Happy 2021 (and Tolkien’s Birthday!)

A belated merry Christmas and happy New Year!

2020 was quite a year. While there’s a lot that could be said, I prefer to dwell on the positive. For my family, that means celebrating our second child. Nothing has made my heart happier than watching my first excitedly anticipate the arrival of her sister and watch her fall in love as she helps me care for both of them. It’s been a beautiful way to end one year and start the next.

While there are a lot of great things about starting a new year, one of my favorites is that there are still things to celebrate as the holiday season fades. (We keep everything up until Epiphany, but that only did so much to keep the Christmas spirit alive after the New Year.) Specifically, there’s Tolkien’s birthday, which is today!

For me, that means lots of tea and a toast at 9 pm local time “to the Professor.” Usually, there are Middle-earth related shirts, but since everything doesn’t fit immediately postpartum, I’ve settled for an homage to Gondorian style instead.

And it means starting the year off feeling inspired to write. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but it wasn’t until I was in my tweens and read The Hobbit for the first time that my passion really began. While there are plenty of writers who have inspired me over the years, none have left a mark quite like his.

So here’s to another year of celebrating the Professor and to a new year. May Tolkien’s work be a reminder that there is light in dark places and that the King still has a crown.

SB Roberts 2021

The Fall Stirring

There’s something magical about the fall. Perhaps it’s the sun’s golden hue, or the sweet allure of pumpkin, or the promise of cooler temperatures (even though it currently still feels like summer). Whatever it is, it always makes my imagination feel more alive. And it always gets me in the mood to write in November, whether I actually have time to participate in NaNoWriMo or not.

This year, time isn’t on my side, and I won’t sign up to write 50,000 at the last minute. My growing belly is a good reminder that rest and satiating nesting instincts needs to come first, not writing 1,667 words a day. There will be plenty of time for that next year.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have intentions of being more intentional about writing. Lately, I’ve slacked. While much of the world slowed down earlier this year and over the summer, my job only became more busy, ensuring that teachers were equipped to roll with the punches. Now, everyone has settled into a more normal routine, and I have more time to write again. I need to take advantage of it before the sleepless nights begin.

Even though I’m not technically participating in NaNoWriMo this year, I have been enjoying their prompts on Instagram. It’s been a welcome companion for my first novel, which is ready for some structural changes. Who knows where the changes will go.

What writing projects are you working on right now? Does the fall stir your creativity too?

I Miss NaNoWriMo

It’s November again, and for a second year in a row, I’m not doing NaNoWriMo.

It’s not because I don’t want to. I have a draft that needs writing. That poor fantasy, sci-fi, steampunk novel hasn’t had much attention in the past month thanks to so many students in my English classes, administrative work, and developing French I while teaching it. There’s just not enough time to fit 1,667 words a day into the already jammed schedule.

For now. After all, I have ever intention of getting back into NaNoWriMo again. Maybe next year.

In the meantime, though, I miss it. November is here, and that itch to write is nagging my imagination. After feeling stuck in the doldrums of so much school work, I find myself daydreaming about the novel while doing yardwork or driving to and from school. That hasn’t happened in a while, just because my mind has been so preoccupied with so many other things. More urgent things.

There’s something special about the routine that comes with NaNoWriMo. That rhythm of writing 1,667 words every day. The discipline it takes to pace it out and write like a marathon instead of in sprints. I need that discipline again, especially because I feel like I don’t have enough time for it. Those are the times when you really need to push it, right?

So instead of participating in NaNoWriMo, I’ve decided to make a greater effort to spend quality time with my poor, forlorn novel. I’m not sure what that looks like yet, but at least it’s somewhere to start.

Do you have any special writing goals during November? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo?