Saturday, October 22, 2011


It's the weekend already!
For that matter, it's almost Halloween! Where did this year go?
Thanks to everybody for your advice and wise counsel. :)
I read more about the NaNoWriMo (the novel in a month one) and got a response from them about creative nonfiction/memoir. They directed me to a FAQ rules list I hadn't found yet.

What genres are okay? Can I write fanfiction? How about a memoir?

Any genre of novel is okay for NaNoWriMo. Yes, really, any genre. Fan fiction is okay. Steamy adult content is okay (as long as you are careful about where you post it!). Memoir is a sticky one; as long as it is fictionalized, it is okay, too. We just want you to be excited about writing. If what you’re writing doesn’t qualify as a lengthy work of fiction, we’ve set up a group for NaNo Rebels in the forums.
Fictionalized memoir? Really?
NaNo(rule breaking)Rebels? Really?
This absolutely, positively cracked me up!
I took my "rejection" as the universe telling me to laugh...and take some time to ponder what's underneath this. Honestly, I think that after feeling so miserable for over a month and then finally feeling more human...well, my mind and spirit were trying to make promises my body can't cash. ROFL!
I'm passing on NaNoWriMo altogether. ;)
I'm not even sure I could post every day for a month for the other blogging one, but I at least have a shot at that one. May be less photos and some short posts--LOL!
But--digging deeper--why did I want to do any of this in the first place?
What probably interested me at first were the writing prompts. I see other bloggers do those weekly fill in the blank or answer these following questions forms. But I have never joined one because I knew I probably couldn't physically depend on being able to do that each and every week and I am on the OCD side, as you know. Which is why the shorter time period interested me. Only one month.
Having writing prompts is good because...well, I never know what to write about. That's how I felt in the writing classes in college. I had so many life stories floating about in my head that I didn't know what to pick. And then...did I really want to go back there? In order to "show don't tell" and do some serious writing I have to return--almost experience it all over again, you know? And even when I learned wonderful, positive things over time...well, a lot of it was hell to live through in the first place, you know?
The other big reason.
I started college at 48 and got all this positive feedback and encouragement for my writing. Won a couple of school contests and was told so many times--"you're a writer"--"you have a gift"--changed my major, was published in lit journals, won a couple more contests. There were actually a couple professors pushing me to apply for the MFA Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa! They actually thought I had a shot of being accepted--there!!
But my body was taking over my life. I fought it...for years. Hung on by my fingernails. Even switched schools so I could attend part time and was still determined to continue. Even started checking into low residency MFA writing programs at one point...even though they had an MFA program right here in town. Why? Because I had a hard time making it to classes...maybe I could take classes from home after I graduated?
Wishful thinking.
I finally couldn't even sit at the computer for more than a few minutes anymore, couldn't make it to classes, couldn't even get assignments done at home...was in dreadful shape...terrible pain. Talk about stubborn. Took an entire year of never being able to complete one single class to convince me I couldn't manage to graduate somehow, some way.
I dropped out with 16 credits left to go.
Haven't done any "writing-writing" since. Been about seven years now.
In 2009--right after Christmas--because of prodding and somebody paying the entrance fee for me, I won the Tom Howard Poetry Contest ($2,000) with a poem from a college poetry class. Wow! Used the prize money to buy my McLap. Thinking maybe I could write-write again if I didn't have to sit at the desk computer and could use a rolling laptop table by my chair...???
Well, I can spend a bit more time at the laptop than I used to be able to manage at the desk computer. But...have I done any writing-writing...any polished, professional type writing? No.
I blog and have a wonderful, amazing blog family. I learned how to make videos. This past year I have gotten back to journaling and reading again. But I have I done any serious writing? No.
That is the guilt that fuels the desire to push myself somehow to write again. All that supposed potential and all...but, I still sit here and don't know what I would write about, anyways. Have I really got anything to say? Which brings me back to the prompts--LOL!
And then I seriously wonder if I really need or want to be writing anything more than my blogging and journaling and letters, anyways? Is it just guilt? Is it just feeling I am letting other people down? Professors from all those years ago? Friends and family who thought, to my surprise, that I always was a writer in the first place?
This is what I've been milling over and around for the last few days. More than you cared to know, but it is what it is. There's a battle between my body and my mind. If I only have limited amounts of time...what are the priority choices, you know? What do I give up in order to add writing-writing? How could I shift my time around? And then my body makes sure I only have so much control in the first place--LOL!
So, I guess I have decided that I am going to start small and see what happens. I'm going to try the blogging for a month and using the prompts. If I actually blog for 30 days in November I will be quite surprised. I don't really care if I make that part of it or not, to be honest. But I will try to use the prompts for a short answer when I do blog. I think they have the prompts Mon-Fri. That's my plan.
If any of the prompts trigger a good personal story that might be worth writing more about...then I can see about maybe doing that in a right and proper manner later (which I would post on the stories blog). Or just go ahead and just tell more of the story right then in the blog if I'm up to it, you know? I have transferred some of those (I consider a rough draft) into the stories blog already.
So, after all that (ROFL!) all that is going to happen is that I will be blogging a bit more in November, answering prompt questions when I blog during the week, and you may hear some more life stories. :) If there are any stories that come up that you'd like to hear more about or you particularly find interesting, please let me know, okay? Any feedback is always welcome, as you know. And you can ask me anything. :):)
Oh, and I am probably going to drop the quotes for November as they do take a while to sort through, too. In fact, I think I will start today with that and be on my way.
Thanks everybody!!
Love and hugs!!


