2011 – The last time I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and the only year out of 5 that I crossed the finish line.
Yes, I wrote over 50,000 words in 30 days and did so as a single mom working full-time while raising two kids AND blogged regularly! I even wrote guest posts for other blogs, including the Pep-Talk variety for other WriMos! WHEW.
No sooner had I accomplished my goal, though, when something really weird happened: I lost all motivation to write and stopped almost completely. No more novel writing, no more blogging. In fact, I stopped writing anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary, specifically, journaling and whatever was needed to fulfill my professional obligations.
REALLY weird. And the burn-out or whatever it was lasted for years.
I learned a lot about myself from 5 years of NaNoWriMo-ing, though. I learned the early morning hours are my most creative, and that it’s HUGELY frustrating to need to stop in the middle of The Flow because Duty Calls. I experienced how elusive, magical and fickle The Muse can be. And, perhaps most importantly, I discovered writing fiction isn’t really my thing. My natural inclination leans towards storytelling based upon my own experiences. Real Life Stuff.
But I think that is about to change.
A couple months ago, while on a lunch and shopping date with a girlfriend, I had the most amazing encounter . WE had the most amazing encounter, I should say. And Thank The Writing Gods I had a witness to all that happened. It all started with a unplanned stop at an antique store in the Old Towne district of Tustin. We weren’t sure if the shop was still opened since the sign in the window said “Open”, the sign on the door said “Closed”, but a bunch of framed art was still outside on the sidewalk. So Girlfriend went to see if we could get in, and after she waved an “OK”, I got out of the car and went immediately to the art on the sidewalk. One piece in particular caught my eye: Framed in old Walnut, it’s a large 3 x 4 oil painting…of trees.
Here’s a close up of it….
Those who know me know I am a Tree Person. Our home is surrounded by them and we love camping in the middle of them. A Tree Hugger for decades, I’ve hiked miles to embrace the oldest living ones on Earth (in the Ancient Bristle Cone Pine Forest). I’ve blogged about them (Like HERE and HERE), painted them, planted them and every room in our home has some sort of homage to The Tree.
So this old painting really spoke to me on several levels. After a day of fruitless shopping, I thought I had finally found something worthy of taking home – until I saw the price tag.
Anyway, we went inside to look around. It was your typical antique shop in that it was so PACKED with all manner of collectible, vintage, and antique goodies, we could barely squeeze through the displays. But we did, making our way eventually to the back of the shop and THAT is where it all happened.
I’m not going to tell the story here (sorry), but I am going to tell the story and I’m going to use NaNoWriMo2017 as my kick-in-the-literary-ass to write it. Yes, I’ll still work on the cookbook. Or not. But I have to do this. I mean, I have to. The first thing my friend and I did when we got into the car to leave that day was to turn to each other, wide eyed with amazement, and simultaneously say, “WHAT JUST HAPPENED?” In fact, it was Deb who first told me, “You HAVE to write that down!” And her encouragement hasn’t stopped. So, I’m going to. I feel like if I don’t, I will regret it for the rest of my life.
And the old painting? Well, it’s hanging right here over my desk while I’m typing this. How THAT came to be is part of the story as well, and another reason I know I have to do this. Why?
Because Trees Talk, don’t ‘cha know?
November 1st is fast approaching. If YOU are participating in NaNoWriMo this year, please let me know! I would love to be part of your posse and lend you my support! You’ll find me over there under the pen name JaneBond.