Where I’ve Been: Why I’m Abandoning NaBloPoMo


I am a writer.

I’m a writer because I write.

But it has occurred to me lately that I should occasionally ask myself why I write

To put it incredibly simplistically, I write because I don’t tend to know what I think until I’ve written it.

It makes me wonder then — why do I feel like I need to write every day, if I don’t have anything of value to say?  Why do I just spew words for the sake of spewing words?  Why?  Is there value in self-reflection?  I would argue that there is.

The last few months, I’ve been desperately trying to garner more followers to this here blog, and I suppose I’ve succeeded in that aim, but I’ve noticed a pattern.  The days I gather followers are the days when I’ve posted something that I thought up myself, or at least when I’ve taken a prompt and run in my own direction with it… not the days I’ve taken a mindless prompt and hardly given it any original thought — writing just for the sake of writing.  Is that any different from talking just to talk?  Should I be writing just to write if I shouldn’t talk just to talk?

This is the reason I’ve written nothing since March 7th.

This is the reason I’ve abandoned NaBloPoMo altogether.

Writing should not be a chore.  I love writing.  I write to think.  Some things, I guess…. just don’t really need to be thought about?

I’ve been pondering something else alongside all of this…. You see, if I truly do write to think and process ~ and I believe that that’s true of me ~ shouldn’t I be using this craft for something deeper and more substantial?  Could the words that spill out of me so effortlessly using a keyboard or a pen not be used to Worship and glorify my Creator when the words I speak so often get ixed mup and tangled so badly that I forget what I was talking about?  I know, I know… this doesn’t happen all the time.  I’m pretty well spoken verbally as well, but I find that when I pray I am so easily distracted that I’m talking to God about something and SQUIRREL!  Yeah… that’s about how it goes.  I teach like that some days, too…. it’s pretty fun when you have to rely on students to put your train back on its’ track.

But if my brain processes better while I write, if I focus better while I write, and if I’m better spoken and far more eloquent when I write than when I speak, why wouldn’t I talk to God like that?  I must admit, I’ve never written a prayer.  I know many people who have.  I know many people who admit that it helps them focus, because it’s like writing a letter to a dear friend.

So I’ve abandoned NaBloPoMo, for March anyway.  I don’t think I’ll go back to it for April.  I haven’t given up anything for Lent, mostly because I was afraid I’d fail…. but maybe even though I’m late I can add something in.  I have a blank journal beside my bed, and I’d like to pray with a pen in my hand from here on out.  I’d like to see if it can add some focus to my conversations with the One who matters most, since, you know, SQUIRREL!

I’ll keep you posted.  Until then, though, I hereby announce that I am no longer committed to blogging every single day, lest feeling like I’m forcing myself to do it sucks the joy and the life out of it.  I will still continue to receive all of the prompts into my inbox from The Spin Cycle, Mama Kat (check out her Writer’s Workshop, too), Holley Gerth (check out Coffee For Your Heart), BlogHer’s prompts, and The Daily Post, but I reserve the right to pick and choose the ones that I tackle, if I choose to write any at all.

And who knows what kind of gold I’ll crank out now that I’ve relieved my own source of pressure?

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One Word for 2014. Some goals, and my favourite posts from 2013.


I had actually already thought about my New Year’s Resolutions for 2014 when I read She Loves Magazine’s One Word idea for the year.  I’ve decided to combine this with Mama Kat’s writing prompts, and add in my top 12 blog posts from 2013 and to talk about some Resolutions, or anti-resolutions if you will.

Here’s what I love about this one-word idea, to get myself back on track.

You pick one word for 2014.  Not a bunch of New Years’ Resolutions.  Not a bunch of lofty probably unattainable goals that you’ll be discouraged over later.  No.  One word.  I had already thought about it.  I had already given 2014 enough thought to decide that the only thing I’ll be ‘resolving’ is this:  value.  I will value myself.  I will value those around me.  I will refuse to devalue myself on account of things of this world.  I will wrap my value up in things of Christ, knowing that that’s where my true value is to be found.  I described this idea to my parents as “I will be less hard on myself,” but when I saw the One Word idea put out by She Loves, I wracked my brain for one word.

So the things I’m not resolving to this year, because I’ve resolved to them every year and failed:

I’m not going to put a number on weight loss.  Instead, I’ll value myself enough to make healthy choices, and if that results in weight loss — awesome.

I’m not going to put a kilometre goal on running.  I haven’t been able to run in such a long time because of a stupid ankle injury from LAST CHRISTMAS that I may stick with boxing and take up swimming instead anyway :p  I will value myself enough to know that I don’t need to obsess, and that if I don’t get in a certain number of kilometres or minutes or whatever… accomplished in a week, that doesn’t mean I’m a failure or that I should be so hard on myself.

I’m not going to put a ‘I hope to be in a committed relationship before I’m 30’ marker on this year, because that doesn’t value my singleness or myself AS a single individual.  I will instead recognize that I have value whether single or coupled.  Besides, I’m currently rocking the preferable term, ‘independently owned and operated.’

