NaNoWriMo Alternatives for the Rest of Us

Once more, I wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo. Turns out, one must start in October… This piece was written at the dc nd of November 2015. Maybe I’ll get it right in 2017.



I won my first writing award in kindergarten. I’m positive it was a made up award, “Longest Story”, and it was technically fan fiction about Snoopy, but until I graduated from college I was always known (among other things) as, “The Writer”.
Then came the health problems. As I was dealing with doctors and hospitals the Internet grew by leaps and bounds. By the time I returned to my “online journal”, now called a “blog”, there were literally millions of other “blogs”. I had taken many writing classes over the years and had never considered even the best writers competition. Now, as I skimmed through the stories, poems, and articles, I was filled with a sense of defeat. I’d beaten the odds against a nasty disease, but I was faced with something I’d never thought possible for me: Writer’s Block.
I was used to writing notes for stories in notebooks and filling at least one of those black and white cardboard covered composition notebooks a month. But as time passed, I realized that I was barely filling one notebook a year.
I am verbose. I am not just A writer; I am The Writer.
Not anymore.
I began a Free Write blog. I’d always enjoyed the Free Writing exercise. I didn’t expect anyone to read it and like to joke about my “two followers”. But I’ve been getting It back. I’ve been getting Ideas and writing them down. I’ve learned not to be so hard on myself and, more importantly, not to compare myself with others. Yes, there are a lot of really good writers out there, whose blogs look like they were done professionally while mine is like a middle school project (done before computers), but that doesn’t take away from my own writing Talent. I’d love to post a blog and have dozens of Likes and Comments; who wouldn’t?
After spending years writing as easily as breathing, followed by years of writer’s block, I’ve realized that I don’t write for other people. I write for myself. I write because I have to; because if I don’t write I will explode or go crazy or… I don’t actually know what would happen because it’s not going to happen. Even if I’m just writing for myself, writing, like breathing, is not something I have a choice about: it’s Life or Death. And I choose Life.


We’re past the hallway mark for NaNoWriMo and a lot if people are finding it more if a challenge than they thought. In my case, Real Life just keeps getting in the way! Don’t they realize they’re interrupting the writing of The Great American Novel? Apparently not.
I came across two blogs that address this very problem and, even better, offer solutions. Here they are:

4 NaNoWriMo Principles for the Rest of Us”@write_practice

3 Alternatives to NaNoWriMo

Blessed Be,
D.K. Stevens


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