Teresa Evangeline said...

It sounds like you're getting some good intuitive direction. How wonderful that you won a poetry contest and with such a nice pay-off! I cannot imagine fictionalized memoir. I always thought that was called a novel...:) I look forward to reading what you're led to write.

DJan said...

Well, I approve, Rita. One thing I've noticed is that if you would stop ROFL, you might not hurt so much! :-)

AliceKay said...

Well, now that you have that all sorted out, have fun with writing whatever it is you'll be writing. :)

And have a great weekend!

Toriz said...

You know, even writing a couple of lines a day is writing. Why don't you just do like you plan on doing with the prompts with your writing too? As in, just write a few words each day, and if you feel inspired to write more, do so. The point is to get back in the habit of writing daily, right?

Rita said...

Teresa--LOL! Yes, I guess you can just make up your life any way you want it to be on their site. I still smile when I think of that term "fictionalized memoir"--just plain giggle material for me. ;)

Djan--Maybe I should make up my own. LLOL=laughing louder out loud. ;)

AliceKay--Thanks! Take it easy this weekend! :)

Tori--I'd have to learn how to write completely differently, that's for sure. I've always been a slow writer who kind of got lost in time when I did that kind of writing. Old dog new tricks? LOL! :)

Beth said...

You are a very brave lady. I admire your tenacity and positive attitude.

Again, I love the pic of Karma!


Rita said...

Beth--Thanks so much! Right now Karma is snoring softly in the big box with her bed inside. ;)

Queenie Jeannie said...

That's A LOT of thinking you've been doing!!! I'm glad you're going to be writing. I love your stories, and the way you write them.

Blowing some get-to-feeling-better fairy dust your way.....

Rita said...

Jeannie--I'm always thinkin'--LOL! ;)
Thanks! Catchin' that fairy dust!! :)

carol l mckenna said...

One step ~ one sentence at a time and be gentle with yourself ~ sending distant healing reiki energy your way and thanks for comments on my blog ~ hugs and namaste, Carol ^_^

Rita said...

Carol--Thanks! I could use some of that good reiki healing energy! :)
One sentence at a time. Being gentle--so true. The second I tense up my entire body reacts badly. Thanks!! :):)

Carol C said...

It's enlightening to see how you've come to your decision! I wish you luck in the upcoming monthly blogging. I was tempted to sign up for that, too, but really just want the prompts and hope I can get them from the web site...if I remember to check them!!
If you own a $2000 prize for a poem you've written you should most definitely still be writing. It's pretty hard to get that kind of recognition!

Rita said...

Carol--You should be able to get the prompts off the website. Plus, when I am blogging Mon-Fri I will have them on my blog, too. ;)
I know! I've been published (short story and poetry) and won awards and cash prizes. That's what I mean--guilt! LOL! I need to decide on which stories to tell. ;)

carol l mckenna said...

I agree with your comments about today posts ~ some of this that I write, though, is from previous clients ~ i used to work as a clinical therapist and dealt with clients with trauma all the time ~ I too, though, this time am transitioning myself and thanks for the support ~ hugs and namaste, Carol ^_^

Rita said...

