A Different Kind of Trip

Let’s take a break from Yosemite.

I’ll give you a moment to self-soothe your disappointment.

Now that you’re ready, I’d like to dedicate this post to the reason I haven’t finished telling you about Yosemite yet: National Novel Writing Month.

For the past two Sundays on our walks, my fellow members of the Chadron walking club have asked, “Do you have a plot yet?” And I had to tell them I didn’t. I came up with an idea for a plot around word 47,000 out of 50,000. I haven’t developed it, and I might not, ever.

“What do you get if you finish it?” they ask. The answer is that you get a little icon to share on your social media profiles. That’s it.


Like my other hobby, geocaching, National Novel Writing Month is a personal challenge.

This blog post is also a challenge for YOU, to encourage you to participate in NaNoWriMo one of these years.

This year was the first year I participated in the challenge while having a “real” job at the same time. It was daunting. I learned a few tricks (besides adverbs and using phrases like, ‘Well, honestly, in my humble opinion…’) to boost my word count which I would be happy to share with you if you decide to participate in the future.

If you do decide to participate, you should join my “Chadron” region. This year was also my first year as Municipal Liaison. The last time I participated, I was able to meet others at Starbucks and Purdue Cal and work alongside other people. Parallel word play. Not so this time. Although I arranged and publicized events, the only other people in my region were actually physically located in Colorado, eastern Nebraska, and elsewhere. Therefore, next year I’ll have some of my events online while I also work during 2016 to network and build the participant roster IRL.

I am what NaNoWriMo calls a “pantser,” short for “one who writes by the seat of their pants.” I do not outline, opting instead to mine the dark recesses of my brain until something interesting appears. The result is some terrible writing. Really, really terrible. However, without fail, something interesting ALWAYS appears. It’s uncanny.

So, there’s your ad for NaNoWriMo. DO IT!

Although my November evenings spent typing at my laptop prevented me from watching Grand Hotel on Netflix, updating my Facebook status with anything resembling regularity, watching political debates (I know who my candidate is, anyway), or reading my reader here on wordpress, they did NOT prevent me from renting the Ford Transit Connect from Wahlstrom and taking my students on the semi-annual Mount Rushmore field trip.

I will leave you with my Gutzon Borglum selfie.


Until next time, loyal readers.

What personal challenge have you undertaken recently that surprised you with its good results?


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