo thing. Why you ask? Because I'm a glutton for punishment? Because who doesn't like starting the holiday season already completely bug eyed and sleep deprived? Because...well...because I wanted (still want) to write a novel. And being taunted and pressured has always worked well for me. Really, I'm that girl who got up at 6 am the morning a paper was due and cranked it out in two hours and got an A+, even though others worked on theirs for two weeks and didn't pass. Writing is just what I do. Always have. From the minute I picked up my first crayon and learned to write my name. It's an obsession. I don't write because I want to, I write because I have to. I have dozens of old notebooks filled with bits of writing. A scene here, a dialogue there, an old poem. I breathe, therefore I write. And it's not always good. And it's not always worth saving. Some of it is major crap. But I keep it because who knows, maybe it'll will be inspiration.

I've always wanted to write a novel. I've written poems. I'm really comfortable with short fiction. But a novel seemed like such a stupendous task. That's a lot of words. And a lot of time. And for what? Just because you finished doesn't mean anyone is ever going to read it. See the writing gig seems to me like a crap shoot. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. No promises. No guarantees. And honestly, I was super afraid. What if I sat there and nothing came out. And actually, that's never ever happened to me. But the fear is still there. Or what if I started and didn't finish? That seems like an epic fail. Or what if it's no good? I had a million reasons not to try. Until NaNoWriMo. So now that I've started? It's good. And it's fun. I still procrastinate. I'm still behind in my word counts. My plot has taken on a new twist. My characters seem to have a mind of their own. And I'm constantly asking people "what if"? And it feels good.

Now one thing I've always loved is when writers (especially my all time number one favorite, Stephen King) include how they thought of a particular story. Or how they write. You know, what helps them get the ole creative juices flowing. I think it's fascinating to find out how creative people create. So browsing the web last night while trying to sign in to NaNo (don't know whether it was the site or my computer but something wasn't cooperating) I came across this article, How To Write a Great Novel. And it was filled with authors (none of whom I'd ever read but apparently prize winners) and how they write. It was amazing. And the most comforting part? They're all scared. They all have the same insecurity about what if the words don't come? So obviously, I'm in good company. Although I was a little scared by the amount of planning and plotting some do and the elaborate methods. I mean I have a few scribbled post its but no super color coded outline!!

The other thing I pondered last night was when exactly do you call yourself a writer? See to me, I've always thought that it wasn't fair to call yourself a writer until you'd been paid for your work. Or published. Had some kind of recognition of your craft. When people ask what I do, I never say "oh, I'm a writer". I tell them I'm a Domestic Goddess. But I found tons of blogs and homepages through NaNo of other people who do call themselves writers even though they've never published. This is a dilemma for me. Really. Hubby says that since I had poetry published in high school and college newspapers I get to call myself a writer. But I don't know. Maybe I'm still waiting on the validation. What does anyone else think? Do you call yourself a writer? And if so, why? If not, why not? What inspires you? How do you write? Where do you write? Fascinate me...

happy writing to all,


  1. I signed up for NaNo and am also behind on the words.

    How about you call yourself an aspiring writer or writer in the works if you feel you have to be published to validate calling yourself one.

    I think the sign of any writing project is when the characters take you on their journey.

  2. I think when you believe you are a writer - you are a writer. Are you writing? When you are breathing, could you not be referred to as a breather? I do not refer to myself as a writer ... a blogger, yes - but a writer, no. I do not believe. I have huge binders full of my words ... all fumbling along my little way - but I do not believe I could carry it off - therefore, I do not consider myself as such.

    For me, the biggest hurdle would have to be sustaining a story line. I have written scenes and shorts, but never anything longer than a ten minute read. I have a book FILLED with poetry I have written over the years .. one was even published in a book celebrating survivors of rape. It was called: No Victim, I.(the book)

    I think you believe, Spot... and I admire that about you.

  3. nanowrimo,nanowrimo,nanowrimo. 3 times, no problem. I do not fancy myself a writer. I'm more of a jester. Yep thats it, a jester. Oh, and a student of life. Yeah, I'm the class clown at life school!

  4. Little Miss~ I didn't know you were doing NaNo! Add me as a buddy if you like. I'm princess.spot of course. I like aspiring. I think if I complete the novel I'm going to make the switch to writer though. And a journey? Heck, my characters have bought me a one way ticket through some very dark territory in a car with no brakes. But since I'm writing horror fiction, I guess that's good. =]

    Danica~ with that much back catologue, I think you have to go with writer. I'm suprising myself with the storyline. I was really worried about that too. But it just seems to go merrily on it's way, carrying me along with it. Let's hope the stream doesn't dry up! Indeed 8177 words so far, it is definately the longest piece I've ever written and it seems to me I'm only at the beginning. Thanks for believing in my belief.

