~ College ‘n’ Chicago ~

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  • Bullet points of my last month in College in Chicago.  Enjoy!  🙂  (in no particular order) (p.p.s. The tone of this particular post shifts considerably all over the board… just bear with me and realize that I am really happy to be here and besides the long-ish section, I’m doing ok, and working through stuff with people.  I share my honest feelings at the time of the particular happenings without going into more details (the ‘boring’ stuff) about what happened afterwards.
  • My roommate is awesome.  She and I get along but we almost never see each other because of our completely opposite schedules.  We’re the ‘opposites attract’ situation.  Random fact: she falls asleep within 5 minutes of lying down!!  She’s amazing like that.  🙂
  • Chorale is AMAZING!!!  I absolutely love it!!  I can’t overemphasize how wonderful chorale is.  🙂  There are 31 of us, and although we are small, we have a very beautiful sound.  I’m most excited about some of the beautiful chords in a couple of the songs, as well as this one song we’re singing in Indonesian (it’s quite challenging!).  We memorize all of our music, though I’ve only memorized one piece so far (practiced over 14 pieces).  The chorale retreat really helped me get to know everyone – but I can’t share the initiation stuff or chorale traditions.  You’ll just have to join chorale to find out what happened. 😉  🙂  Every time I go to practice, I feel like I’m a music major and I fit in.  It’s a new experience to be among so many people my own age who love music like I do.  I’m not sure this will adequately describe what I do, but, when I sing a song I tend to add my own melody/harmony to it instead of singing the regular harmony.  At least, on more modern songs.  I don’t always do that to old hymns, etc.  But pretty much everything else gets something added.  The other people here do it too!!  🙂
  • I’ve got a babysitting job once a week for 3 hours with children whose parents are attending MBI.  Tonight there were around 7 or 8 children.  All of them were under the age of 3 or 4 (at the oldest) and most of them were on the younger side.  I spent most of the time holding a little boy named Benjamin and just holding him as he made himself cry for no reason.  After spending over 15 minutes trying to distract him, I simply gave up and just sat with him.  Oh, and I ate dinner and fed him his bread stick in little bits which did keep him quiet for a while.  I love working with children, though I was really tired around 2 hours into it.  I don’t even know how much I’ll get paid (or when, because of paperwork).  🙂
  • Hearing the radio during babysitting playing contemporary (pop perhaps?? no clue what genre) songs that I haven’t heard for over a month now.
  • Naps.  I can’t say I’ve really ever been able to nap in my life before (well, besides when I was a child).  But now??  Taking a nap is a common thing in college.  It’s a wonderful thing!  There’s nothing better than a short (or long!) nap to give you energy for the rest of the day. And no, coffee is not better than a nap.  The only thing not cool is when it ends in a nightmare that haunts you for the rest of the day… now -that-, I could live without.  =P
  • Everyone has their own specific favorite thing to eat in the SDR (student dining room).  For me it’s cheese. 😀  For one girl, it’s hot chocolate.  Another loves cereal.  One only eats salads.  One loves peanut butter with every meal.  It’s quite interesting and amusing. 🙂  We all tease each other good natured-ly.
  • *looks at tiny spider crawling up dresser*  Me: “I hate spiders.” (as I kill it with the nearest thing I can find)  Roommate: “For someone who hates spiders, you certainly don’t sound scared.”  Me: “It’s complicated.  I hate them, but I don’t scream or freak out… I would normally capture it and take it outside, but living in a dorm makes that a bit more complicated.  I’ll kill spiders I find in my room here.”
  • “You’re checking those out for pleasure reading???” *surprised voice of the librarian*  Me: “Yeah.  I love languages.” 🙂  I think I was checking out a book on Arabic script, a book on the Ukrainian language, 2 books on Latin (for singing in chorale, not because I’m studying that language), and 2 Linguistic books.  You know what I love about college??  I’m here.  I’m a college student.  I’m confident in that.  I can be myself.  It doesn’t matter if I don’t fit in.  It’s totally new.  Not that I don’t always try to not fit in… I do like to fit in, I’ll admit that.  But it’s so nice to not have to worry about fitting in all the time.  I’m in, already.  No one else can take that away.  🙂
