Authenticity

Have you ever had a moment where you caught yourself in a reflection and didn’t recognize the person on the other side? It’s likely the strangest thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s not like I was disassociating and I didn’t know who I was anymore, it’s just that I didn’t like who I was at the time.

There’s a lot about who was the last two years that I didn’t like. In yoga, we talk a lot about being your truest self but when you have forgotten who that is, it’s hard to be that person. There’s a lot of expectations put on people to be something they are not. Whether you are in high school, university, or a company office, there’s an expectation that you conform to the culture of the environment that you are in.

For those of us who live with an inner black sheep, we find it the most difficult to conform to what other people want us to be. It can be as simple as the language you use to communicate, your moral standards, your personal ethics, or your appearance. Remember when having tattoos and piercing were taboo? I remember a time when you couldn’t have these and expect to get a job. Now, even the top producers at my company have full sleeve tattoos. My generation has done wonders for acceptance of alternative lifestyles.

Not that I have always been someone who walks the alternative lifestyle but I definitely like to play around with my appearance and fashion sense. I think it’s important for people to change things up for themselves. It’s hard to be yourself when you are being influenced by society, media culture, and social networks. We all have that one person on Facebook who appears to have perfect pictures of domestic bliss. Unless you are close with that person (I mean you see them everyday or at least once and awhile) we have no idea what’s going on in their lives. We don’t know what obstacles they are having to overcome, what battles they are fighting, or what anxieties they face.

As a writer, I often have to censor my thoughts to make sure that I don’t offend someone or compromise my work. This means that my writing is only partially authentic. If I were to say what I think and feel all the time, I am sure that I would have to deal with more flak than I think it is worth.

I think that the desire to live authentically is a great one. It’s likely one of the best motivators I have ever had. Being authentic is not to be confused with being positive all the time. Authentic means that you embrace all of your sides, the good, the bad, and the ugly. We are not pretty creatures all of the time and we have our dark sides. Total rejection of your dark side can only lead to a complete and utter breakdown of your person when you are faced with a situation that you have not learned to deal with.

~Clara D. Munro

NaNoWriMo Winner!

I did it. I actually did it. For the first time in the five years that I have registered for National Novel Writing Month, I actually finished the 50,000 world goal.

I did it. I actually did it. For the first time in the five years that I have registered for National Novel Writing Month, I actually finished the 50,000 world goal. Not only that, but I made the goal of writing 1,667 words a day. I wrote every single day for thirty days on a story that I started conception on in October.

winner
The Final Total

Writing the 1,667 words a days is easier when you have character, plot, and story direction planned out. I am glad that I didn’t bother to try to write chapters because it didn’t limit my mind as so what I could be writing. I can tell you that the story is not complete but it had a really solid start to it.

Most adult novels are between 85,000 and 90,000 words long. The 50,000 goal for NaNoWriMo is just a starting point for writers looking to get into starting a novel. You cannot complete a decent adult novel in 50,000 words but you can write a novella or a young adult novel.

I can tell you that I ended up creating some new characters for my story as I went a long. Also, some relationships between characters got, how shall we say, complicated. Someone died, of course, and there was an epic fight scene.

Will there ever be a published version of this story? I don’t honestly know. My whole purpose in doing this was to get a daily writing habit going. For the most part, I want my daily habit to include blogging on one of my three blogs on a daily basis. I have learned that writing a novel takes up a great deal of creative energy. There were days during the last month when I wanted to write in my blogs but I knew that I needed to complete my 1,667 words that day. It’s not that I couldn’t do both, it’s that I wanted to give the story my full attention.

There were other creative things that took a backseat to writing the novel. I didn’t have a lot of energy to sit and knit or play music. I was getting to the point by the end that all I wanted to do as soon as I got home from work, was sit down and write my daily words and then veg out all night. The best days, were the ones when I would get home from work, take my dog for a walk, and then sit down to write. After that, sometimes I would have energy to knit or play a game.

Now that NaNoWriMo is over, I have made an update to this blog and website. You might notice that the URL has been updated to say claradmunro.com and that there are no longer any adds on the blog. I have purchased a personal plan from WordPress. This is more for aesthetics than anything else but I link the was a personal blog looks when there are no ads on it. It gives it more of a professional feel. Not that I am a professional writer (unless you mean email writer) but I do enjoy writing and for me, that’s all that counts. While I would love to be paid for writing, I am fine with just being a blogger who rarely cares about things like spelling, editing, and grammar (as you might have noticed).

