Day 30

Well, I made it. 30 days and blog posts later, I completed NaNo Blog Thing. While I’m not sure I’m a better blogger for it (this was more about getting back into my blogging groove than it was about learning how to blog), I definitely enjoyed the challenge. I’ve learned a few things along the way though…

  • I’m definitely a 5 day a week blogger more than I am a 7 day a week blogger. Without cheesy weekend posts, I have little interest (and less inspiration) for weekend posting. I think because I know that the majority of my hits are during the week, plus the fact that…
  • I write posts ahead of time whenever possible. Usually on Saturday evening. Several weeks this month I managed to write posts for a full week ahead (or longer). It’s the only way I made it through Thanksgiving, and the “Schedule Post” option on WordPress gets a lot of use around these blogs. It was really nice to know that on the days I work, I didn’t have to think about coming up with and writing out a post.
  • It’s not that much harder to keep up with two blogs than it is to keep up with one. While I just posted 5 days a week over at Too Many Annas, I didn’t have too much trouble coming up with ideas. In fact, it was sometimes easier to do the gaming blog posts, since my topic is pretty well set over there.
  • I keep a running list of post ideas in ToodleDo, which I have on my phone as well as my computer. That way I am less likely to think of a really great post idea and then forget it by the time I sit down to write. Some of those posts will never see the light of day, but it’s nice to have an ongoing list of ideas.
  • On the other hand, I don’t really like lists of manufactured blog post prompts. I think because I don’t usually write posts that are easily set into blog prompts. (Other than ficlets, of course). Writing about my most memorable meal doesn’t make much sense in a vacuum to me, though I still read prompt lists to see if something is inspiring. Usually I don’t get much though.

I’m not going to continue with NaNoBlogThing indefinitely though.

As mentioned, 7 days a week is a lot of posts, but 5 seems a lot more manageable. I’m going to shoot for that, and we’ll see what happens.

I really have enjoyed being back at the keyboard, if you will, and it’s nice to put my thoughts into words again. I get a lot out of blogging, if only because it makes me think through something enough to put it into coherent sentences. While I won’t even attempt to argue that all my posts have a goal or some greater point to make (they don’t), the writing process itself is good for helping me clarify ideas, especially when it’s related to the crazy!brain stuff.

Regardless of all that, it’s definitely nice to have finished what I set out to do. Going forward, we’ll see how it continues.

Traumas and Blog Prompts

One of the things that NaNoBlogThing does for its members is provide the occasional prompt for a post. Like most collections of blogging prompts, these are usually benign creativity boosters and story prompts to help out someone that gets stuck in writer’s block. But there was one that came up recently that didn’t sit well with me; it seems to be lacking in forethought:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Has anything traumatic ever happened to you? Describe the scenes surrounding a particular event.

I understand that trauma happens on a spectrum, and that the person involved can dramatically change the perspective on an event (as can the care that person receives in the immediate aftermath of trauma). Some people who experience life-threatening car accidents go on to recover both physically and mentally and can, after a time, drive again safely and without panic or anxiety. Others aren’t able to heal to that point and can sometimes not even ride in a car without experiencing panic attacks.

Trauma is just so PERSONAL.

PTSD is weird, and “Describe the scenes surrounding an event” is something I can’t even do (yet) in scheduled, structured therapy. Looking at the prompt, my immediate reaction is “Well THAT’S not going to happen.” And I can’t imagine that I’m the only NaBloPostThinger writer that lives with PTSD and it’s related mental health issues.

I understand that this post isn’t really talking about “that” kind of trauma, but really, there isn’t another kind. All traumas require healing – and there’s no way to look up what counts as traumatic (beyond a the actual definition of trauma itself). Different things bother different people on various levels, so a post that one person thinks is pretty benign (about a car accident) can be completely triggering for another.

Even suggesting a post about a traumatic event that you have healed from or that helped you to grow in some way would be better than the open ended “anything traumatic”. Otherwise, from a psychological standpoint, it has the potential to open up a lot of really ugly emotional stuff, without having a way to process or effectively deal with those emotions. For real, just writing out the sequence of events (factually and as chronologically as possible), let alone describing entire scenes, can be almost impossible to do for someone with PTSD. It’s a real mindfuck sometimes.

While I don’t for a minute think that the prompt was intended to be discomforting, a blog prompt that suggests the emotionally invested discussion of traumatic events just seems really out of place in a list that also includes “What kind of music do you listen to when you write?” and “Do you prefer to write with a pen or a computer?”

One of these things is not like the other ones, you know?

NaNo What Now?

Many NaNo’s. Handle it.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) has spawned a whole batch of NaNo tadpoles these days; people inspired by the idea of doing something creative for 30 days in a row, bolstered and supported by a community of other people ALSO doing something creative for 30 days in a row. Community is a powerful draw, and forced shame via deadlines is a good way to get your ass in a chair and writing (or in a chair and blogging, or journaling, or whatevering).

NaNo is permission, of a sort, to suck. You must write 1667 words every day for 30 days to hit 50K words. There are no rules as to the quality of those words, they just have to come out of your head and onto paper or monitor daily for 30 days. Write now; Edit later.

I’m not doing NaNoWriMo though – too many other projects that need my 1667 words every day.

But…

(there’s always a but)

I may make a pitch for NaBloPoMo – where you post to a blog every day for a month. I have no idea how it’ll work come Thanksgiving, as I’ll be working retail AND have my parents and my husband’s entire family here for the holiday, but at least with blog posts I can (theoretically) write them ahead of time.

I’m not allowing myself to stress about it, just using the community (and the blogging prompts) as a way to help me get back into writing. I’ve not written much at all in the last year, and that makes me kind of sad. November 1 used to be celebrated as the Celtic new year, so I’m going to co-opt that a bit, and work on starting something over again today. I make no promises about the content of my posts for the next month, but I’m going to try for 30.

Today’s is done – and tomorrow’s is already percolating.

That’s two, at least.