  • College girl/partner in a weekly project: “Judgmental much??” (sarcastic/joking tone) after I had commented, “That man just walked across the street a minute ago.”  I mean, come on, he walked across the street while on his phone, stood on the other side and then walked back.  Who doesn’t notice things like that??!  😉  My response (admittedly a little miffed): “No.  I just notice details.  Besides, he speaks Arabic.”  (yeah, I know, that -totally- makes it non-judgmental if it relates to a language)  xD
  • Roommate: “You aren’t a city girl, are you?” -walking around for 45 minutes completely lost in downtown Chicago-.  Me: “Well, not exactly.  I’m from a suburb.  How can you tell I’m not from a city?  And you aren’t exactly a city girl either.”  I was genuinely curious to know what sets me apart from ‘everyone’ else (besides the actual fact that I’m not from there).  R: “You walk differently – smaller strides.  You ask constant questions about where we are and you look nervous.  You chatter. You notice everything.”  Me: *thinking: didn’t they tell us to be aware of our surroundings in every safety class I’ve ever taken?*  “Really?  How do people walk?”  *she demonstrates*  Me: “Oh, well, I have short legs, so of course I don’t walk like that.  It would be awkward.  Do people really not notice things like I do?”  (notice the constant chattering, haha)  She just shook her head.
  • So the noticing thing has come up a lot now.  I guess I’m observant.  And I’m happy to be that. 🙂  What fun would life be if we never saw anything?
  • Multiple people at different times: “Did you get my text/voicemail?”  Me: “No.  I don’t use my cell phone ever.  Remember?  I told you that.  I also don’t text.  Do you have my e-mail?”…  I think I’ve explained this to everyone on the campus (it feels like that sometimes).  I think I’m one of 5 people out of 1000+ who don’t text/use their phones ever (if they even have one).  Besides the bars never are high enough for me to call anyways so it is almost pointless (where as everyone’s more expensive phones get great reception here).  I’m a tiny tiny bit frustrated when people ask me if I got their texts/messages when I distinctly remember telling them specifically that I *almost* never use my phone.  I wasn’t kidding.  I don’t.  I don’t even remember to turn it on, so I’m sure next time I -do-, it will pop up with about 10 new messages and texts.
  • For part of a class assignment, I have to read the entire Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy).  Although I will admit to it being quite a long read, and not always the most engaging reading in the world, God’s been teaching me things through it (well, of course, what else should I have expected?  Even though not all of the O.T.  (Old Testament) laws apply to us anymore, there’s still much to be gleaned about God and his character and other things related).  Maybe I’ll put up some of my specific notes/thoughts sometime in a future post.  Sticky notes are THE best!!  🙂
  • It’s almost 2:30 in the morning and I’m awake.  WHY??  No clue, but I’m awake and it might have to do with the nap nightmare I had this afternoon.  It involved life sized ant/bug/THINGS/creepyTHINGS, and eating them, and them being bad and taking over, and me floating in the air (the only non-creepy/ok part), and other things.  It was just generally disturbing.  :\  I can usually put things out of my mind, but this one just pops up whenever I least wish to remember it.  At least it wasn’t worse.  I have had at least 2 much worse dreams before.
  • CPO!!  🙂  It’s so cool!  You can send people on campus notes/gifts/letters or send mail to anywhere else as well.  When you’re in college it’s really really fun to get mail!  Scratch that.  It’s ALWAYS fun to get mail and packages. 🙂  My parents surprised me and sent me (through a friend, and not through CPO, now that I think about it…) a box with all sorts of things.  I only expected a new (replacement) backpack (because my ‘new’ one broke within a week or two of using it), a personal item and a computer foot (my computer has 4 and they have fallen off a couple of times).  Inside, however, was a bag of gummy bears (totally unexpected!), a bag of trail mix, a bag of dried fruit (my favorite!), and a box of cheese crackers (and probably other stuff as well, but this was a couple of weeks ago).  ^__^
