Lena Corazon

Flights of Fancy

ROW80: The NaNoWriMo Brainstorming Has Begun!

Happy Sunday, everyone! It’s time for another update for ROW80, the writing challenge “that knows you have a life.” My life, thankfully, has slowed down a bit over the last few days. Progress towards my goals feels fairly steady, and given my love of structure and routine, this is a very good thing.

As I’ve mentioned in past updates, I’ve been doing a lot of brainstorming and journaling. I’ve been thinking about quite a bit about creativity, in particular how the creative impulse must be satisfied in order to have a full and healthy life. I’ve also been thinking about the crucial nature of community, like our group of wonderful ROW80 participants.  This quote from WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES by Clarissa Pinkola Estes really hits home for me:

Creativity is not a solitary movement. That is its power. Whatever is touched by it, whoever hears it, sees it, senses it, knows it, is fed. That is why beholding someone else’s creative word, image, idea, fills us up, inspires us to our own creative work. A single creative act has the potential to feed a continent. One creative act can cause a torrent to break through stone.

I love the thought that “a single creative act has the potential to feed a continent,” especially on those days when all I can manage to write is a small haiku, or a couple of sentences towards the WIP. It’s the little stuff that matters, and even if I can’t devote hours to honing my craft, it feels so darn good to write just a little.

And with that, here’s how the past week went:

Day Job: Work in the archives continues. I’ve been writing up research memos based on my findings so far, which are further refining my research interests. This week’s highlight: I got a chance to sit in on a meeting of all the archivists from the Catholic sisterhoods here in the Bay Area. They represented the oldest communities in the area, all of the founded in the 1850s and 1860s. Listening to their discussions of the joys and challenges of maintaining archives was fascinating, and gave me a few dozen more ideas for future research. 😛

Writing: I finally started brainstorming my NaNoWriMo novel! Better yet, I even created a Scrivener file for it and laid out the first 14 scenes, complete with summaries and the bits and pieces of dialogue that keep cropping up in my head. At the moment the story lacks both a title and, er, a middle, but I know how it starts and how it ends. I figure the rest will fall into place by the time November begins.

The poetry challenge continues, and so far I’ve written 11 out of 14. I had a couple of favorites this week: “Stolen Morning,” which was just sweet and gentle and lovely to write, and “The Old Mysteries,” which reminded me how useful poetry can be for expressing those feelings that can’t be spoken or written in prose.

Exercise: I walked a total of 4 days this week, and it feels sooooo good. The trick, of course, is to stick with it and not slack off, the way that I always do. But I have decided to take it one week at a time, and hopefully that will help.

Social Media: I wrote 1 non-ROW80 blog post this week, and I was really pleased with it. It was about what happens when an author falls in love with her creations, and it gave me a chance to celebrate my favorite character’s birthday. 😀

It was a slow week with Twitter, etc., as I am settling in over at WANAtribe (my profile’s here, so feel free to friend me!). I’m retaking Kristen Lamb’s “Blogging to Build a Brand” course, so I’ve been trying to get to know all of my classmates.

Self-care: I’m going into hibernation mode, my way of recovering from all the fun social time I’ve had over the last couple of weeks. There is still lots of writing and soul-searching happening, with quite a few breakthroughs. All of this is very, very good (and will potentially keep me from having a super horrible quarter-life crisis, lol).


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  1. So wonderful when a plan comes together – it sounds like a lot of yours are! I’m trying to get into brainstorming mode too. It’s coming slowly. I still haven’t figured out WANAtribe. It seems like it’s just a disjointed bunch of forums you have to “join” in order to participate, and the last thing I have time for is one more social media site. I’ll be interested to hear what you get from retaking the blogging class – good luck with it, and have a great week!
    Jennette Marie Powell recently posted..My Town Monday: Dayton’s Haunted CourthouseMy Profile

    • I’m definitely trying to remind myself that “slow and steady wins the race” as far as brainstorming is continued. There’s so much I still don’t know about this novel, but I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that despite all my plotting and prepping, the novel with undoubtedly shift forms while I’m in the midst of writing it.

      I think WANAtribe’s strength definitely lies in the communities–from what I’ve seen so far, there are some that have really active forums with lots of useful info (though I think we get a lot of that from our FB group). So far, I am enjoying getting to know a new group of students–lots of good energy to add to the WANA family!

  2. You are making great progress on your goals! Have a great week, and I’ll see you around WANA1012. 🙂
    Diana Beebe recently posted..A Big Thank You and ROW80My Profile

  3. You’re far braver than I am with the Nanowrimo thing. I’ve tried it twice now, last November and this August, and I’m still hardly into my novel. Maybe I’m just meant to be a slow writer:) I know what you mean about walking. I try to walk every day until winter sets in (which in New England is about late September some years) and I find that it’s good to walk to just clear the day out of my head, if that makes sense. Walking can be good therapy as well as good exercise. Good luck with your goals – it seems like you’re on the right path with them:)
    Jen recently posted..Octpowrimo #6 – VoyeurismMy Profile

    • NaNo is definitely it’s own peculiar beast, I’d say, and incredibly demanding (that’s why I love ROW80 so much–lots more flexibility). I think the only reason why I’ve managed to tackle NaNo in the past is because of all the pre-planning. I’m more of a “plantser,” if you will, in that I like having a skeleton of my plot when I start out, knowing all the while that things will probably change.

      I love “meeting” other walkers! I’m dreading what I’ll have to brave once winter sets in, although California winters are far more mild than those in New England.

      Have a great week, Jen!

  4. There we go, now I can reply! When I tried yesterday, the reply box refused to show up. 🙁

    Good luck on the NaNo brainstorming! You’re much farther along than me. 🙂 And I’m with you on the middles — my outlines usually say “stuff happens.” *g*

    Have a great week!

    • So sorry about the snafu with the commenting box! Looks like something was up with the plug-in available for the wordpress.org users; there were quite a few people having problems yesterday. Thanks for coming back to try again!

      LOL’ing over “stuff happens”–that’s definitely what mine looks like now, along with references to the “Big Bad Evil Overlord” and the “Very Important Magical Device.” 😛

      Have a great week as well, Ruth!

  5. Congrats on doing so much NaNo brainstorming! I haven’t really done any for my project yet. I like doing character development, but I always get stuck and frustrated on plot and scenes.
    Alana recently posted..Is The Grass Always Greener? (Confessions of a Quitter)My Profile

    • Thanks, Alana. I confess, my brainstorming usually consists of “moments” and “feelings”–nothing too detailed, lol. I eventually end up scaffolding onto those feelings and building scenes around them, but it’s a loooong process. Maybe one day I’ll figure out how to get faster at this sort of thing!

  6. One of these years, I’m gonna take the plunge and participate in NaNoWriMo. All the best as you prep and go for the golden 50K words. All the best with your other goals as well. Hope you had a great week. TTFN
    Steph recently posted..October 21 ROW Check-InMy Profile

    • Thanks, Steph! NaNo definitely isn’t for everyone, but I think it suits my writing style. I like to throw together really messy drafts in a short period of time, and then take foreeeeever to revise them. 😛

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