November traditions: NaNoWriMovember!

I’m not sure why this year has marked so many changes to me. Perhaps it is the reeling and rocking reaction to the changes that have come external to me, the changes I initiate as course corrections in response to the asteroids and stellar tailwinds.

Or maybe it is just the outpouring after a dam has burst, its pent-up contents free to stream out and release the potential energy..

In any case, I’m trying two traditions this year, for November, which are new to me: Movember and NaNoWriMo. Or rather, I’m trying to.

The former is an awareness campaign about men’s health, wherein men “donate” their faces to display manly moustaches grown entirely in the month of November. One could argue that it is an elevated and well-groomed version of Octobeard with a more specific target.

(As an aside, someone mentioned in passing to me the notions of “Decembeard” and “Manuary”, but I think I’ll draw the line somewhere..)

Last month was really my self-challenge to shave after several years of a very specific (and, if I might say so myself, very distinguished) goatee. I’ve missed it every day since then, subconsciously reaching for my familiar lock of hair to tug on while I think. And yet, when the Movember suggestion was made to me, I thought: “Why not?”

So, I’m growing just a moustache for November. Having seen the results from Octobeard, I can be reasonably confident that it will be a decent moustache, and I may take a bit more effort than normal to groom it (although in what fashion or shape I do not yet know; suggestions are welcome!).

The latter of the pair of yearly November traditions is National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. It’s truly an international sport, but I’ve not heard anyone both to change it to IntNoWriMo or anything..

This is the challenge to write, and write hard. To write every day, or whenever possible. To write and write and write and write until you have at least 50 000 words, or the length of a novel.

This is a tradition that I have thus far observed only in passing: it arrives, I think I might try it, and then I fail utterly to write even a single word. So far, that is happening again, as this has been one of the busiest weeks in one of the busiest years I have ever had.

For the last several years, I declined to work in part because of my studies. While I should do that again this year, I’ve discovered that it won’t matter anyway. I need the release of fiction to really feel whole again, need to satisfy that urge to tell stories which I have had since a child.

I’m just not sure exactly how to get started. Or more accurately, I have no idea what to do first.

Given that I seem to have some success in writing in furious spurts on weekends, I’m not stressing too much about it until this weekend arrives. At that point, I hope to write a few words before entirely stressing out about the project. To assist my nerves, I attended a NaNoWriMo gathering briefly this evening (as it was conveniently being held in the room next door). It was amusing to the see the furious typing of a twenty minute word-off, but sitting as I was with pen & paper in hand, I’m not sure I quite achieved the 600-700 words of anyone else.

Certainly: I have no coherent notion of what my narrative might be, and have written nothing down but vague notions and ideas so far. This has always been my problem: the only time I can write is when I’ve not really asked myself to write. Or perhaps it  is simply when I have something specific to work toward, no matter how simple. (Take a listen to the last ~7 minutes of TWS198, for example, to hear what I wrote in the afternoon for a challenge on another radio show to talk about “Zombie Shark”.)

But right now.. nothing. No target. No guide. Nothing to write to.

Well, I’ve had some vague notions of questioning the nature of information co-pilots crossed with direct democracy and Internet identity, but those are more appropriate of an Encaffeianted rant or moment of The WEIRD Show rather than a novel.

This month will continue to be packed for me, with TWS reaching the 200th episode mark in two weeks (around my birthday!), the normal considerable workload of my day job and the attempt to continue with my research efforts..


Let’s hope that stress doesn’t interfere with moustache growth!

(And yet, I can spin out a 700-800 word blog post in no time! Ironic..)

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