#WeekendCoffeeshare Early Edition: In which I am done my #Nanowrimo project! Oops.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that today is Wednesday and I took the day off. I’m hosting an evening coffee get together for other lazy people who took the day off in the middle of the week. Assuming that you’re not one of these lazy people, I’ll check in with you over the weekend, but this will probably be my last coffee share post for a while.

My Nano project was supposed to be a fictional blog written from the perspective of one of my characters, an 8-year-old tree spirit. My goal was to blog through a year of his life. I’ve already hit 50 K, and by the time you read this, I’ll be as done as I can be with the posting schedule for 2016. Part of the reason I was able to do this quickly was that I set it up in Scrivner, and I was able to duplicate monthly folders with explainers for his recurring series and features–like the way on my blog, when I have a series I do a recap/explainer in the beginning of the post — formats for his goal updates, and otherwise streamline the blogging process. I learned a lot about ways I can blog smarter on my own blog, and I’m going to start implementing them in 2016. Stay tuned (or follow) if you’re interested in a blogging productivity series.

— At this point, if we were having coffee, I would warn you that I was about to start rambling about my story, and I would have no hard feelings if you wanted to grab a coffee and some cookies and run for the door. —

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If you stayed, I would tell you that Noah has a couple of recurring features. One of them is a Wednesday series where he blogs about the magical and otherworldly elements of his multiverse. I tied that in with the Worldbuilding Wednesday Challenge, so I won’t be able to write those ahead but will be going back to my project file to add them next year. Fridays he shares a list of 5 good things that happened to him during the week–without any intention or prompting on my part; he just decided to do it. Saturdays he shares links, mainly to fun craft projects he’s found during the week. These aren’t things I would post about, personally, and they’re not things I would have pegged him for.

I learned a lot about Noah while doing this project. He’s surprisingly goal oriented and meticulous about the way he approaches personal development. (The fact that he’s 8 and intentional about personal development was a surprise to me as well.) The blog has been focused heavily on his desire to collect thoughts and experiences he can share with family members, because he had a hard time just thinking of conversational topics naturally. So he has a weekly goals post on Monday and a goal update at the end of the week. I seriously wish I was that organized and deliberate about goal setting!

He’s this odd but awesome combination of worldly-wise and innocent; jaded and hopeful; mercenary and yet interested in reaching out to others and brightening their day. I like it, but I wasn’t expecting the openness or desire to connect with strangers.

I have a much better sense of the rhythms of his life, the ebb and flow of activity during different seasons, the variety of interests he has. I’m not sure how well it comes out on the blog since I was going for a mix of narrative and question-and-answer type posts.

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He wrote that he didn’t want to work on narrative because for him the purpose of journaling is/was to work out what’s on his mind and tell his folks–but then he gave a strong description of some books Mike has on a shelf. I’m wondering if the problem is the way the prompts are arranged. “Tell about X event with as much detail as possible.” It feels like homework and a waste of time for a kid who’s struggling to express his thoughts. It would probably help him more if I looked for things like the books.

I did notice that halfway through his fictional year, his goals shifted from personal development around communicating with his parents to more typical things for a kid his age. I wondered about it for a while, but then I realized that he didn’t seem to be having as much trouble coming up with conversation topics on his own. So, by blogging about it, he’d learned to communicate better and didn’t need to be so intentional anymore. It was interesting to see it happen without my direct (intentional) involvement. He also got bored with the question and answers and moved on to freewriting.

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He started making word association lists (he likes word association a lot for some reason…) and then setting a timer and working his way through them as prompts. It’s a cool way to free associate, wish I’d thought of it myself. Seems to be helpful, but then he’ll like decide he’s not expressing what he really wants and can’t figure out how. A lot of the words are food related, and he talks about meal time and his food preferences a lot. I think it’s significant to him that his family eats together and he knows how much effort Ryan puts into meal prep.I’m trying to come up with other types of exercises he might like, but I’m getting burnt out doing it at this speed and need to switch to something else. I don’t think trying to blog through a second year in November would be especially helpful, so I’m declaring myself officially done and I’m going to switch to focusing on a fictional memoir written by one of Noah’s dads in November. (I’ll still make Noah’s blog posts, but probably won’t start posting until January.)

I have done exactly 0 preparation for Mike’s memoir, so should be an interesting November.

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