Blog Your Booty Off: NaBloPoMo

Fluffing my ballet skirt – my pirate ballet skirt.

Yesterday afternoon, Facebook prompted me with a status update idea. Instead of the usual “What’s on your mind?” that populates the status typing window, this one asked “What was your best Halloween costume?”

My answer:  last year’s pirate costume. I’ve had some good costumes over the years. Zombie Cheerleader when I was ten was a personal favorite for many years. I’m still proud of the well-researched Betty Crocker costume I sported as a sophomore in high school, as well as the whimsical Fairy Godmother costume during my senior year.

But last year, I dressed up for the first time in a few years. The last time (prior to the pirate) that I had dressed up, it was for a literary Halloween party, and I was mistaken for Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, and no one guessed the actual costume, which was Idgy from Fried Green Tomatoes. I hated my haircut, I hated my costume, and in the morning, I hated my hangover.

But last year. Oh, last year. That was costume greatness. I had fun with make-up, channeling David Bowie to be a highly eye-shadowed pirate. I have a hard time getting down with the “sexy” costumes, but I had lost a little weight and I was excited to play with my costume a bit, show a little thigh, wear a full ballet skirt. I was going to a Halloween party at the dance studio I worked at, The Mambo Room, and I knew my costume would probably be tame compared with the sexy cops and sexy cats that would likely abound.

I ❤ Booty.

And my costume was fun. I got to wear my knee-high boots, full ballet skirt, my crazy make-up, and fake tattoos that my friend Andrea drew for me, my favorite being the I ❤ Booty tattoo. And I danced that night without worrying about my feet or the tension in my hands or my broken spin; I just danced and had a blast.

So, Facebook, there’s my answer. But as I settled on my answer, I also had to find it just a bit funny that Facebook offered a prompt in the first place. Most people don’t need help finding a Facebook posting – I’m eating a sandwich, I’m grading papers, I’m avoiding Facebook (liar), etc. We think, we act, we update.

But all this got me thinking about the idea of writing prompts. I give my students prompts regularly, thinking up free writes and essay questions for them to work with, anything to get them thinking and writing. I recently gave my Composition students a midterm essay that consisted of some fun prompts I stole from Tumblr. By far, the best one was this:

If you had to live in a giant bowl of food, what food would you choose? Why? What would this be like? Be sure to use descriptions and narration to explain your life inside that bowl of food.

I got the best answers to this. People wanted to live in a bowl of sweet and sour chicken, a burrito, and probably the best and most fully realized one, a bowl of Lucky Charms. That student went so far as to assign characteristics to the oat pieces, to explain the system of what marshmallows one would bring to what social occasions, and to assign the leprechaun, Lucky, as the lord of that world, the one responsible for holding back milk floods.

A good writing prompt can help a student soar to a new height of creativity, to send him or her riffing off of the words into moments of morning cereal genius. But a bad prompt can be a dead end, a wall they slam into, frustrated and blocked.

I’m thinking a lot about writing prompts this morning because last night, I signed up for NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Post Month. It’s a response to NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, where a person endeavors to write a novel during the month of November.

I’m currently writing a novel, and I can tell you for damn sure, that thing is not going to be finished in a month, and I don’t know that I would want it to be.

But NaBloPoMo, the blogging challenge, is a bit more approachable, a little less intimidating, and achieves what I think blogging and these sorts of challenges seek to do in the first place:  they make you write, everyday. They make you a little more conscious of your world, paying attention, mining small moments for greater meaning. They make you look around and collect moments and people and the small epiphanies that snowball into bigger phases of our lives.

NaBloPoMo November 2012

So for the next month, I’ll be blogging my booty off, doing a blog post per day. I’ll be joining up with the awesome folks at yeah write to capture the sense of community that comes with a challenge like this. Though yeah write is housing a community grid for the month, NaBloPoMo is actually part of a site called BlogHer, and if you’re interested in joining, and it’s November 1 when you’re reading this post, then you can sign up on their website by following this link.

And along the way, if I get stuck, I suppose I could always taste my own medicine, answer my own writing prompts, and contemplate what my life would be like in a bowl of food.


19 thoughts on “Blog Your Booty Off: NaBloPoMo

  1. I’m doing this as well and found you via Yeah Write! Love that writing prompt with the cereal. I used to work in a church with the youth, and we had a series of silly questions we’d ask new students during intros their first week. A lot of them had to do with food–if you had to swim in a pool of one food, if you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, if everything you touched turned into one food what would it be? Facebook would be a lot more interesting if we all answered prompts rather than just talked about that wee moment in our lives. (Though sometimes those are kind of interesting too…) Here’s hoping we both don’t run out of things to say this month!

    1. Yay! Yeah Write is great because it allows us to cheer each other on – I look forward to seeing what you write! I think Facebook would be fun with writing prompts, too… I mean, start each day saying what food you would swim in, and I think you’re starting the day off right! 🙂

  2. Found you via BlogHer, as this is the first time I am participating in NaBloPoMo. When I saw that you are a “blog about a writer who cooks” I had to come by. 🙂

    Looking forward to what you come up with for the month!

    And I need to give the swimming in food prompt some thought…mmmmm….

    1. Haha! Thanks for stopping by! That blogroll is a bit intimidating, so I really do appreciate you clicking on mine! 🙂
      Yeah, that swimming in food prompt is hard… I mean, there’s texture, cleanliness, general enjoyment, and level of spice to think about. Not as easy as it sounds… 🙂

      1. I did a self-interview on my blog and one of the reader questions was “If you had to swim in a sea of a drink, what would it be?”

        I think I got all practical and said chamomile tea. I figured anything alcoholic or carbonated would sting. 🙂

        I’ll be trying to visit a couple of NaBloPoMo bloggers each week – glad yours jumped out at me!

  3. Pingback: Day One « ^H
  4. That’s a great costume! I haven’t dressed up in years, but something like that would be really fun 🙂

    I’m choosing NaBloPoMo over NaNoWriMo, too. Much more doable…I hope!

  5. Stopped over from Yeah, write — I LOVE the bowl of food prompt. I’m keeping it in the back of my mind for the next time I’m stuck, or the next time my students complain that their essay assignments aren’t interesting enough 😉

  6. Yes, your costume is lovely! I haven’t worn a costume in many a year, but our whole family went as The Avengers this year. i was Black Widow because I didn’t want my five-year-old daughter to look like a hoochie, so she was Thor. And my costume was just my black clothes, but I wore lipstick, so that’s how you could tell it was a costume.

    Can’t wait to read when Yeah Write serves up for NaBloPoMo!

  7. Pingback: Day One | ^H

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