  • I’ve never had the opportunity to live with this many people my age or even spend most of my time with people my age.  So the first week (/2 weeks) was a social high.  It was crazy and I’m convinced that I was running on pure energy from people.  Then I sorta crashed and had/am having a “sensory overload”.  I had that at home, but at home… there were 9 other people, not over one thousand (ok, more like 100+ that I actually know personally, but still!  It’s a lot to take in all the time (virtually all the time)).  I think this point could get rather lengthy so I’m going to split it up into a couple of points.
  • First off, let me say this.  I absolutely love the dorm floor I’m on.  😀 The girls here are amazing!  There are around 30 of us (18 freshmen) on our wing of the floor and I know the huge majority of them and get along with all of them.  We all have bonded really well in the past 4 and a half weeks.  You know what’s even more exciting???  Unless you specifically request to be moved, you stay on the same floor all of your college time!!!  ^__^  That means I’ll be with most of these girls until we graduate!  How cool is that??
  • We’ve got a good mixture of girls.  We are studious but we also have fun.  So, I think it balances nicely.  There’s always someone asking about how you did in a quiz (since we’re mostly in the same classes this first year) and discussing what they’re reading/studying.  It’s not a competition, but we talk about it all the time.  We certainly aren’t lacking for social events though, either.  I haven’t even gone to most of them (don’t worry, I’ve hung out with people, just, not at coffee places).  Each floor is assigned a ‘bro’ floor.  We have an awesome bro floor (and yes, I started almost every sentence with the word “We”) and I’ve gotten to do 2 events with them.  We also eat all of our meals with them.  We don’t have to, but it’s fun having a specific place you are invited to sit in.
  • The girls on our floor are about 2/3 late nighters.  The other 1/3 go to bed early or aren’t ever on campus so I have no idea what their schedule is.  So, there are always people around.  ALL the time.  In class.  In between class.  In the hallways.  On campus.  On the bus.  On the streets.  In your room.  In the bathroom.  You’re literally with people almost all of your waking hours unless you purposefully sequester yourself off by 1) listening to music on headphones/earbuds, 2) physically disappearing into the library (which also has people in it, but they’re supposed to be quiet-er), or 3) locking your room door whenever your roommate isn’t around and just being alone.  The only think time (reflective thinking) for me is when it’s quiet and no one is trying to communicate with me.  When I’m by myself.  If you go to bed at 12 or 1 every night and you’re up at 6:30, around people all day, doing homework in your room as your roommate studies, or girls come in and out, etc., and girls make noise in the halls, and then you go to bed it is a cycle that never ends.
  • I’m an extrovert, and I love people.  But this is too much of a good thing.  So, if you’re a college friend and you’re reading this don’t think I’m mad at you or don’t want to be friends if I’m listening to my iPod once and a while between classes or I just don’t seem in a talkative mood.  I just need to spend some time thinking and I can’t do that if I’m constantly interacting with others.  The noise here can be overwhelming to me.  In certain classes (2, to be exact) the class consists of at least 70 students.  When we have a break??!  The noise just overwhelms me.
  • I want to hang out with you guys (friend).  I haven’t hung out much in the past, so I love doing that!  I love you guys, actually, college is amazing and I’ve met and am making some wonderful friends.  🙂  I do want to hang with you guys!  Just not all the time every day of every week of every semester of every year… you get the point. :p
  • I’ve never had this problem with friends before, but then again, I’ve never been in this sort of situation.  At home I could just disappear to my room and turn up my headphones all day because I was homeschooled.  I have classes every day all morning here, so I will be around people (guaranteed) at least half a day (which is good, and I like classes) for 5 days a week.  Plus chorale for 4 hours every week, and my PCM once a week for over 4 hours when you add up the travel time + actual service time.  (PCM – practical Christian mission)  Plus all 3 of my meals every day since I’m currently on the 20 meal plan.  Plus the campus groups I’m in, or looking to join.  Plus everything else – i.e. life.