Please feel free to follow my blog via WordPress or email if you would like to learn more about what I am going to do with this novel and other things I have planned for this blog.

~Clara D. Munro

Week Two Update for #NaNoWriMo2017

I have finished my second week of NaNoWriMo. It’s been so awesome to be able to see my daily progress add up. I have not missed a day of writing yet. I have a clear vision of how I want the story to end and I am following my outline to get there.

So far, my idea of just writing sections of the story each day rather than trying to do chapters is working. I have kept up my promise to not read over any of my previous writing. I have not edited any of the other days. I don’t even go back and read what I have written at the end of the day. As I said before, I will leave all of that for December when I put it all together into a second draft.

The title of the book I am working on for this year’s NaNoWriMo is “The Mystery of Oak Grove County”. Turns out, I am writing a romance mystery novel. Last week, the writing was heavy on the romance side. I think this week will be more of the action adventure part of the story. It’s definitely got some darkness to it.

week 2
You can see that I have been writing a little more than 1667 words a day

If you would like a taste of the music that I have been listening to while I create the story and characters for “The Mystery of Oak Grove County”, please check out the Spotify playlist below:

I will update you again next week when I finish up week three. I am half way there now!

~Clara

My Spotify Featured Playlist

Music has always been a passion of mine. I spends eight hours a day at my job listening to it on the streaming service, Spotify. I pay $10 a month to have access to their whole catalogue of music, which is extensive. I have discovered all sorts of new artists and albums by browsing the play lists and checking out what music my friends are listening to. I recommend this service to anyone who loves music and wants to support the artists rather than pirating music.

Sharing my love of music and discovering new music is one of the topics I want to share with your on this blog. I have set up the Music category so that you can check out my weekly Playlist on Spotify, learn about artists, and maybe find something you would like to your music collection.

This week’s playlist is:

 

YES!

It has been a long time since Jason Mraz’s album YES! has been available on Spotify Canada. I love this album so much. It appeals to the hopeless romantic that’s in me. While I don’t always bring that part of me out, this album reminds me that it’s okay to be open with declarations of love to those you want to share it with. I am not in love right now but this album reminds me of what those feelings are like.

~Clara

First week of #NaNoWriMo2017

For the first time in all the years I have attempted to complete NaNoWriMo, I have finished the first week right on schedule. I have been writing about 1700 words a day. I haven’t written less than 1667 words a day. Some days I go over by a few words and others, I am right on the money.

All of the story planning and character creation that I did in the month of October has helped a lot in making sure that I always have something to write about. Currently, I am writing from the limited omniscient point of view of five characters. I actually had to create a new character today that I didn’t think I would be writing from her point of view but it ends up working for the story.

I am not writing chapters for this draft, I am just making a new word file each day and filling it with 1667 words of story. I will go back in December and put the piece of the story together into chapters. I am not going back and rereading any of my story so far, just letting the words flow from day to day. I don’t now how much of the story I will keep later on but that doesn’t matter right now. I just want to get my words down on paper for the day.

So far, I am having a lot of fun with the story. I would like to share some of it with you but you will have to wait until later. If you are participating in NaNoWriMo this year, please add me as a buddy, my username is Surfcruzer.

week one nanowrimo

NaNoWriMo2017 has begun

I am off to a good start today! I came home from work at 2pm, took Dexter for an hour long walk, and then settled in to write my daily 1667 words.

I have decided that rather than trying to write connected chapters everyday, I would simply title each daily documents as the day’s date and then write a portion of the story.

I managed to get a rough idea for the stories direction figured out during the month of October. I also get my four main characters decided on, their rough bios, and their story directions.

The story itself is a mystery plot and the main character, Lillian Wilde, is trying to find out where the thirty people who just arrived in her town came from and why they have no memories of who they are.

I don’t intend to write a daily blog post about my progress in this exercise in creating a habit but I will post a weekly update on my word count and any wins or struggles I have found a long the way.

I freed up my whole month from obligations in order to see if I can do this and finish this year. I really hope all my prep work pays off.

~Clara