When I announced my commitment to participate in November’s National Blog Posting Month by posting something (anything!) on each of November’s thirty days, I didn’t envision how quickly the month would fly by. But here I am on the brink of December with thirty posts under my belt: just like that, NaBloPoMo is no more.
Over the past thirty days, I learned it’s not too difficult to post something (anything!) every day if you keep a well-stocked photographic pantry to use on days when light is scarce and inspiration is scarcer. It also helps if you keep a daily journal you can plunder for posts.
More than anything, though, it helps to have an arbitrary commitment to post even when you feel you have nothing significant to say or share. There have been more than a few days this month when I’ve felt like Mother Hubbard looking at her proverbial bare cupboard, but I somehow posted anyway. In retrospect, it was good to have made the promise to post, because that promise kept me posting whether I felt like it or not. Some days you feel like you have something to say, and other days you don’t…but even on the days when you don’t feel particularly profound, you can almost always stir up something, even if it’s only a dirty, gritty version of stone soup.
Occasionally, it’s good to remind yourself that you don’t need huge, uninterrupted chunks of time to spend on your writing: just a few minutes here and a few minutes there can be “enough” if you’ve made a commitment to make good use of those minutes. A few weeks ago, at a particularly busy point in the semester, one of my teaching colleagues asked me if I’d found much time lately to write, and she seemed amazed when I replied that I’d been writing and posting every day. This particular colleague is a poet, and she says she works best when she can devote four or more hours to a work-in-progress…but I can’t remember the last time I had four straight hours that weren’t interrupted by work, chores, or social commitments. If I wrote only when I could steal four uninterrupted hours from my various demands, I’d never write at all. I’m lucky, I think, that prose is so much easier to write than poetry: a genre I can literally squeeze into the tiny gaps in otherwise busy days.
November is ending right in the nick of time, as December is the busiest, most grading-intensive time of the semester: it will be good to have one less arbitrary commitment to worry about these next few weeks, when I’ll be facing a seemingly endless series of seemingly bottomless paper piles. Whereas blogging can (and does) get squeezed into those occasional moments when I find or make time, paper-grading really does require the kind of uninterrupted concentration my aforementioned colleague devotes to poetry.
I don’t see any poem-writing in my immediate future, just a lot of paper-grading. Given the many to-do’s that stand between me and the end of my current semester, I’m happy to return to an unpredictably occasional blog-posting schedule, saying “no more, for now” to November’s NaBloPoMo commitment. It’s never too early, after all, to start stocking one’s pantry for next year.