#NaNoProgMo January 2012: Week 1

Tapping a Pencil

I told myself I'd be better about making periodic progress posts for NaNoProgMo this time around. Easy enough, considering I haven't been making any progress!

Ok, that's not strictly true: I'm 1 hour into my 15-hour goal. Still, I haven't been working on my writing every day as I've meant to. I think setting my goal so low this month has made me feel like I can get behind, because catching up will be relatively easy. I was hoping I wouldn't take my half-hour a day as a maximum but as a minimum to get my momentum going. Um … yeah … I should have known me better.

Well, there's always next month!

I'm feeling discouraged about my mystery novel, the one I thought was almost finished last NaNoProgMo. I'm having Sam read it through for his second time after major revisions. I thought he might have some thoughts for tightening it up.

Well, be careful what you ask for, because he's only a third or so in, and he's already given me ideas for changing the whole direction of the novel.


The ambition of a writer who's also a mother

Up through my twenties, I had very little ambition. I mean, I wanted to be a novelist someday, but it wasn't urgent. I had no drive to make money, or impress people, or achieve much of anything.

For reasons beyond my understanding, that all changed when I started blogging. Mikko was three months old when I started Hobo Mama. Especially as the blog grew, I discovered in myself a passion to make something of myself, to be professional, to be taken seriously as a writer.

And yet, even now, even still, four and a half years later, I wrestle with that tension: ambition vs. motherhood, writing vs. parenting, success vs. fear. It's hard to say which will win, at any given moment and over time.

When I blog and when I work on my novel and other projects, or even when I do the business taxes for our family or work on my sewing, I feel the age-old guilt of a mother otherwise engaged. I am not paying attention to my children. I am devoting myself to something other.

But I also feel the spark of that other within me driving me on, compelling me to create, to do, to pursue. When I let it go for a time, I feel stagnant. But when I fall too headlong into it, it becomes repellant to me — what I become seems repellant to me.

Where does this tension come from?
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