Oh, okay. So you're usually writing about other people in those. I had no idea. Okay. I'll keep that in mind. I thought those sessions were confidential. I guess I'm a bit confused.

1artsychick said...

This is my first visit to your blog. I dropped in from CED.
I'm so impressed that you went to college at 48, I just turned 48 and can't imagine...but perhaps that because of more of my health challenges than my age.

I too am basically house bound. I too felt the guilt. I received my BA in visual arts in 1992, I too won many awards, a scholarship, was encouraged to go on and get my MFA...but I was in an accident and broke my neck, life changed...I wasn't paralyzed or anything like that, but I'd planned to graduate with a triple degree, Art, Art Education, and Elementary Education. I ended up with just Art...I couldn't go on.
Then my mom got sick, and I cared for her for a year, then she died.

I did apply for grad school at one place and was professors were shocked, it broke my heart. However, my health was failing. Perhaps it just wasn't meant to be.
But the guilt absorbed me too.

I did some art...but not art -art you know. Things for friends, occasionally I'd enter some show.. but I was working retail! ugh!

then my health got worse, and I had to stop working.

Finally, just a few months ago, I decided, I needed to do some art for me. Not only was my body hurting, but my soul was too.

I decided I needed a goal. So I promised to create something every day. A drawing, a photo, dinner...something...anything.

it has turned out to be mostly drawings every day. (I think I've missed one, but some days I do it's something. Some days I don't finish one and continue the next day, but still I did something creative.

It has helped my soul.
I started a blog about it, a friend saw it, and I may have a show coming up soon in a local coffee shop.

Don't beat yourself up!
Just write for you. No one else.
as soon as a show was mentioned, I got all antsy, and didn't know what to do...I kept questioning myself.
Finally, after much talking to from friends and hubby...I'm doing it for me again..if someone else likes it great! If not..I did it for me anyway.

Good luck
I was reading your post thinking...oh, I know how you feel!!
good luck!
I also have a blog about my chronic illnesses...especially Meniere's Disease.

happy writing!

Cowgirl Red said...

Rita, whatever you do, please, please, please keep writing. You fill me up. Terah

Rita said...

Wendy--Hello! So glad you stopped by! Sounds like we have a lot in common. I checked out your blogs and am your newest follower! I hope to see you again soon. :)

Terah--With you missing Tip right now...well, what you said got me all misty eyed. Thanks so much, lady! That means a lot to me. :):)

Cindy Lane said...

To hell with them all and just write about what you love because you love it!

A friend of mine is a writer and publishes her stuff via ebook sites (eg smashwords) and has a good following.

Get those pens going!

Desiree said...

I'm a little late with my visit, but wow! Have I arrived at a good time and place in your life's progression! Rita, I first became aware of you through the comments I'd seen you leave on a couple of blogs we both followed. To be honest, I was 'blown away' by your writing, which I found to be so intuitive, honest and forthright, yet touched with compassion and humility. I began to look forward to seeing your name, so I could read what you had to say. And then, somehow and I forget how exactly, we ended up following each other. This was all really rather recent and so there is much I still do not know about you. I find time too short to be able to delve through everyone's archives, much as I would love to. Although I know you have serious health constraints, I don't yet know what those are and I didn't wish to pry. I am so delighted to read that you wish to resume writing-writing, although until now, I was unaware that you are already a rather accomplished writer-writer :) I just recognised that you have great talent and that I love reading your thoughts on things. So, this really is GOOD news, and I'm looking forward to cheering you from the sidelines. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this eposé!

Rita said...

Cindy--Getting published doesn't really matter much to me since I have had a few short stories and poems published already. It's like I already reached that goal, you know? It's more my physical ability to spend the time and effort...and what to write about so that it would be worth the time and effort--LOL! ;)

Desiree--That is so cool that you found me through comments. I noticed you, too. I can't remember who went to whose blog first anymore, either. I don't have the time to go back and read a lot on other blogs, ether. I have to kind of pick up things as I follow, too.
I have a whole series of health issues. I can't remember if I have talked about them very much in the blog because when I started my blog it was just so I could write once and my friends and family would know I was okay up here in Fargo...and they knew all about what happened and what bad shape I was in when I moved here. Maybe I could write a blog about that. Get everybody up to speed. See, you're already giving me ideas--LOL! ;)
Thanks so much for the support and encouragement, lady!! I am glad we have connected. You don't know what a treat it is for me to go on your travels with you! :):)

Donna @ The House on the Corner said...

