Several weeks ago, I informed my wife that I would not be participating in NaBloPoMo this year. Last year, I was able to write daily for an entire month because I was unemployed and didn’t have a lot else to do. You can only prepare so many job application essays before you drive yourself crazy, and NaBloPoMo seemed like a perfect opportunity to improve my writing skills. I knew that, if nothing else, it would be a “butt in chair” exercise that would get me into the habit of pounding out something every 24 hours, even if I didn’t particularly feel like it and didn’t think I had anything worthwhile to share with my audience.
As expected, a number of my posts took inanity to a new level and no doubt inspired a good deal of eye rolling among my readers. Fortunately for me, the month of November always presents some ready-made topics, such as the change in the weather, the family foibles surrounding Thanksgiving and the arrival of the holiday season. I held forth on the challenges of being a vegan on Turkey Day, waxed nostalgic on the occasion of my father’s eightieth birthday and described the river of emotions that resulted from spending time with my one year old grandniece (and hence, Elmo and Abby Cadabby as well) on a nearly daily basis. NaBloPoMo was also when I began writing about homelessness in earnest, following my first month of living in the church parsonage and seeing the needy arriving regularly at our door in search of succor and sustenance.
It was a great feeling to proudly paste the NaBloPoMo logo at the end of each post and an even greater feeling when December 1 rolled around and I realized that I had risen to the challenge and succeeded. I felt amply rewarded when A Map of California was featured in the NaBloPoMo section of WordPress’ Recommended Blogs page for months on end.
This year, of course, is different. After nearly twelve months of unemployment, I was finally hired by state government in mid-September. I have been blessed with a job I truly enjoy, one of the best bosses I have ever had and a rather interesting daily commute. As grateful as I am, it doesn’t leave me much free time for writing. I’ve been doing my best to post once weekly, but even that can be a stretch sometimes. So writing every day for a month is, as I related to my wife, out of the question.
As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I regretted my decision. One of my favorite things about NaBloPoMo is that it makes me feel a part of something big. Look at all the other bloggers around the world who are pounding away at their keyboards at the same time that I am! I want to be a member of that club.
I soon realized that there is only one possible way that, with a little luck, I might be able to pull this off. The idea I came up with is “speed blogging.” At work, I have an hour lunch break every day. Now, an hour isn’t much time to think of a good topic, develop a decent thesis and flesh it out with appropriate arguments and witty examples (while eating a soy cream cheese and olive sandwich and a banana). But I figure that if I keep my posts short and concentrate on my day-to-day experiences rather than on huge issues that require hours of research, I might be able to push myself through.
And so, faithful readers, please wish me good luck as we embark on this adventure together.
Okay, hour’s up. I have to get back to work now.