NaNoWriMo….(Look it Up!)

02 Nov

NaNoWriMo starts today…

There is no way that I have the capacity to write a 50,000 word novel this month. And yet, I am inspired by my 18 year old son, Andrew. He is more motivated, determined, and downright interesting than I was when I was 18…more so than I am now, I would daresay. And he is the one who introduced me to NaNoWriMo…not intentionally, mind you, but as he often does…offhandedly, as he talked about his goals and dreams.

I have always wanted to write…to write something meaningful…something that would connect with someone…anyone. Unfortunately, I have always thought myself to be a marginal writer.

I was talking with a friend recently about how busy I was, and he lamented the same concern. When I asked him how he still manages to accomplish many of the things in his life that he does, he commented that he did those things “in the margins” of his life…during those times when he was able to grab a few moments here and there. And the slow, steady progress that comes from working “in the margins” eventually adds up to some significant accomplishments (you can see where this is headed, can’t you?).

Thus, The Marginal Writer is born. I will not manage to write a 50,000 word novel this month. I may not even manage to blog daily, as I would like. But, with my trusty iPad in hand (or, more precisely, under my fingers), I will make use of the margins of my life to try to say something meaningful on an occasional basis.

So my question to you is two-fold:

  1. What is one thing in your life that you have been unable to accomplish because you feel too time-restricted to get it done; and,
  2. What are some of the “margins” in your life that you can identify and fill with meaningful effort?

I will answer these questions for myself in my next blog. Thanks for reading!


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8 responses to “NaNoWriMo….(Look it Up!)

  1. Louise Reichert

    November 2, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Nicely written. I think,as you continue to explore,you are going to find an amazing truth that I have only just been realizing. There are many more like you (and me) who allow ourselves to be held back by daily doldrums, or feelings of insecurity or uncertainty – or a thousand other things. We are more alike than we know. We have similar needs, similar hurts. The lucky ones are the ones who are willing to try to be all they can be, and who forge ahead relentlessly. The rest struggle. Good luck as you forge ahead!

  2. Judith

    November 2, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Great perspective, Jon. And a great start.

    I agree that you have to make most of the moments you have; you may not have large blocks of time to write, but if you use the small blocks you do have, eventually, you have a good amount of writing done.

    Good luck to you on your new writing venture!

  3. ErinKCasey

    November 2, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    I’ve spent the past 6 years being “too busy.” The number of things that I didn’t accomplish because I’ve been time-restricted are too many to mention.

    This year I had an ah-ha moment: I have enough time, but I’m choosing to overfill it. Now I’m working to remedy that.

    So, while I may not get the full 50k words written, I am going to make an attempt because I figure I’ll be farther along if I start now and do a little bit here and there–write in the margins–than if I choose not to start because I don’t think I’ll have time to finish.

    I love the phrase write “in the margins.” Yesterday I wrote for 20 minutes in the car while waiting to go into an appointment. It’s a start.

    Keep at it!

    • jbecker007

      November 2, 2011 at 5:00 pm

      Yes, Erin! This is EXACTLY what I am talking about. Last week, while my son was driving us to school (I teach at a university), I spent 40 minutes in the car working on a presentation I am giving this Sunday. The next day, I had 30 minutes in the car while my elderly father was shopping in the grocery store to work on the same presentation. I can’t imagine where I would be on this presentation without the work I got done “in the margins” of my life!

  4. Susan Colvin

    November 2, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Good start, Jon! I commend you for forging ahead. Even with the thought that you may not blog everyday you have a hope of achieving it at least upon occasion. I also would love to write; like you am quite marginal in that department.

    It seems in the margins of my life II will read……there is SO much to read these days, and I’m not especially fast. I guess I think that every tidbit of information I digest will make me smarter. And then, after I become a brainiac (sp?), I will have something intelligent to say on paper (or in cyberspace)!

    I am inspired by your stepping out and encouraged that maybe I should begin!

  5. Field of

    November 3, 2011 at 5:52 am

    Hi Jon,
    Loved your blog! I sneak in “time” whenever I can. For example, at kids sporting events, when I am training for something, I will run stairs, run around the fields, etc. When I am in the gym, I do the stationary bike or eliptical so I can read. When I am in the car, I listen to uplifting podcasts. Writing is much the same way, I work around and with the kids. Early mornings, late nights, and during movies. I think we can all sneak extra time to our 168 hours each week…it is just a matter of being intentionally focused on goals. The goals may change, but the progress of moving forward is constant. Sometimes is tiny baby steps, but forward it is.
    God bless!

  6. Judy Zeilenga

    November 4, 2011 at 5:42 am

    It is funny that you should be doing this now. You may not believe this but remember the FLASH review for Algebra you wrote some years ago? I was asked to read a scenario and respond to it in my Educational Psychology class at Purdue Calumet. Where did I go for an answer? To your very book. The first year teacher in the scenario was struggling with teaching turning fractions into repeating decimals. She believed that the students had fully grasped the original concept of turning the “not-so-messy” fractions into decimals but she was stumped on how to transfer this process to the “messy” kind. Not being a math person, I suppose I was squeamish about getting all the terminology wrong, so I consulted your book! I looked in your Introduction pages and lo and behold the solutions to her dilemma jumped off the page at me, and were written by none other than Jon Becker! I have always thought you were a terrific writer and I have not even read all that much you have penned, but I am excited you are embarking on this journey. It is plain to see that you have so much to offer and this journaling will eventually take you where you need to go. I will not send any information about my “margins” since I don’t seem to have any right now with teaching 90 highschoolers and taking two college classes, but I will respond to your journal when I can. Best of luck with this! I think you are on to something!

  7. Margaret Zyskowski

    November 7, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Do not waste a trip. Whether you are running errands or going from one room to the next, look around and see what you can take with you. Run all of your errands in one location at a time. I plan our outings, so that they economize on gas and time. Make a list. Keep 3X5 index cards on (or near) you at all times. I even take them to bed with me. If I get a thought, I write it down, even if it is a grocery item. As senior moments become more frequent, this is a must. We do a major grocery shopping once a month, as that is how we get paid. So, lists are vital. Clip coupons only for items you use.
    My goal for the winter is to repaint the rooms in our home. I am not a writer. I just like to share helpful hints I have learned from others, by reading, or by looking for a better way to get things done.
    May God guide you in your writings.


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