I've always enjoyed your writing ~ you ARE very gifted! I'll be happy with reading anything you write, when ever you write it ~ every day ~ every week ~ or once a month!

Rita said...

Donna--Oh, you are so kind!! Thanks so very much!! :):)

Rebag said...

Oh Rita How exciting to hop over here and see this blog today!! I am so happy for you....Isn't it funny how information gets to us and the processes we go through to get to the point we think we need to be at?!!

I am looking forward to seeing what you write!! I love life stories....

Just remember a line a day is good!! :) No one expects a chapter a day LOL

Blessings to you~ More Reiki on the way~

Rita said...

Reba--May be a very convoluted pathway but I've been trying to stick to my path and not get completely lost--ROFL!! ;)
More reiki! Whoohoo! I could use it. Thanks so very much and always look forward to visiting with you. :)

Serena Lewis said...

Do what you feel you can do, Rita. You have a deep yearning within to write but try not to stress about it. If you want to opt for the November challenge then maybe doing the NaBloPoMo rather than the NaNoWriMo. That way, you are committing to daily post not necessarily a written essay...although you could throw them in too.

I've actually been debating with myself as to whether or not to sign up for NaBloPoMo this year and I'm still undecided. I have a lot on my plate emotionally right now and don't know if I could manage a post every day.

I think it will be a last minute decider.

Love and hugs back at ya,

Serena xo

Rita said...

Serena--Yes, I'd only try for the month of blogging--with prompts. :)
I think it looks like you can do a month of blogging any month of the year with NaBloPoMo. It is only the write a novel in a month that is specifically in November, as far as I can tell. So you could do the blogging one whenever you want to since you do have a lot on your plate right now. You could always wait till after the holidays. But any time you decide to do it I will be there reading!! And you can always use the prompts. ;)
Best to you and yours, dear friend.

laurak/ForestWalkArt :) said... opinion would be to DO what YOU want...
yeah, yeah...they have all the blog a day things...with all the questions to answer...revealing stuff about yourself...but you're a writer!! don't need someone else to prompt you! i mean, maybe you just need a little motivation... something to spark your creativity?? a little creative writing....pick a topic. something that intrigues you. off the wall. take a picture...and then tell a story about it...

anyway...i'm just do whatever you feel you need to do!! sounds like you want a change...
give that cute karma a hug! (did i ever tell you i had a goat named karma??!!) happy hump day!!

Rita said...

Laura--One problem IS picking a topic--LOL! Those prompts questions are just that--topics--ideas--something I might find to expand upon. But, never fear--I only write about what I want to write about. My other problem is just physically doing the writing. I'll either be able to change the way I have written (the polished stuff) all my life or I won't. I'll never know if I don't try. Thanks for all your support. :)
A goat named Karma. Bet a goat could be stubborn but sweet, too. LOL! ;)

Toriz said...

I mean, aim to write just a short piece each day; make it your goal to do a minimum of a couple of sentences. Then you'll probably do more, but if you aren't feeling very creative then you wont feel too bad, because you'll be ahead of your goal.

Intense Guy said...

As much as I hate snow - I hope this writing snowballs - and that somewhere along the line you get those 16 credits (plus whatever else) to get your degree.

You are a talented writer - baby girl and the flower trash story show a brilliance behind (within) that body of yours that won't cooperate.

But, "guilt" is not... a good word... nor should you feel pressured or driven by it. The driving force - for your writing would be best if it was "just wanted to share" or the "inner goodness" moved me....


Rita said...

Tori--If I had a subject to write about I could maybe do that. :)

Iggy--Thanks, sweetie! These days, I no longer care if I have that piece of paper saying I graduated. I still got exactly what I needed to get out of college. ;)
I agree--guilt is not a good word. And the reason I haven't written since I left college is probably just that--I haven't felt compelled to write anything in particular. I have written a few life stories on the blog here and there...and while I am writing them I can't stop. Maybe if I felt driven to get published...but I don't. Well, even if it is blogging, journaling, and letters...I have never actually quit writing, I guess. Time will tell, right? :):)