NaBloPoMo 2016

Each year, I make my best attempt to blog every day of November. Usually I only make it until about day ten then attempt to stretch it by responding to writing prompts or pulling random photos from the Internet.

…and I’m not necessarily planning to do better this year, though I do have a plan. I came up with a quick list as I was eating my breakfast this morning:

  1. Intro post
  2. Lizzie update (lots o’photos)
  3. WIP update
  4. Fall in VA (photo heavy post)
  5. Dishcloth FOs
  6. Harper’s Ferry
  7. Mail stats
  8. Wreath FOs (yes, I added wreath making to my craftiness)
  9. WIP update
  10. Uhhhh…
  11. Return to sock knitting
  12. Shenandoah trips of 2016
  13. Uhhh…
  14. New hair color – 2 weeks later (just dyed it last night, all by myself)
  15. Uhhh…
  16. WIP update
  17. Lizzie update (’cause she’ll have done something cute by then)
  18. Coworker knits
  19. Knife skills class / return to cooking
  20. Recipe sharing
  21. What I’m thankful for
  22. Germany Pt 1
  23. Germany Pt 2
  24. Germany Pt 3
  25. Germany Pt 4
  26. Germany Pt 5
  27. Germany Pt 6
  28. Germany Pt 7 (what? we were there for nearly 3 weeks)
  29. Uhhh….
  30. Wrap-up post

See? Much more of a plan. Only “what the heck do I write about?” days in there, versus my usual handful of ideas and lots of blanks.

Anyone else out there participating? Anyone else out there, period?

I’m a failure and that’s okay

When I signed up for this thing, I knew it would be hard. If have to take time every day to write something to post. I made a giant list of ideas of all of the things I could write about. I scheduled time each evening to write. I told Matt about my goal so he could provide me support.

But, still, I failed. I didn’t write a thing yesterday for the blog. I took some photos and had this great idea of walking you through my Saturday. Boring, perhaps, but it was something.

Then I realized what I was doing. Yes, I love to write and I liked the challenge of having to come up with something I was comfortable sharing here daily. But I wasn’t as much a part of my life because of it. It wasn’t the time but the mental attention I had to give it. I couldn’t get it off my mind when I was supposed to be giving Matt or Squirms or other people my attention. I was so tuned in to finding writing topics, things just slipped me by.

It was particularly bad early this week. I knew Matt and Squirms would be out of town later in the week and I treated them like normal days. They didn’t need all of my attention all the time, it was just two days away, but I didn’t give them any extra hugs or tell Squirms I was just going away for a little while. I was beyond excited to have that time, all that extra time between work and sleep to write and take photos and have great blog posts.

I blog because I want to record what goes on in my life and you have to actually live your life if you want to have something to record. And you can’t do that if you focus so much in having to produce something daily. Or, at least, I can’t. This, then, is likely to be my last NaBloPoMo attempt. But, don’t worry, I have no plans for radio silence, either.

More Natalie Says…

Whenever I feel like I need to write but can’t come up with something to actually write about or need general inspiration, I turn to Natalie Goldberg and either my Kindle or paperback copy of Writing Down the Bones. I turn to a random chapter and start reading until I get inspired. She’s full of advice about how to write, what to write about, but there’s also something about her words themselves, how she describes things that pulls me in. It wants me to be like her, to write more but also to write in such a way that I have most accurately captured whatever it is I want to say.

With the month almostĀ half over, I’m sure I’m not the only NaBloPoMo-er looking for things to write about. And, of course, Natalie has plenty of ideas. So, let’s see what Natalie says.

