Stacked in Our Favor

Thoughts about libraries, education, children's literature, writing, art and being connected

Friday, November 13, 2009


NANOWRIMO has been a truly awe inspiring experience. For some time I have thought that it would be interesting to try my hand at writing a novel. Those thoughts stayed up in my head. Occasionally there would be someone with whom I could share those unexplored thoughts. Did I ever sit down and test the dream? Not really. I found I enjoyed writing for publication and the research process had a grip on me, but actually working on a novel, it just never happened.

NANOWRIMO has changed everything about this dream. I started out with an idea. I came up with the idea on my morning commute. It was an idea born of duress. The commitment had been made to the process...I had to find something to write about. That evening I came home and started pounding the keys. It was shocking to find that the characters were recalcitrant. They did not stay in the boxes I had created for them. They became living, breathing entities with minds of their own. I cannot imagine where they came from. That this book could be written is something I do not doubt. That it is being written by me is nothing less than astounding.

I find that as I have embraced this process I feel more lively and alive. I get more excited about things. I'm having fun.

More than that, I find the way I approach teaching students about the books we read in the library has dramatically changed. I have always stressed that they may some day write a book which will be in our library, the committment to viewing ourselves as authors and illustrators has deepened. I find that students seem to be connecting more deeply with the material and I do too. This process has enhanced my library program in unexpected ways.

I am using my SONY IC Recorder to take snapshots of my ideas on my commute. Least you think I'm holding it while driving, let me tell you my technique. I do not talk on my cell phone while driving, so I had to find a technique for this. I either pull over and make the recording before resuming driving or, I tuck the recorder into my safety belt near my neck. I reach out and touch the red button and can talk for quite a while. Then I press the button again. If I miss, it's no big deal. I know I have succeeded when I hear the beep. Upon arriving home it is easy to replay the tape player and type it into my work.

All in all, NANOWRIMO is an event I would highly recommend to anyone who has an interest in writing a novel. It's not easy to keep at it, but it is a transformation experience which I am glad I embraced.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

Go for it!