I have a few things I’d like to accomplish this year, certainly, but these things have less to do with beginning a new year, and more to do with being a person who likes to set goals for herself.  Most notably, I’d like to rock the violin this year.  I’m starting a 52 week money saving challenge with the end goal being a stellar (probably refurbished) violin which was not made in China and which will not break as easily (mine’s currently with a repair guy and I have a borrowed one.  Handing it over to a stranger was like turning over my baby.  It was sad).  I actually may have a resolution for 2015… I’d really like to enter the Canadian Open Fiddling Competition held every year in Shelburne.  I went with my Grandparents for the first time this past August… and I was enraptured.  I don’t think I’ll be ready for this August.  Maybe next year though 😉

Ann Voskamp summarizes really well my thoughts on heading into 2014.  I want to fall forward, not stumble backwards.  Check this out.  Wonderful words, here.

And as I get ready to usher in 2014 with One Word, I’m going to bid 2013 farewell with a few of my favourite blogs from this year (both my posts and those that I follow).  I’ll do 12 of each.  One for each month, I suppose.  Check out Sarah Bessey’s post along the same idea.

First:  Blogs I followed.

Tim and Olive, Olive To Run, A Holy Experience (Ann Voskamp), Jen Hatmaker, Sarah Bessey, Megan Gahan, Sometimes Screaming Helps (Sarah Richardson), Holley Gerth, She Loves Magazine, The Young Woman’s Bucket List, Mama’s Losin It, Darcie the Kindred Spirit, The Road To Rome, Avoiding Neverland (I know… that’s 14.)

Second:  My top 12 posts from 2013.

1.  My ‘2nd Blogiversary Post — I Will Not Humour the Cray Crays.‘  I wrote this just kind of summarizing my most recent dating experiences, and didn’t expect it to get kind of out of hand.  Blog Her picked it up and featured it and it got like 1300 views or something insane like that.  For a fairly newbie blogger, it just blew my mind.

2.  I Am Not Bible Barbie.  This was another one that kind of blew up on me.  I had decided that I’d had enough of being held to this impossible standard by potential suitors, and some friends and I were talking about it at church, and this happened.  And then 450 views happened.  It was my first big post, and the first one that blew up without help from anything else.

3.  The More Boys I Meet, The More I Love My Dog.  I’d been on an AWFUL date.  Seriously, read the story.  I decided that I’d better channel it into good writing that would get new readers, lest I sit around and mope.  It was good therapy 🙂

4.  I Don’t Want to Marry Bible Ken.  The day after I wrote I Am Not Bible Barbie, it occurred to me that I had picked on guys for holding us women to this impossible standard, when we do the same thing to them, and that I don’t want to keep looking for the ‘perfect’ guy.  Read on to find out why 🙂

5.  Singleness is not a disease, nor a curse, nor an affliction… nor is it a problem of mine for others to solve.  I wrote this post about a year ago.  Someone obviously had a ‘solution’ to my singleness problem.  I haven’t re-read these posts, so I don’t remember what prompted it, but it sounds angsty.

6, 7, 8, and 9 were parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 in a series of stories I wrote about a girl named Anna (fictional) who was sold into the sex trade.  I wrote it for The Exodus Road, an organization which works to spread awareness about sex trafficking and the work that’s being done to combat it.  Read Part 1 here.  Part 2 is herePart 3 is hereAnd Part 4 is here. Please read them.  They were hard to write because the details were supplied by Exodus Road, and I knew they were technically fictional, but it was gut-wrenching to think that even though I was making this up, it could very easily have happened in real life.

10.  How I Feel About Endings — A Tribute to My Buddy, Jack.  Hardest post to write this year probably.  I wrote it in the days before we had to have one of my Mom’s dogs, Jack, put down… he was very sick, we had no choice, really.  But it was really hard.  So hard.

11. A Picture’s Worth A Whole Lot… Apparently.  I updated my profile pictures on the dating sites I was registered on because a friend of mine showed me how to use makeup…. and like magic, I had a whole bunch of interest generated.  It caused me to reflect on the value we place on looks.

And tied for number 12 (yes, I know that means I have 13… but I have 4 tied into one story that took 4 months to finish, so I think it’s fair.  Also — it’s my blog.  #idowhatiwant)  “My ‘come-to-Jesus’ moment about Rob Ford’ and ‘A Duck Call for Love.’  Both of these posts were written in response to public figures blowing it in view of the entire Western World, and how I feel like there has to be a better way to do things than we’ve been doing it.  As Christians, we’re called to love, and that’s what both of these posts are aimed at.

favourite TV

Bones, NCIS, NCIS Los Angeles, Nashville, Chicago Fire, Rick Mercer Report, Elementary, Castle, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, and… apparently there are only 11 of these.  That’s ok.

Books:  Confession ~ I didn’t read anywhere close to 12 books this year.  I’d like to read more in this next year.  I guess that comes with valuing my intelligence and not squandering so much time on Facebook?  We’ll see how that goes.