    Mark~ You are totally the class clown. But that's good right? Because everyone needs comic relief. And we all know that sometimes the funny is harder to do then the serious. I'm amazed by your ever abundant smile-making ability. Ooo...maybe that's your super power.


  5. an english professor once said to us that if the desire to write was not actually backed up with the act of writing, then the desire was not to write.
    i don't know if this is even relevant to your thought process there. what you said just sparked that memory.

    also, eff semantics, i wrote long before the first blog.

  6. Hi Spot!

    I hope you don't mind me commenting. I saw your post on Heather's roll and it said nanny-nanny-boo-boo and I had to look because I haven't written any words for my NaNo since ??? last Friday. *hangs head in shaaaame*

    This passion of yours to write inspires me to continue despite my measly word count. I really believe YOU are a writer, just from reading this post. It's heart, soul and mind your desire in spite of the fear.

    I think you will succeed at NaNo. I think you'll rock it.


    Stephen King is one of my favorites too. Especially when he did The Regulators and Desperation mirroring characters. That was awesome! Of course, The Stand was my all time favorite, one of the few books I have read more than once.

    Go Spot Go!

  7. I love Stephen King's book On Writing. Fabulous book. And helpful. Plus it makes me feel better to know his books were rejected several times and now look at him...

    I do call myself a writer but I quickly add, "I haven't published anything yet.."

  8. Aw, sweetie...you're totally feeling what (I believe) we all feel! It's difficult because we don't have this audience right in front of us to tell us whether they enjoy what they're reading. I do believe that writers, as a whole, are an insecure bunch. I know for me, I can never hear "Bravo!" enough!

    I started calling myself a writer when I got published. Just local mags & paper, but I got the bug!

  9. I really enjoyed reading this post! It was fun and made me laugh, esepcially, "I tell them I'm a Domestic Goddess."

    Good luck on the NaNoWrMo, and no, I can't say it fast. You made some really good points, and it was helpful.

  10. GP~ I was told that too (it must be standard in the college english prof handbook) that it's not enough to want to write unless you practice your craft daily. So we all get extra credit, right?? Lol. Thanks for the coment!

    Angelia~ well welcome! And I'm glad you stopped by. This NaNo thing is rough and now my son is constantly chasing me back into my...um...office/family room saying "write already!" You should add me to your buddies. It's princess.spot (original, I know). Love The Stand. But my all time fave is Duma Key. Under the Dome comes to me next week and then it will be a real struggle to write instead of read! Thanks for your kind words.

    Kathryn~I think most creative people are insecure. It's all a part of the madness that makes us great! Wait?! We are great, right??

    Unabridgedgirl~ Thank you for stopping by and commenting! Welcome welcome welcome! I'm glad I was helpful. Well, I am a domestic goddess, even if nobody pays me for that either!


  11. You said it yourself, Spot. You write because it's who you are. Therefore, you're a writer. And you're awesome at it. So embrace it, stop trying to justify your gift and go ball's out this month! You have definitely inspired me to write with purpose, even if what I write only makes sense to me. And I thank you for that. So keep on truckin' writer lady!

  12. Well, I really don't belong in this post but since I am your friend, I'm going to say...
    YOU ARE A WRITER! The check is in the mail!

    I wouldn't dare call myself a writer. I can barely spell and forget about forming sentences in the proper way. I will have a book though. My brother says..after I am dead he's going to take all my blogs and make a book out of them. HA..that will be one boring book LOL

    Get all your supplies..food, drinks and pillow. Sit back and relax and let your mind wonder. Follow your son's orders and you'll be done in no time.

  13. Hi, thanks for reading my stuff! We have a lot in common, you and I. I wrote my first novel this summer. I'm a writer because I write. That's it. You'll be a published writer, then an acclaimed writer, then a bestselling writer, but all those are just the adjectives. You can let yourself be the noun. Kathryn is awesome!

  14. Spot - OK, I'm gonna step out and risk sounding like a cheerleader here for you...

    I'm reminded of this quote by Henry Ford: "Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right."

    I happen to think you can write (and that you are a writer). Do you?

  15. Mindy~ your writing always makes sense to me and always makes me giggle too. I think that makes you a writer as well! Thanks for the encouragement!

    Heather~ Why is he waiting until you die?? That seems kind of opportunistic. How on earth will you enjoy the fame posthumously? Thank you also for the encouragement.

    Tina~ Kathryn is awesome! But so are you. The sheer volume of your writing amazes me and then the fact that it's so well crafted knocks me over. And I'm glad that when your book is published, I'll be able to say "omg! I totally read her blog before she was famous!" Thanks for commenting!

    Cynica~ What an awesome quote. I guess he thought he could! Yes, I do think I am. I just feel funny about saying it. And I'm glad you think I am too!


  16. Now that you put it that way...I think if I'm still around in 20 yrs, I'll make him do it then. LOL