This month, we’re taking the SURVIVAL acronym from a wilderness survival guide, and using it to lead you through the depths of the forests, lakes, and crags of your writing journey. Mary Robinette Kowal, award-winning writer and puppeteer (you heard me!), shares just how important it is to write smart:
- S – Size Up the Situation
- U – Use All Your Senses, Undue Haste Makes Waste
- R – Remember Where You Are
- V – Vanquish Fear and Panic
- I – Improvise
- V – Value Living
- A – Act Like the Natives
- L – Live by Your Wits, But for Now, Learn Basic Skills
NaNoWriMo teaches you to write fast and to write without fear. I have always loved that adventurous plunge into wild story. Even if you are an outliner, like me, you’ll still hit a point where you head off the map and into uncharted territory. That journey can become exhausting because you have to build the landscape and navigate it at the same time.
Sometimes a feature that looks pretty can become impassable, so you have to backtrack and work your way around or invent a passage through the mountains. That’s when you start questioning if you will survive the month…
We currently have 16 followers but on the Facebook group, we have 207 people. This number is mostly comprised of my friends and friends of friends. We even have parents :)
Thank you for asking!
Hi there, so as promised I do have an explanation as to why I stopped working on this group for a good long while.
Around June of 2012, I felt that I had settled my affairs with school and other parts of my life. I was not being productive and eventually decided that it was a good time for me to find work. I successfully landed a job working in retail. Now, I don’t mind retail in the least. I thought that it would be a good place to develop a better understanding of human interaction and an opportunity to learn about how to run a business. First few weeks on the job, I thought that I was doing pretty well, considering all that I had been through and am still processing. It was also my first paid position, otherwise, I had only done co-op. Anyways, I was picking up new skills and things were going well until I developed anxiety. Each day, I began returning home knowing that I may be fired the next day or whenever. I was not happy at my workplace. I became withdrawn and quiet even though I am not naturally predisposed to be. By the end of the 3 month probation period, I was let go and I agreed with the decision. I, myself, should have left when I first developed anxiety. In no way was I growing as a person and was a hindrance to the company. The anxiety and nervousness brought about incompetence. That summer was not a productive use of my time but I did manage to save up and pay off some debt.
In September, my boyfriend and I broke up because he thought that he would not be able to handle being away from me for extended periods of time because of a potential job opportunity. He felt that it would be best for me to not be constantly thinking about his safety, etc., while I was studying to become an RN. We had already discussed the topic without ever really addressing the option of breaking up. When it happened, I felt so empty and hopelessly at a loss. I could feel that the relationship had taken an odd direction. I was thoroughly confused for a very long time and it led to a depressive state that lasted all of October and November. In that time, I isolated myself, not because I was sad about the break up (even though I was terribly upset) but I did it because I was ashamed with how I had handled everything; the pain of my father’s death and the horrendously jumbled emotions associated with that, the loss of employment, losing the ability to even interact with my family properly but most of all, I let myself lose control.
For me, control is a privilege that I had finally earned. As a child, my parents governed the activities I was involved in. I was not allowed to participate in most sports for fear of my small body getting injured. I had to fight to participate in musical ensembles. I had to sneak away to even go to the mall, a birthday party or even to just hang out with friends. When I turned 18, I declared myself legally able to make my own decisions. I did what I wanted and for the most part I did fairly well, given the fact that my father was rapidly dying before my eyes, at the time.
So anyways, December was quickly approaching and I decided that I was going to get help at a hospital. I began researching about how one goes about getting admitted.
Right before I intended to check myself in, my boyfriend mustered up the courage to tell me that he regretted his decision to let me go. In the time apart, he realized that what we had was more than enough to survive the test of time and whatever distance our jobs put between us. Without being elegantly wordy, he said that he still loved me and asked for a second chance. I was at a loss for words. I had no idea what to say and I delayed a reply for a long as I could. I told him that I was in the process of getting myself to the hospital and that I was afraid that I was relapsing. I needed to focus on getting better.
Once there, the hospital did their best to treat me as quickly as possible and I think they came to realize that I was able to do this on my own but for whatever reason, I needed a kick in the ass, so to speak. I was discharged about a week before Christmas.
Ever since, I’ve been studying hard and playing hard. I am repeating three courses from second semester of last year and decided to complete second year electives, there are two. I’ve had to drop one in order to succeed in the other four courses. I focused on building my network as much as possible, for the last month. I now have employment when the opportunity rises in the summer with an insurance company and I will most likely have work, training to be a certified laboratory technician.
I plan to take time off school to work. I need to save money for school, help my family move forward and establish a better sense of security both literally and for that sense of peace, for all of us of course. It’s time that we finally get back on our feet.
I am confident that I can succeed. I am most definitely not the girl I used to be. I’m starting to accept that I am a woman. I have major responsibilities, as I always had and I play a key role in the well being of those I care about.
Just like every other year, I promised myself that this would be my year. I will not let it go to waste.
Just a final note: a lot of the things I post are through Facebook so please check us out at:
I realize that I have not posted anything for almost a year. I will have an explanation posted at a later date with updates to my story and to the blog. But for now, just know that the project is simply on hold.