NaNoWriMo. It sounds like gibberish. I don’t know who came up with it, but whoever did is a writing genius or a sadistic psycho. No, they are geniuses because they figured out how to get creative juices competitively flowing for stalled writers. Sorry, this isn’t exactly going to be all about NaNoWriMo; it’s going to be all about me, as usual. Like the title says, it’s about how NaNoWriMo broke my writing bones.
As a writer, you go through many different stages in your writing. When I was younger and just starting college, I knew that I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to tell stories and live by my pen. You can tell I’ve seen Becoming Jane one too many times if you get that reference. I always felt like I had a knack for coming up with stories, not very well thought out stories, but I at least could get something out.
When I went to college, it smacked in the face with the hard truth that my writing bones needed breaking. I always liked this as an example of writing. When a bone is broken and not set right, it will not heal correctly. If it doesn’t heal correctly, it has to be broken again.
Before I started seriously studying writing, I hadn’t taken any formal classes to help me. Perhaps my only saving grace is that I read a lot. It wasn’t until I started to learn how to write that I realized there was so much that I didn’t know. A lot of my early writing was full of cliches, and although it may have been “well written,” it wasn’t genuine. My teachers had to break several of my bad habits, some of them persist today, but that’s my fault. That’s what I mean by saying writing bones. Writing bones are the foundation of your writing, the structure of your ability to write. It’s grammar, style, voice, everything that makes you a writer.
My writing bones need breaking, and I think they need it again. They could probably use it right now.
As a college graduate, I figured, “Hey, let’s get a job, let that support me, and later I’ll come back to writing.” It did not happen that way. It actually took me a couple of years to find a full-time job. I had to leave the state to do it too. The funny thing is that while I was struggling with that, writing took over. It kept me sane, and sometimes I think it saved me. Writing is emotional; it’s an outlet that must be used and used often. I felt so many destructive emotions at this point in my life, and that’s how writing saved me.
I took small bites out of my writing initially, and I find myself still doing that more than actually going full out. It has been my crutch and my handicap. I’ve probably mentioned it before, and I’ll probably do it again; fear has always been my downfall. It’s not necessarily that I fear that what I write won’t be good. It’s the fear of diving in the deep end and completely submerging myself into all of this. It holds me back all the time.
When I struggled to find a full-time job, I limited myself to small projects just enough to say I was trying, but not enough to be legitimately working towards something. I kept myself small. Rather than evolving to make this my life, I kept myself small and kept writing as a hobby. It became something it shouldn’t.
I think it’s a mistake not to write as often as I should. Not just for my sanity, but to stretch those writing muscles and evolve. Not keeping up with your writing can cause bad habits. It can feel like a stranger.
How NaNoWriMo Jump-Started Me
A couple of months ago, my work started its version of NaNoWriMo. For those who have not heard of this before, it is a month dedicated to writing. Those who are ambitious enough, it is to help writers start and finish that novel they say they’re going to write and never do.
One of the great things about being a part of this work version of NaNoWriMo is that I could focus on the story and not be too focused on reaching the 50,000 words. At least I’m writing and doing what I’m supposed to do. I never reached the word goal at the end of the month, but I was proud of myself. It got me to feel like I was working towards something. It jump-started me into figuring out how to go about my writing differently. It broke a specific part of my writing bones.
NaNoWriMo broke my writing bones by reminding me that I enjoy doing this. I enjoy talking about writing and books. It reminded me of the relationship I used to have with myself and the written word. It was a relationship that I had stopped nurturing.
I Need to Break More Writing Bones
Traditionally, I like to write at random. I don’t write a story from start to finish. I skip around and write scenes out of order. At some point, I connect them and put them in the correct order. Oddly enough, I think this resonates with how my life is going. I am entirely out of order and trying to get things to connect.
The thing I struggle with the most is finding the time to write. When I come home from work, there is no way I can manage to put together a coherent thought. I want to turn off my brain and watch TV. I don’t even read anymore. I’ve fallen apart as a reader and a writer. Unfortunately, it’s easy to call me out on it, but then what? What good is calling myself out on my crap when I don’t even respond to it? The question is, “Is this a rut?” Yes, yes, it is. My relationship with myself is in a rut.
You hear it all the time as writer’s block or only as being in a rut. I’m starting to think it’s not mainly a block or a rut in writing. It’s with yourself. That’s where I am.
I think, to get out of a rut, I need to feel accountable for the things I’m not doing. Something has to change to get back on the track I am meant to be on. It’s great that NaNoWriMo broke my writing bones, but clearly, I need further writing healing, and that’s on me.
My advice to you, fellow writers and creators, is to break some bones. It’s time I break mine. Stay tuned.
If anyone wants to talk about their block/rut, feel free to get in contact with me.