I would write a blog post today, but I started National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and wrote 2,000 words of a 50,000-word “novel.” I put that in quotes because I’m not sure I can something I cook up in thirty days a real novel. Still, I want to learn how to write long and I had fun doing this last year, so away I go.
Still, that means no blog post today and I’m sad about that. I like publishing some daily thinking and it’s good exercise for me. I struggle with feeling that I have a right to publish. Every time I post I have this thought: Who are you to publish? Still, I do post and each time it gets easier.
I hope that NaNoWriMo makes long-form writing easier too. I’m not as interested in writing a novel as I once was and am more into writing a book about schools. I have an idea for it festering in my head. I’ve put a few words of it down, but like this blog, there’s no way I can work on it while typing a novel.
Yesterday I wrote to myself about how I am reading three books: a memoir about paddling the Charles River, prose poems by David Shumate, and a book of essays by William Zinsser. I often worry that I need to choose one, get it done, and make the world right, but the writing told me different. I read the memoir because I like it and because I can’t swallow a whole book of poetry at once. It’s too rich, sometimes so rich that I can’t even dip into it and turn instead to the book of essays. They all serve a purpose and there’s no reason to fight my inclination to read them all. Besides, I'm never done reading, so why rush?
The same goes for writing. I spend mornings on blog posts and poetry, though in November I work on my "novel." Later, in class with students, I do about five hand-written pages of thinking. Then in the evening, I work on revisions or type a post about school. I don’t stick to one type of writing. I can't let any of them go.
Still, there's a limit and that’s why I’m not writing a blog post today. Sorry. I’ll get back to it soon. If I work steadily on NaNoWriMo, maybe I’ll finish by Thanksgiving. Then I can post something you might want to read. Something interesting. It might be about how life is complicated and we're all jugglers. But it's okay, I could say, and describe the peace of juggling. Near the end I would write, I'm learning to accept that even with only two hands I can keep several balls in the air, following their trajectories with every sense, knowing that it's a simple matter to pick up anything I drop and start again.
Next month, when there's time, I'll write that and end by saying “write on.”