  1. Talk about the quality of the light coming in through your window.
  2. Begin with “I remember.” Write lots of small memories. If you fall into one large memory, write that.
  3. Take something you feel strongly about, whether it is positive or negative, and write about it as though you love it. Go as far as you can, writing as though you love it, then flip over and write about the same thing as though you hate it. Then write about it perfectly neutral.
  4. Choose a color – for instance, pink – and take a fifteen-minute walk. On your walk notice whenever there is pink. Come back to you notebook and write for fifteen minutes.
  5. Write in different places – for example, in a laundry mat, and pic up on the rhythm of the washing machines. Write at bus stops, in cafes, write about what is going on around you.
  6. Give me your morning. Breakfast, waking up, walking to the bus stop. Be as specific as possible. Slow down in your mind and go over the details of your morning.
  7. Visualize a place that you really love, be there, see the details. Now write about it. What colors are thee, sounds, smells?
  8. Write about “leaving.” Approach it any way you want. Write about your divorce, leaving the house this morning, or a friend dying.
  9. What is your first memory?
  10. Who are the people you have loved?
  11. Write about the streets of your city.
  12. Describe a grandparent.
  13. Write about:
    • swimming
    • the stars
    • the most frightened you’ve ever been
    • green places
    • how you learned about sex
    • your first sexual experience
    • the closest you ever felt to God or nature
    • reading and books that changed your life
    • physical endurance
    • a teacher you had
  14. Take a poetry book. Open to any page, grab a line, write it down, and continue from there. If you begin with a great line, it helps because you start write off from a lofty place.
  15. What kind of animal are you? Do you think you are really a cow, chipmunk, fox, horse underneath?
  16. Make a list of your obsessions. Now you have a list of things to write about.
  17. Make a list of the stories you tell over and over – write those stories.

Professional Something

The prompt for today from the folks at NaBloPoMo got me thinking, yet again, about why I do this whole blogging thing.

Do you consider yourself a “professional” blogger? Why or why not? What does that mean to you?

My first response: Uh, no. I do not make a single cent off this blog, and never ever intend to do so.

Professionals get paid to, well, perform the duties of their profession. They provide a valuable service and get compensation in return. But what about folks for whom you could think of as having made a profession out of philanthropy or volunteering? Those folks have amazing skills, for which they could be paid, but are giving them away for the benefit of the organization. People plan fancy parties to get donations for organizations like St. Baldrick’s. There are certainly paid party planners out there. People who volunteer with FIRST Robotics could use their skills in engineering or teaching or organization or project planning to make money (though it is rarely as fun as doing so with FIRST).

So, really, the better question is, am I someone who blogs for whatever my reasons are for blogging, but use this skills for paid work?

Sort of. Let me explain.

I do actually know how to write. I can follow the proper rules for grammar and not use parenthesis and dashes. I can be clear and precise. I can explain how something works or why a decision could be made. Much of my job requires communication skills, about both highly technical and completely nontechnical topics. The common saying is that engineers can’t write. That’s just poor engineers. You can have an excellent idea, but it’ll never get implemented if you can’t explain its benefits.

Like I said, sort of. I could use my writing and my humor and whatever else you want to say I use to blog, but, in the end, I like just doing it for fun. I like not having to answer to someone paying me to do it. I don’t have to worry that I absolutely must post about something. My features, en, they haven’t happened in awhile. I’ll probably pick them up again, but it’s no big deal if I never do. As long as I keep writing, keeping recording, everything is gravy.

(Yeah, I’m posting this a day later than the prompt tells me to do, but I couldn’t get my act together in time to post this yesterday. Another perk of not being a professional blogger.)

What Home Looks Like

Because I am crazy, I signed up for Photography 101, another of the courses from WordPress. I can say I’ll do all the assignments, but I think it’s going to be a great way to find things to take photos of. And, you know, post about here. I’m a bit behind, having drafted some posts in advance for NaBloPoMo, but I can catch up. Or have longer to work on falling behind.

What does home look like to you? Share this image in a new post.

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Home is where there is a comfortable couch with a cat on one end, toys all over the floor, my knitting project in progress (when Squirms is asleep), and lots of books. It’s always a little bit messy but never stark. There’s usually good food being cooked or recently consumed. You’ll find fancy toilet paper in our bathrooms that are either complete with bath toys or too many bottles of shampoo and body wash. Just watch out for the cracker crumbs.

NaBloPoMo – Or, I’m Doing it Again

It’s November which means it’s NaBloPomo time again. NaBloPoMo – or National Blog Posting Month – is exactly what it sounds like. The big goal is to write a blog post every day for the month. The folks at BlogHer expanded it to be an every month thing, though it used to be only for November.

NaBloPoMo November 2014
I’ve participated for probably five years, though not at all in a row (it’s been around since 2006). I usually make it until about day 12 before I totally run out of ideas and wind up re-posting things I’ve seen elsewhere or roundups or lists. So, stick around and see just how very desperate for content I get by the end of the month.