  • I think I’m being over redundant because it’s so ridiculously early in the morning.  Remind me not to get myself started on a touchy subject again at this hour of the morning.  I think you’ve got the point.  I went from having a lot of time at home to myself (almost all of my time) to think and do things alone to being in an atmosphere where you’re expected to spend almost all of your time with people all the time.  And it’s rude if you don’t.  Well, I’m an adult now, and that doesn’t give me an excuse to be rude.  However, I can express myself and politely ask for space once and a while and respect (and be respected by) others.  We’re all on an equal level here (ish, ok, there are upper class men/women and I respect you guys, I just mean in general we’re all here as students).  Most of the people I saw at home were my elders/adults in my life.  I like to please people even when I’m frustrated, annoyed.  Though I’ve been told I don’t hide my feelings well, so maybe they’ve always known they just ignored my facial expressions.  Who knows.  xD  But, next time I need space I’m just going to admit that to whomever happens to be trying to talk with me at the moment in a kind way but completely dead honest.
  • My RA says I’m … oh, I can’t think of the word she used,… but if you combine outspoken and honest together, you get the idea.  I’m blunt.  I say what’s on my mind, without always thinking how it will be taken.  I think in black and white sometimes, or just spew out whatever I observe (see points far above this one).  I notice things and I haven’t learned the art of patience.  I just learned how to ask questions.
  • This blog post pretty much shows my point.  I’m overstimulated so little things (such as friends wanting to talk, which is a perfectly natural thing) bother me when they shouldn’t.  The other thing that bothered me this week was when 2 different people signed me off (or tried to) on an attendance sheet when I was right there next to them.  They meant nothing by it, and in fact were trying to help, which is awesome.  But all 3 times (no, my math is right, just one person did it twice because I didn’t comment the first time) I was very upset.  The first time it happened I was more surprised than anything.  The second time I was just shocked the person did it again and I said so and said (not so politely) that I would be quite capable of crossing my own name off the list at the next class.  The third person didn’t even have a chance to cross off my name because I sorta jumped all over her as soon as I heard her ask where my name was on the list.  I still need to apologize to her for that, actually, because she was a bit startled at my upset response.  I’ve already worked out the disagreement with the other girl, thankfully. 🙂  That’s another adult thing… apologizing, asking for forgiveness, and working through stuff.
  • It’s hard work!  College isn’t easy.  There’s always homework – reading, quizzes, book reports, essays and projects.  Dealing with this many people all the time is really hard for me.  There’s always conflict to work through in some way, shape or form.  They require a lot of us here at Moody and they keep us busy.  I love it, but I won’t sugar coat it.  🙂  I wouldn’t trade my experiences here for anything else.
  • Last, but certainly not least, is God.  Wow.  He’s teaching me sooo many things here!  I won’t go into them because that’ll be another long topic and this one is already over 2600 words long!!  :O  But in the first four weeks alone, I’ve seen His faithfulness, His love, His holiness, and His forgiveness.  Wow is all I can say.  God is at work here and I’m so glad He invited me to be a part of life here at MBI.  🙂  Now, it’s 3 am and I need to sleep!  (don’t worry, I don’t have to wake up until 9 tomorrow because 2 of my normally scheduled classes were cancelled), 6 hours of sleep here I come!!Oh, if you want to pray for me:
  1. Sleep.  I can’t seem to sleep well (if you hadn’t noticed).  My brain just does not settle for one reason or another.
  2. That I would clearly hear and understand the Holy Spirit’s guiding on my life.
  3. Continued growth in time management skills (I can always improve here, can’t you?).
  4. That I would be able to find a balance between building intentional relationships (another thing I’ve never really done in RL) and having some time alone when I can process my thoughts (besides bedtime).
  5. That my roommate and I would continue to get along well and be able to be honest about the things we disagree on.  🙂  So far, so good!
  6. For the general health here.  Sanitation isn’t quite where I’d put it (not in any part to blame on the college, the cleaning people are great!  It’s due to the people living here), so when one person gets sick it spreads very quickly.  I thought a family of 10 was bad.  A family of 1000 is much worse.  :p

