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I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time this past month.  The goal is to hit 50,000 words in 30 days.  My ending total was 31,041.  I’m proud of myself for participating and hope to make it an annual tradition.  One day, I will hit 50,000 words!

Today at Hedgebrook, we had our winter salon.  During the Q & A session after lunch, one of the questions asked of the panel of teachers was “How do you find time to write?”

Laurie Frankel started out by answering that paying for childcare is a good motivator.  It allows her to focus exclusively on the writing process and making the time count.

Carol Cassella continued by telling us to strike the word “finding” time and replace it with “making” time.

Donna Miscolta closed by telling the story of how she started writing.  She decided she wanted to be a writer when her children were 4 and 7.  She committed to writing every night at nine o’clock, after they had gone to bed.  She would spend between thirty to sixty minutes writing.

“Sometimes you only get a couple of sentences.  But over time, a couple of sentences make a paragraph.  A couple of paragraphs make a page.  And several pages make a book.”

She put it so simply and eloquently.

I struggled with NaNoWriMo because fiction is foreign to me.  I am much more comfortable writing poetry or creative non-fiction.  As the month went on, I started to feel encumbered by my own characters.  Who were these people and why did they need me to tell them what to do?

I fully intend on continuing to write Illicit Congress, in bits and pieces.  It has been extremely heartening to discover people who have been following the story the entire month.  I have friends who can’t wait to see what happens next.

The experience of NaNoWriMo, paired with the amazing energy at the Hedgebrook salon today made me realize that writing is essential.  It’s not something to be taken lightly, to be brushed off until after the laundry is done or after you’ve caught up with your favorite television shows.  Writing is a process that needs to become a daily ritual for me.  That is why one of my New Year’s resolutions is going to be to write a poem or a piece a day for a year.  Even if it’s a haiku.  Even if I have to sneak it in at 11:59 PM.

I will post most of what I write on this blog.  Thanks for reading.  It feels fabulous to have an audience, albeit a virtual one.  We divas need our stages.  Even if that stage is a blog.