Tis The Season

It’s that time of year again! No, I’m not referring to PSL season (or really, pumpkin spice anything and everything season. It’s actually gotten a bit out of control IMO). And no, I’m not referring to the pre-pre-Christmas nonsense (why am I already seeing Christmas things in the stores?).

Tis the NaNoWriMo Prep Season! It’s the season to get ready to write like mad!

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October traditionally is NaNoWriMo prep month. For those who are planners, they take the month of October to at least develop an outline, if not more.

Honestly, I really have no idea what planners do other than do some sort of “plan” for their writing. Because I, on the other hand, am a pantster. (A pantster is someone who writes from the seat of their pants starting on November 1).

This is my 8th NaNoWriMo. And I’ve never once planned any of my writing. In fact, some years, I don’t even know what I’m going to be writing. Not an iota of an idea. Instead, my prep consists of getting my writing playlist just right. In fact, I usually have more that one playlist. A classic one, an upbeat one, a sad song one. Basically, enough playlists to fit almost any mood.

That’s one of the great things about NaNo—there’s no one way to write . . . or prep.

The other great thing is you don’t have to write the “next great American novel.” You just write. And your writing can be just for you. For me, writing is therapeutic, cathartic even.

Although I have to honestly admit, I have been “prepping” in a way. I’ve been writing a couple pages every day in my journal. I’m not writing anything that I’ll use in November. But just the act of writing every day is prep. Getting back into the habit of writing a little bit every day.

One thing I haven’t decided is whether I’m going to type (like I did in 2013) or handwrite (like I did last year). There was something very satisfying about using pen and paper last year even though there were days my hand felt like it would fall off. Or at least be permanently crippled like the day I wrote 5,468 words.

That’s a lot of words.

That’s also a lot of counting (which is the big downside to writing by hand).

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But I digress.

So, who’s going to grab the writer badge & join me on November 1?

The goal: 50,000 words by November 30 (~1,167 words per day).

Totally doable.

Let’s get writing!

How Random Moments Change the What If Game

We all play the “what if” game. What if we had gone to a different school. What if we had taken that job or turned down another. What if we had turned left instead of right.

I believe that it’s human nature to imagine life differently than what it is. To speculate how our life would be had we taken another path. Imagination is a good thing. It can spur change, make us reach for something we might not otherwise have tried.

But let’s be clear. I’m not talking about regrets. Regrets can be crippling. I’m talking about times where there was a fork in the road, and we chose right instead of left. But we go back and wonder what would’ve happened if we had chosen to go left.

I know I daydream alternatives. Wonder what would’ve happened had I made another decision. Honestly, I don’t see any harm to imagining a different life because it can lead us to make better, or at least different, decisions in the future. For example, daydreaming alternatives led me to a career change that has been an incredible journey.

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But sometimes life gives you a moment. Just a small, random moment that makes you stop and appreciate your current path. Because any arbitrary turns along the way, any diverging would have put you on another trajectory. And no matter how slight the change in trajectory, that one small random moment probably wouldn’t happen.

This week I had one of those small, random moments. A random encounter that led to an impromptu discussion, which led to a last minute happy hour invite. And by saying yes to the invite, I allowed this random moment to become something more than just a brief moment in time.

So my hope is that you too have that small, random moment. And recognize it for the gift it is. Reminding you that just maybe your current path is pretty darn good.

 

Summer ’18 Reading Challenges Update

With September and the Labor Day (U.S.) holiday right around the corner, summer is beginning to wind down. (Although there’s a heat wave hitting my area, so summer seems to be trying to hold on.) But regardless of the weather, it seems like a good time to give an update on all my summer ’18 reading challenges. Continue reading

Au Revoir Paris, Now On To Belgium

Well, once again I am a bit behind my schedule for #BackpackEurope. I can’t help it. I get to a new country and find that I just have to savor every moment before moving on and this week definitely was a savor week.*

This past week, I have been back in France, this time visiting Paris. And what a week it has been! Continue reading

From Spain Back to France

Continuing on my European literary adventure! (If you’re behind, catch up on my literary journey here and here and here.)

This past week and a half, I’ve been in Spain.* My trip to Spain lasted a bit longer than anticipated, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Continue reading

Au Revoir France, Hola Spain!

If you’ve been following my #BackpackEurope adventure, you know that I arrived in Caen, Normandy, France on Monday. (Catch up on my entries here and here.)

Today I say au revoir to France as I head across the border to Spain.* Continue reading

Vive Le France!

Welcome to Week 2 of the #BackpackEurope reading challenge. 

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I’m starting week 2 in France. Bonjour!

Last week, as you know, I flew into Heathrow and started my journey in England with Wuthering Heights. Although not a book I ended up liking, I can at least now say I’ve read it. (And bonus, I can mark it off my #GARbingo board.)

And go give my friends over at The Reader’s Room some love for creating and hosting this fun literary adventure! Continue reading

#BackpackEurope: Week 1 Wrap-Up

On Monday, I started the Backpack Across Europe Summer 2018 Reading Challenge. This reading challenge, hosted by the awesome folks over at The Reader’s Room, is all about exploring Europe via literature.

The challenge has rules, special events, and travel obstacles making it like a virtual board game with reading. As you know, I opted to “fly”* into Heathrow on Monday and my literary journey started with English author Emily Brontë’s classic Wuthering Heights. Continue reading