Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Insecure, exhausted, and scared of NaNoWriMo

The first Wednesday of the month
 is time for Insecure Writers
 Support Group, hosted
by Alex Cavanaugh and his
excellent team. 
Click here for a list
of all the participants and to join in.
A big change in life has really thrown a wrench in my writing.

For many complicated reasons, I took on home schooling two of my daughters this fall. It's been a tough adjustment, but worthwhile. Very worthwhile.

But it's consuming and exhausting, and I'm still working my part time job on top of it. Something had to give to make this all work, and it's been my writing (and exercise... now that the days are getting shorter, I'm really missing my evening walks).

I was holding out hope that once the girls and I were adjusted to the new schedule - say, about six weeks - that I would be able to start writing again on a regular basis. But the insecurity I'm facing as I start my sixth week of home school is that writing isn't ever going to regain its foothold.

I absolutely love NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November, and this will be my 7th year participating. This is the first year I haven't been looking forward to it. I just can't see how I can fit in two hours of writing daily (that's about how long it takes me to meet the 50,000 words in a month challenge) on top of my already insane schedule. There's not much left I can cut back on. I'm not one of those moms that has her kids signed up for lots of extra-curriculars:  they each get to choose one extra-curricular activity a week (but there are four of them). My own social life has already thinned down to one night w/friends a week. Dropping that during November will help just a few hours a week.

October is usually my big planning/outlining month getting ready for NaNo, but I've even been dreading October, not even sure I want to start planning for something that I don't think I can complete.

But then last night, it happened.


The story that wants to get written suddenly came alive and took over my brain and flooded me with ideas, and even more important, with passion (a rough draft of a historical fantasy, A Handful of Scars, from 2010, that needs to be completely rewritten).

I realized that my passion for the past six weeks has been funneled into a new project: getting started homeschooling. I needed to be passionate and single-minded about this huge new thing, especially to get through the initial tough period of adjustment. But we're getting into the routine, and while I don't want to lose my passion for teaching my kids, I am far enough along with it now that I think the passion can spread into a new side project.

Now that my passion has been ignited for this new project, I think I might be able to do it. At least, I'm hopeful and eager to try, and I'm not going to beat myself up if I only get 25,000 words instead of 50,000... if I can only manage an average of one hour a day instead of two.

Passion might just be the antidote to insecurity.

I think!? What do you think?


  1. As another homeschooling mom who also works part time and tries to sneak in writing as much as possible, I don't have any words of wisdom for you. But, you are not alone. I love to participate in Nano, but rarely win. I figure progress is better than the alternative, so I just do what I can. Best of luck to you!

  2. I think we have these periods in life when we just can't plan or fit everything in. If you have the passion and the ideas I'm sure you will get there. Good luck and happy writing.

  3. Well done you!! You're totally multitasking in extreme and totally determined too! All the best with your homeschooling and writing schedule! And don't forget to breathe! :-) Take care

  4. Yay, Margo!!! Sometimes you don't realize you've lost that magical spark until you find a new project to be passionate about.

    Wow, you are super busy with everything going on. *hugs*

  5. Good for you Margo! I think you've got the right attitude here. If inspiration is knocking go for it, but if it's too much, be happy with whatever you get. Last year I had to quit Nano a week in. It killed me, but I was trying to move my family across two states after my hubby had already left for the new job. There was no time for writing.

    The time will come again, but until then, enjoy your kids and whatever writing you can get!

    My Writing Journey

  6. Best wishes on homeschooling your girls. I give you LOTS of credit to be able to do that. Sounds like you have a great idea for writing and just do your best with NaNoWriMo!

  7. Darn that passion. It gives you a shove when you have the least amount of time for it. Jump in, Margo. Inspiration will not be denied. My 2nd son and my revisions were due on the same day - both were early. Both turned out just fine. Just remember to breathe!

  8. Perhaps make your goal 20 or 30,000 words for NaNo. You might write more, but no matter how much you write you'll still have thousands of words more than you did before November. Good luck with your planning and wishing you lots of inspiration, Margo!!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

  9. I homeschool my kids too, so I know how hard it is to be a writer at the same time. For me, it's a lot of late late nights. Good luck.

    -Ilima Todd (IWSG co-host)

  10. I'll be rooting for you! I think it's great that you're going to do it, even despite your busy schedule. I'm sure your passion for your story will take you far! :)

  11. No Nano for me this year. I'm still trying to wrestle with the 30K words I wrote last year, and it's not going well. :)

    But you're right. Taking on extra responsibilities can be a real drain on writing. I began teaching a night chemistry course this fall, and even though I keep telling myself I'll get some of my writing time back once things get settled, I'm not sure that's really ever going to happen. Good luck with NaNo.

  12. I hear you on the busy life things, Margo! But I am so thrilled and happy that you are saving a tiny corner for that story that wants to be written. I too am doing NaNoWriMo with a 25K word goal this year for a story that wants to be told. Just think about it this way: 25K is more words of a novel than some people will EVER write in their entire lives. Take heart because I am right there with you! Excited to see what we come up with!

  13. What an incredible leap to take - homeschooling. That's great you're seeing the benefits. I know that is a full time job in and of itself. That said, I'm glad inspiration found you for a Nano novel! :)

  14. Wow. I am in awe. I don't know that I could homeschool - I really admire you for making that decision. I think it's normal to not have the passion for writing that you did for awhile. Whenever we have a huge change in our lives, it does sort of put other things on hold for awhile until we get settled and acclimated. That's how I felt when I started my new day job - I just didn't have the energy for writing for about a month or more because the new job was so demanding. But I've been there for more than 2 months and feeling much more secure.

    I'm so glad you're feeling passionate about your NaNo novel! Just remember to HAVE FUN with it and don't put a lot of pressure on yourself!

  15. Good for you! Not an easy choice but you can do it now that you've found your passion. I'll be cheering you on. I made the tough choice not to do NaNo this year. I have projects to start that I feel passionate about, but I have others I feel just as passionately about that need revision. I decided not to put all those revisions on hold yet again for a shiny new wip.

    You're the 3rd person I "know" who has decided to home school this year. Best of luck to you! You're a hero.

  16. Just stopping by to say oh my gooooooooooooosh homeschooling yippee!! Now, the reasons you chose to suddenly homeschool may be good or may be bad, I don't know. But please, as a former homeschooler, feel free to pick my brain. Homeschooling ROCKS.



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