Pirates of Savannah, The Sacred Search, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, Made To Crave, Every Body Matters, The Sweet By and By, Love Lifted Me, Softly And Tenderly, Flabbergasted.  I can’t think of any more that I read this past year.  There might be more, though that number in itself kind of shocked me.  I have a giant stack beside my bed to get through still, so… we’ll see how that goes :p  Next on the list, which I’m really excited about (just have to finish The Sacred Search first), is Real Men Don’t Text, by Ruthie Dean.  Can’t wait.

Movies: I should preface this — I’m not super picky when it comes to movies.  I’m pretty easy to please.  The only one I really didn’t like was The Heat.

The Hobbit, Frozen, The Butler, Captain Phillips, 12 Years A Slave, The Family, Oz the Great and Powerful, Gangster Squad, Safe Haven, Olympus Has Fallen, 42, Runner Runner.  Those are just ones I saw in theatres.  Like I said, I’m pretty indiscriminate.

Music:  I could never pick just 12 songs.  I guess I can pick 12 artists, though.  Note:  I fell in love with Eastern Canadian Folk Music this year.  So…. get ready for this.  That’s right… The Rankins are in there.  Classic, 1990s Rankin Family.  On repeat in the car for the last 5 days.  Straight.  Legit.

Charlie Worsham, Natalie MacMaster, Leahy, The Rankins, The Band Perry, Luke Bryan, Third Day, Dixie Chicks, Sugarland, Duelling Fiddlers, The Piano Guys, Lady Antebellum, Lindsey Stirling.  I know, I know, that’s 13.  It’s the best I could do.

And that’s it, guys!  That’s it for 2013!  Stay tuned for January.  Another NaBloPoMo kicks off January 1.  Am I insane for taking the challenge during a Report Card month?  Probably, but it could lead to some really entertaining (albeit brief) posts 😉

Weekly Writing Prompt: Traces


I’m not at home, so finding the three things nearest to me that ‘define’ me seems difficult in order to do this prompt.  I know what I would pick, though, if I were at home, because I know what’s always nearest to me that ‘defines’ me.

This week’s prompt says:

  • Taking a look around you, what three objects most represent you and why? How do they reflect your personality, and who you are?

If I were to sit down at my kitchen table to write, which I don’t always do, you would find that what’s nearest to me would be my phone, my Bible, and my violin books.  If I could choose a fourth, it would be my writing idea book, and a fifth would be my computer.  Normally, I’m sitting in my rocking chair in my basement, watching TV, creeping around Facebook, reading other blogs, and half focusing on whatever I’m writing… because that’s how my brain works.  There’s some insight into my brain for you.

1.  My Phone.  This seems like a completely LAME thing to have near me that ‘defines’ me, but here’s the deal… it is ALWAYS on me.  When I’m not teaching in a classroom, it is never very far away from it.  It’s how I stay connected.  I check my email, my Facebook, my WordPress, my Twitter, my Voxer… all whenever I get notifications from it.  I know, I know… there are studies that show that being that attached to one’s phone is detrimental to life… I get it.  But I’m a social person who lives alone, and I feel like the phone helps me stay plugged into social outlets even when I’m technically not able to be social because I’m in my basement with a TV, a dog, a tennis ball, and a torn-apart stuffed fox (what does the fox say NOW!? hahaha).

Kloe Fox 2 Kloe Fox 1

Kloe Fox 3

2.  My Bible.  I have a few, but notably there’s one that sits on my kitchen table that I read every morning while I eat breakfast.  I’ve started in Genesis recently and am working my way through cover to cover.  I’m looking forward to it.  I’m just about to wrap up the story of Joseph, and I’m finding that it’s quite neat how everything is kind of intertwined with everything else when you read it in chronological order (shocking, right?).  This reflects who I am because there is life in those words that I don’t know how to function without.  The more of it I read, the more of it I want to read.

3.  My violin books.  Gosh, I am loving the violin lately.  I am loving the dedication my teacher has to pulling great, not mediocre, but great sound out of me.  I love love love the challenge.  I love how hard it is to play a violin well, but I’m doing it.  I love that when I tell people I can fiddle, they’re shocked and amazed.  I love fiddling.  I love it when my fingers fly across the neck of the violin and good sound comes out.  Love love love.  Currently, my violin is sitting on my kitchen table as well, but once I have to use the table for anything, that’ll have to change.

(4 and 5).  My writing idea book is new.  I chose to add this and my computer in because they’re what lets me take care of my writing urges.  Trust me, I have many.  I have little books everywhere for writing ideas.  The one that sits on my coffee table I bought at the St. George Apple Fest, and it’s got home made paper and everything.  I scribble ideas in there, as well as in a little notebook I keep in my purse, and I have a magnetic clipboard hanging on the filing cabinet beside my desk at school.  Writing is therapy for my soul and lets me get out whatever’s floating around in my brain… often in words that I would never dare utter face to face.  I write in books for ideas and then I transfer the ideas into this lovely ‘new post’ form.

That’s it for now… maybe later tonight 🙂