Thank you!

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One of the girls on my floor decided to write this verse on my wall ‘white-board sticker’. 😀

Lessons from Narnia

Tonight, my family and I went to watch a drama performance of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.  It was done by a group of kids middle school aged.  Because they had such a large cast they split up the roles of the witch, the four Pevensie children and the dwarves.  Everyone did a great job and I was moved all over again by the allegory and by the history behind it.

C.S. Lewis wrote the Chronicles of Narnia series to show the message of Christ and portray the Christian worldview.  It’s an excellent seven book series that I highly recommend you read or listen to whenever you get the chance.  Even though it’s a children’s series, it’s message speaks to adults as well as children.

(SPOILER ALERT)

The four children, Peter, Susan, Edmond, and Lucy move out to the English countryside in an old mansion owned by a professor to escape the London bombs during World War II.  Lucy, the youngest, is exploring one day and she finds a wardrobe that leads her into the world of Narnia.  Later on, they are all forced to hide in the wardrobe when the housekeeper leads a tour around the home.  She had previously told them to stay out of her way and to stay out of sight when she gave tours.

The rest of the story follows them through Narnia.  It spans at least twenty years (if not more).  Edmond had also found Narnia (quite by accident) and met the White Witch.  She tempted him with Turkish Delight (his favorite sweet) and he agreed to bring his siblings to her.  He did not know her true intent of killing them all, he thought she was simply a strict but kind queen.

He escapes the group when they all find Narnia for the first time as a group, and goes to tell the White Witch where his siblings are.  He betrays them, and only afterwords realizes his awful decision.  But by then it is too late to take anything he said back.  What’s done is done.

A group of creatures following Aslan, the good ruler of Narnia, manage to rescue Edmond.  They just save him in the nick of time from an untimely beheading by the White Witch’s dagger.

It’s at this point in the story that it feels as though everything is going to turn out into a happy ending.  All of them are together, and Aslan is with them.  But, there is a land of the law that the White Witch reminds Aslan of (as if he needed reminding).

Every traitor belongs to the White Witch, and she is to kill that person on the stone table.  If a traitor is ever held back from her, the entire world will be destroyed with fire and water.

It is a law set down when the world of Narnia was created.  Aslan acknowledges the law, and makes a deal with the White Witch.  Unbeknownst to the children, who are very worried for the safety of their brother, Aslan trades his own life for that of Edmond.  He agrees to go in the place of the boy to fulfill the law.

The White Witch has a party with her minions and she beats, mocks, and humiliates Aslan before finally driving her dagger into his heart.  The great lion is dead.  She heads out cheering, leaving behind a hidden Susan and Lucy (who had followed Aslan at a distance).

Completely distraught, Susan and Lucy come out of the bushes and weep over Aslan’s body.  Finally resigning themselves to his death, they turn to head back to the encampment and tell the awful news to the others.  Suddenly (вдруг), a large cracking sound breaks the stillness of the morning.  Running back to the stone table, the girls discover Aslan’s body is gone!

From off to the side, Aslan walks majestically out and greets the girls.  He is alive!!  Shocked, they ask if he is real or only a ghost.  He roars and lets them touch him to prove his realness.  Speechless, they listen as he tells of an even deeper law than the one the White Witch spoke of.

If an innocent person dies for a traitor, the stone will be broken and death will begin to work backwards.  

