Creative spark is back in writing

Published 6:00 am Sunday, November 22, 2015

This November I wrote an article on Oxonians who are participating in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. When I went to the interest meeting I was testing the waters to see if it would make a good story, but my involvement went beyond the one article.

You see, I was always the bookworm who loved to read and write. When I was not in school I read nearly a book a day. I learned a lot about myself through reading fiction. I loved to read historical fiction as well as novels set in different countries. It contextualized how other people lived to me, which is something I’m still interested in years later.

Going off on a tangent: Anybody read the New York Times article on the marathon runner who went missing? During the race he slowed down to get a bite to eat, got separated from the rest of the runners and ended up being lost in New York for several days. He was known as the “least athletic” one. That description resonated with me and I’m glad he is safe — end of tangent.

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I don’t do marathons or 5ks, but signing up for NaNoWriMo has been my New York Marathon. Even as a writer, I realized I had been out-of-shape mentally for a creative writing adventure. I have stopped to eat and got lost along the way. I started out ahead and then fell behind a few times. I bit off more than I could when I signed up to write 50,000 words in between midterms and finals.

However, I’m not giving up on it. It made me shake things up and forced me to be creative. That alone has impacted other writing assignments in positive ways. I was never the type to be complacent, so I read all kinds of books. Before I took on this challenge, I did not realize I had lost creative spark in my writing.

The month of November is over half over. NaNoWriMo has been and continues to be a challenge, but it’s a struggle I’m going to finish. I won’t cross the finish line first or second, but I’ll get there in my own time. I have to remind myself that it was never about the race to begin with; it was about the journey.

Lyndy Berryhill is a staff writer for the Oxford EAGLE. Contact her at