Writing Update: #PersonalWriMo

November is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It’s a month long group initiative to help motivate writers to write and complete a novel (or at least 50,000 words) in a month. There are no prizes and you don’t submit your work anywhere. The site mainly operates as a motivator.

I have participated in years past. Most recently I completed roughly 30,000 words (I didn’t meet the 50,000 goal in a month) of my memoir during their summer competition called Camp NaNoWriMo. I wasn’t planning on participating in NaNoWriMo this year until I had fresh inspiration for a novel idea I started after my accident. I entertained the idea of writing my novel during NaNoWriMo while still continuing to work on my memoir.

Well, I’ve come to my senses and decided that I am NOT going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. Instead I’m creating my own version that I am calling “PersonalWriMo.” I replaced the “NationalNovel” with “Personal” to signify it’s my own event. I still have “WriMo” since this will be a push of writing still taking place in a month (November).

Instead of writing a novel or my memoir I plan to finish various writing projects and continue writing my memoir. I discuss more details of my PersonalWriMo in this monthly writing update.

I used the NaNoWriMo logo (courtesy of www.nanowrimo.org). Other images used for this design from Pixabay.

Before I first participated in NaNoWriMo (years ago) the idea of writing a novel was intimidating. Even though I didn’t finish when I first participated, I still gained enough confidence in my writing to be where I am today: recovering from a coma and severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and actively writing my memoir. There’s no mistaking that my brain is very different after the injury and yet here I am still confidently writing my memoir. So confident that I will finish it that I have been actively chronicling my experience writing my memoir on this public blog. My confidence is in part because the TBI awakened in me an overwhelming desire to write creatively. And I’m definitely also confident in my writing in part because my experience with NaNoWriMo. It’s because of this great confidence -boosting result that has me contemplating NaNoWriMo every November. (I even remember wanting to participate in NaNoWriMo in 2016 which was a month and a half after my accident, coma and brain injury. I didn’t participate because I can’t imagine what that would have been like.) And as we edge closer to November 2020 I have made the ultimate decision NOT to participate in NaNoWriMo 2020. Instead of concentrating on finishing just one writing piece, I am going to do my own “PersonalWriMo” and focus on establishing a healthy and regular writing routine.

NaNoWriMo has a writer dedicated to writing 50,000 words in one writing work. In addition to my memoir that I am still writing (66,000+ words as of now) and this blog I also have some uncompleted stories and ideas I would like to pursue. I also want to put effort behind writing and submitting creative nonfiction pieces to journals, etc. My idea behind “PersonalWriMo” is to create a regular daily writing habit and routine.

I have noticed that my days can get engulfed by doing a bunch of stuff I don’t need to focus my energy on. I’ve gotten into the habit of sitting in my recliner chair in the living room with Selby nestled on my lap and spend the bulk of my day on my iPad. While I am pretty industrious on my iPad and am always researching something, designing, or writing something, I do notice that time on my computer, iPad or phone really affects my TBI brain. I get more headaches from increased screen time and it affects my sleep and mood. For those reasons, I have put a “Screen Time” limit on my iPhone and iPad. Those two devices together share 4 hours a day. That still seems a lot and excessive, so I would like to get that number down even further. My plan to help with that and to help with my writing goals is do a dedicated amount of time writing on my laptop while sitting at my desk. Selby won’t like this plan since she won’t be able to sit on my lap while I am at my desk but she can sit nearby (she’ll adjust).

My goals for #PersonalWriMo are as follows:

1. Establish a set daily writing routine and make it a habit.

2. Reduce “Screen Time” and aimless usage of devices and focus more on using them during set times for writing.

3. Finish editing all 12 of my “12 Months of Stories” short stories from 2018. (For those who don’t know, I started this blog to track my exploits in writing a new short story every month for a year. I didn’t share the stories, just my journey writing them.) I planned to print them in a small bound book and keep one for me and give one to my family since I dedicated a story to each of them. I got waylayed on this goal but I would like to finish this. The stories are completed, I just wanted to edit them.

4. Work steadily on my memoir. Establishing a daily writing habit is really to help me complete my memoir (I’m writing about experiencing a severe TBI, coma and severe hearing loss as apart of injuries received from a September 2016 near-fatal accident I survived. Working title: “Me vs. A Coma.”)

5. Write and submit creative nonfiction essays to journals and publications to help build a name for myself as a writer (and memoirist).

I really think these goals are achievable. I have amazed myself by writing as much as I have (in my memoir, this blog, and the short stories I completed). So I really think my #PersonalWriMo could turn into just good writing habits! Well, I will certainly be updating this blog with my #PersonalWriMo journey. Also check me out on Instagram: @writingbylaura and Twitter: @wordsbylaura where I will be updating along the way!

#CreativityForDays Weekly Project Summary

While I am actively creating cards for people during this month I won’t share images of them in case the recipients read this blog. Just know I am drawing a lot. I recently made a list of 9 cards I need to create this month. Just call me Hallmark! (I say “need” to make but I love every second of it!)

A Selby Sweetie Conclusion

Wearing the shirt and socks I got to be my Halloween “costume.”

Since we don’t know what Halloween/Trick or Treating will be like this year because of COVID-19 (will it even happen or should it?), I have decided to still spread the Halloween “cheer” virtually by sharing pictures of myself and Selby 🐶 in costume! I have already shared Selby’s skunk 🦨 costume and this week here is my “costume” of a flower. I figured she’s going to be something that smells bad and I will be something that smells good! I plan to use face paint to paint a flower on my cheek and wear the flower headband I wore for last year’s costume. I will of course share pictures here of us on Halloween, but you can always check out Selby’s Instagram @selbysweetie.


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