Tuesday, October 14, 2014

In Defense of Writing Delays

Flickr Credit: mpclemens
If you haven’t heard of NaNoWriMo, I assume that you are one of two groups: a) not a writer, or b) a new writer who hasn’t been around long. Both of those are fine: the existence of National Novel Writing Month never once mentioned itself to me until I was in eighth grade.

I succeeded that year, tried the next year, got bored, and haven’t done it since.

I will not be writing a novel next month. I’m writing one in December. It’s a superhero story, family based, about divided loyalties and duty and a bunch of great stuff I haven’t really hammered out yet. I’m planning, and I’m working on getting into the genre.

I am totally cool with this.

There are a lot of lists out there telling you to give in, do NaNoWriMo, and with reckless abandon just let your novel fly onto the page—I’ll give you an argument for the opposite.

In Defense of Writing Delays (Or, 5 Reasons Why You Don’t Have to do NaNoWriMo)

1. Community is Distracting—well, that’s not something you hear every day. Yes, writing groups and circles can be super exciting and encouraging, but they’re also another reason to be on the Nano website (not to mention Facebook, and Pinterest, and our email, and why don’t we go on Youtube while we’re at it?). Some people need community, but not everyone can handle the self-control community requires.

2. Timing Complications—now, you are always going to hear that every day is busy—write anyway! This is true, but at least in my annual schedule, November possibly the worst month I could choose to write a novel. April is another one. I’m not going to deal with a crackdown month in school and a novel at the same time; my energies are better focused on small projects. ALSO, Nano almost makes it sound like you can’t write a novel any other month. Guess what? You can. I’m writing my novel in December, because there is less stress and more time available to me—I’m sure I’m not the only one.

3. Pressure and Competition—this isn’t two teams pitted against each other at the Superbowl, waiting for devastating loss and heartbreak when your team loses to Victoria’s, goshdangit—it’s a friendly activity among compatriots. Nonetheless, some people don’t want to deal with that kind of pressure, myself included. If something happens, fine, I still haven’t lost anything, and I can work just as hard without repercussions.

(As you may have noticed, I am rather lax when it comes to my writing habits, which is perhaps why I am not the best writer in the world.)

4. Readiness Factors—I’m not ready to write my novel. You may not be ready, either. Despite October being “National Novel Planning Month” I am not the kind of person who can fit her ideas into a month of thinking. I’ll write when I’m ready. On the flip side, you may be ready to go this instant—why wait? Like Nike might suggest, it’s totally okay to “just do it.”

5. You’re Still a Writer Anyway—interestingly enough, a writer writes. They don’t have to blog, share their writing, do NaNoWriMo, or anything else, so long as they write. I don’t think Nano is much fun. If you don’t, don’t plague yourself: you can still be a writer anyway.

So there you have it. Blogging. NaNo. Nope.

What do you think? Are you going to do NaNoWriMo, or are you skipping this year? Why?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Turns of Phrase

If you've been following this blog already for a short while, you can't have failed to notice my regular sign-off:


Khodafez is a very interesting word, with a very interesting etymology and definition, that I try to use it when possible.

Khodafez is essentially a parting-term in Farsi, very common in Iran. A "good-bye", or "farewell", or "fare thee well", if you will.

The official phrase is khoda hafiz, which means literally "May God be your guardian". Most Persians just shorten this to khodafez, which I personally prefer. That is the history of this strange term.

I am a language nerd. I look up etymologies of words in other languages and study their etymologies and original meanings and spellings. I compare words in different languages: for example, the Spanish rojo, the French rouge, the Italian rosso, and the delightfully unrelated Portuguese vermelho. English itself is a language hog. It has selfishly taken and borrowed words from other languages and adapted them to its needs. The result? We speak French peppered with some Spanish, Italian and other languages, and speak it with a German accent.

Part of the allure of languages are the different phrases used. Below are some of the phrases that different languages have. Can you guess what they mean?

entre nous
segun San Lucas
mahalo nui loa
ab aeterno
folie a deux
joie de vivre
cri de coeur

This is a weird topic, I know. But it's still interesting to learn languages, or at least parts of them. For in learning languages, you gain insight in their culture and history, too. That's why etymologies are so fascinating.

In addition, some of the lesser-known languages here in the West have a certain allure that the European ones can't equate. Everyone can guess what "adieu" means, but how many people, how many of you, readers, before reading this post, knew what "khodafez" meant? Exactly. My personal motto in life is "style over substance". In this case, it works perfectly. The allure, the intrigue, over a mysterious language such as Farsi is much more fulfilling than French. This is not to say I hate French or am denigrating it - quite the opposite. I love French. Je suis un etudiant de la langue. But it is worth discovering other languages, not just the common ones that everyone and their mother knows or is learning.

There are an estimated 6800 languages in the world today. Try and discover a new one today. For the esoterically inclined, there's Aymara and Oubykh. For those who want something that's rather well-known but want an exotic flair, there's Hawaiian, or Korean, or Danish. Discover something.

Now, I bid you, dear Reader, adieu, or as you might expect:


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Henry V

I want you to understand that I have had a very busy weekend.

I spent Saturday getting through quite a bit of homework, not to mention other writerly duties and editing my application for the biggest scholarship in Colorado. I drank tea Saturday night and ate chocolate chips whilst I developed a new system of classifying villains I simply cannot wait to unveil in a few weeks.

Sunday was spent at church, and other than homework, editing two novels, planning another one, and writing other blog posts, I spent an hour and a half (or 30 Christmas songs, if you prefer), developing a Hogwarts castle and promptly filling it with dinosaurs.

Clearly, I am a busy girl.

For that, I have decided to humbly present a stimulating video produced by my favorite comedy show, so that you might learn a little bit about Henry V.

I expect your full forgiveness. Expect a better post next week!