I’ll leave off from the story now, and let you read the book to find out what happens to the children, Aslan, and the White Witch.

But what I’m after, are the very strong allegories to a historic event that happened about two-thousand years ago.  Jesus Christ came to earth and took on a human body.  He, like Aslan, was around during the creation of the world, in fact He spoke it into being. (1 John 1:1-3)

As His creatures, humans were made in God’s image.  But we rebelled.  We were traitors to God and we listened to the enemy.  According to God’s laws, any sin requires death of the perpetrator.  That is like the law of Narnia.  Blood is required to pay for the transgression (sin).

But that is where Christ stepped in and took the punishment that we deserved.  Just as Edmond fully deserved death, we too deserve death.  However, Christ (and Aslan) took all of our punishment and died in our place so that we might live forever and have a close relationship with God.

The best news, however, isn’t only the death in our place on the cross, but the resurrection that happened three days (by Jewish reckoning) later!!  Christ rose from the dead and proved that He defeated the power of death and sin over us (read the book of Romans).

Because of Christ’s death and resurrection, we can believe, trust, and hope in Him as our savior.  Just like Narnia, He has defeated evil and saved His people from an eternal separation from God.

That being said, I hope you will read the real historic story of Jesus in one of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) and then afterwords read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.  And while you’re there, you should also pick up his book Mere Christianity.  It explains the basic beliefs we hold in a clear and concise way.

The Next Big Thing (Week 26) ~ Marissaanne’s Travels

I was tagged by Laura VanArendonk Baugh for The Next Big Thing blog networking share, showcasing published and upcoming writers for those who want to find something new and different.

I don’t know if I really count for this, since I am not published and I am not 100% sure I will publish the novel I am writing currently.  But, I am writing a book, (currently in the rough draft stage) and I may end up sharing it—chapter by chapter—here on my blog once I complete the editing process. 🙂

I am supposed to tag at least one author for next week’s blog post, but I forgot to ask any of my writing friends (oops!).  Stay tuned–I will try to add links in the next couple of days if any of my friends are interested.

1. What is the working title of your book?

Marissaanne’s Travels.  I picked this title because it introduces the main characters name, and it gives the briefest summary of the book—traveling.  There is much more to my story than simply traveling, but if you read question number two (below) you will discover how it ties into my story and that it is the reason I started this writing journey.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

It all began on a swing set in the park near my home.  My favorite outdoor activity is swinging, and one day I was imagining what would happen if you were sitting on a swing and suddenly transported to another world.  That was the one and only idea I based my book on.  Now it has grown to include many other ideas taken from parts of my life, books I have read, and movies I have watched.  

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Hmm… I am not really sure yet how I will categorize it.  At first it sounds like realistic/modern fiction, then it begins to look like fantasy, and finally it feels like an adventure book.  Call it what you will, it includes multiple different genres.  

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

This is a really hard question for me because I do not know very many actors by name (aside from Julie Andrews).

For my main character, Marissaanne, I would want the actor to look like a slightly younger version of this actor:

Kahlan Amnell (Bridget Regan) in Legend of the Seeker

For my semi-main character, Gleb (a middle aged swordsman), I picture him looking something like this.

MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson)

Minor character: Ryan—captain of Alena’s special guards.

Aragorn, son of Arathorn (Viggo Mortensen)

I think I’ll stop here.  Sorry that I don’t have more actors to pick from.  I have not seen enough movies to know which actors to choose for my characters.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Only one sentence??  Not two, or three, or even… four??!  Okay, here is my best shot.

A girl travels to another country, fulfills an ancient prophecy, dethrones a tyrant, and learns about herself and her background.

Slightly longer version:

When Marissaanne Claire Pennington begins writing her NaNoWriMo story, she suddenly finds herself transported into the country of Tsvetlyn. While there, she must discover her past and use her knowledge (along with a group of other adventurers) to help the people of Tsvetlyn and fulfill an ancient prophecy by deposing Alena—the current oppressor.  

