Nanowrimo 2017: Not Precisely the Halfway Mark


My novel is not a novel, but a non-fiction multi-genre exploration. It is part memoir, part travel guide, and part spiritual journey. It will include photographs and history, both of myself and the land. I haven’t been this excited about a writing project in a long time. I’m very glad that I took up the challenge of Nanowrimo in order to jump into this book and get it started. I’ve been talking about writing this for at least two decades.

As you can see from the above graphic, I’m about 5,000 words short of where I’m supposed to be at this point.

But that’s okay.

I’m also 20,000+ words ahead of where I was on November 1st.

There were a couple of days when I wrote 0 words, but I was also writing other things, like pieces for here and my writing group. There was one day when I wrote 3,313 words.

Currently, I have 18 saved documents of varying lengths from 75 to 2,468 ranging in topics from the dreaded GPS of 2009 to Driving and Comfort Zones, two topics that don’t really go together. At all.

I had decided to simply write about what I felt like in relation to my book on my journey through Wales, and that’s what I’m doing. I’m very happy with my progress. Some of it can be repetitive, although not as much as I feared. Some subjects overlap with different years and places, and one of the hard parts is going to be gathering these writings into a cohesive form that flows but also stays true to my experiences. I’m planning on putting together an outline sometime in December as I read and edit what I will have at the end of November.

For those of you also writing for Nanowrimo, there is good news and bad news. They are both the same: we are halfway through. If you’re doing well, great; keep going. If you haven’t started or have slowed down, that’s okay; you still have time. Keep going.

Journeying Without Hypocrisy


“Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.” – Matthew 23:1-5

Yesterday’s Gospel is one that I struggle with every Lent as well as throughout the year. How do I continue my spiritual journey, the path to find me and do it authentically, and sometimes that’s hard to come by? I go to church and I’m seen by people. Whether or not their judging me, and nine times out of ten, they are not, I still feel uncomfortable. Am I worshipping in the right way?

I did do it before my baptism, but it took me forever to make the sign of the cross and the crosses on my head, lips and heart before the Gospel is read. I wasn’t ready, but then one day, without thinking about it, I just did it. I almost didn’t realize it. One day it was right.

I did feel that part of me was worried at how I looked, did people think I was genuine.

This was one of the reasons I didn’t talk about what I had given up for Lent or about the daily reflections that I had planned on doing. To me it sounded like bragging even though I definitely didn’t mean it like that. When I put money in the collection basket, I feel like there are looks, and I wish that there was another way of making my contribution.

How do we join the two sides to do what is important to us individually to do?

Today is the fourteenth day into Lent. I haven’t been counting down, but as I mentioned one of the Lenten commitments I made to myself (and to you, although unknowingly to you) in that first week was to write a daily reflection. It doesn’t matter how long it was or what it was about, but it was spontaneous, something that came to me at some point during the day, and so far as almost exclusively been related to my daily readings. Yesterday was the exception.

Most of them have been kind of eureka moments. I’ll be going along with my normal day, I read something or hear something at mass, and it makes me think, or go aha! Or slap my head or stop whatever else I’m doing to jot down a few thoughts and post it. This is really where my kindle has come in handy. In fact, today is probably the first day in the last month that I’ve actually used my computer to write. I can thank the bad roads for that. I ended up staying home with my television and my computer. I’m hungry, but that can wait.

I love to write. It makes me feel alive. It is part of every aspect of everything I do. I need it and I need to do it every day, constantly throughout the day. One of the objects I want to get out of these daily reflections is to continue to figure out who I am and where my mental priorities lie. I’m forty-eight years old and I don’t fit. I’m still trying to fit.

Remembering to do what feels right and leaving the hypocrisy at the door is a struggle that we all have to push through, and we all can in our own ways.