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

If I get it published (and that is a very big if), then I would probably go with self-publishing.  Honestly, I have not given it much thought yet since the book is still being written. 🙂

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I have written the first fifty thousand words in a month, but the manuscript is still not complete.  So, it will take me about 2 months to write the basic rough draft of this novel.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Good question.  *tries to buy time to think of an answer*… I really don’t know.  It does not exactly fit with any story I know.  I suppose it sort of fits with the Deltora Quest series (by Emily Rodda), because in both stories the adventurers must find something to dethrone the evil ruler and replace him/her with the rightful heir.  Beyond that, though, the stories are different.  It is hard for me to compare my book to those of my favorite authors’ because their’s are so excellent, and mine is still in it’s infant stages. 😀  

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) inspired me to actually write down my ideas.  Without the support of people and friends in NaNo, my story ideas would still be floating around inside my head, never to be shared with anyone.  

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

  • No bad language/questionable scenes
  • Use of foreign languages (with translations)
  • Daring escapes
  • Bold break-ins
  • Heart melting puppies
  • Real information on self-defense (knife fights, staff fighting, and more)
  • Colorful descriptions
  • Creative new ways to world travel
  • Sacrifice
  • Suffering
  • Love
  • NaNoWriMo Dares  (more information on these coming soon!)

To view my story statistics (for NaNoWriMo), click here.  What do you think about my story from the answers above?  Would you read it?  Why or why not?  🙂  Are there any other questions about it that you have that weren’t included in this post?  (I’d love to answer them for you!)

NaNoWriMo 2012!!!

NaNoWriMo Banner

I should not need more words than are in the picture above.  But, just in case you have never heard of NaNoWriMo, I will explain it in a little more detail.

National
Novel
Writing
Month

It is a program organized every November by a group called The Office of Letters and Light.

Put simply:  you sign up and write a 50,000 (or more) word novel in the month of November.

You’re probably thinking, ‘WHAT!  Are you crazy??!  How can you write a 50K novel and complete all your other obligations? (school, self-defense class, AWANA, and so on and so forth).  Not to mention that I have never heard you write a story before and I thought you only liked writing for your blog.’

Well you’re at least half correct in thinking that.

First off, yes, it is somewhat crazy to sign up to write a fifty thousand word novel in the month of November and keep up with school and everything else I have going on.  What I have discovered, however, (in the first 7 days at least) is that I needed this to give me incentive.  Also, it gives me something useful and physical to do in my spare time.

I used to spend my spare time playing games, watching movies, or doing other equally unproductive activities.  Now I write.

So, although it is a completely mad and insane thing to sign up for, it has actually turned out to be an advantage to me.  I no longer waste my extra time, and at the end of the month I will have something tangible to show for my work—hopefully a draft of my first novel.

You’re second thought—that I don’t even write stories—would also be correct.  I have never written anything story-ish (unless you count the embarrassing fifteen page handwritten story I wrote when I was eight or nine).  To top it off, until this past year (when I discovered blogging and journaling), I really did not enjoy writing.  Everything I wrote was for school and half the time I was not interested in the subjects I was writing about.

Discovering how much fun it could be to write, I have changed my statement from I don’t like writing to I really enjoy writing—especially stories and blog entries.  🙂

Honestly, before this month, I never even thought I would write a book.  Yes, I had a few ideas running through my mind and hiding in the darkest recesses—but I never planned on actually bringing them to life in a book.

If you want to read a very brief synopsis and excerpt from my novel go here: Marissaanne’s Travels (working title).

I added a widget to the left (bottom) side of my blog that will show how many words I have.  There’s also a really neat section (in the link above) that shows the statistics of my writing progress.  (I LOVE statistics… <3)

I think that’s all for now.  I am off to finish two more essay drafts for my college application and write 500 more words of Marissaanne’s life.

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