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Reflect and Return; mid month NAPOWRIMO mental health check in

It’s half way through NAPOWRIMO! We have been blown away by the amount of people getting involved on this journey. Its lovely to be in a sphere of poets sharing their creativity. Each post you share becomes a beacon of inspiration for others, so a massive thankyou to you all. Every person that has posted, shared or even commented support has helped this project reach further out into the world. And of course, a big thankyou to any silent onlooker who wrote a few bits in their own time too- so thank you for trusting us and thank you for believing in yourself.

We have stated from the beginning that we want this challenge to be introspective and personal, so we thought a nice way to encourage this would be to have this midmonth check in. If you have read our previous NAPOWRIMO guide blog, you know that we strongly emphasise how all the days don’t need to be completed or even very well done. (If you haven’t read that post we really recommend!) The emphasis is on the journey and experience of the 30 days. So keeping within that ethos, we invite you to have a little ponder, a little self-check in, to just think about how you are finding the challenge. Its nothing serious or too self-analysing, just a little exercise in reflection. Hopefully this self-knowledge you’ve excavated, can maybe allow room for more ease or gentleness.

We don’t have any concrete instructions or directions for this check-in, as to echo the natural flow of the project itself. We offer to you a few open-ended questions you may like to explore. This is intended to help encourage a sense of reflection, gratitude and self-awareness on how we treat ourselves when trying to achieve a goal.

How does it feel when I finish the poem for the day?

Do I acknowledge I did something for myself and completed my daily NAPOWRIMO goal?

How big a role does self-criticism play in my motivation to participate?

Am I proud of myself? If not, can I find something, even a small thing in this project I will choose to be proud of? (I started it/I thought about some cool ideas/I got creatively stimulated/I gave it a go even if I didn’t finish/I did something creative/I wrote a few days in a row/I read some poetry on the submissions/I did something for myself/I liked a specific line I wrote/I used a great word/it looks nice in my notebook/I tried/I pulled something out of my brain and put it into the world/I made something despite hardship… etc)

-Have I learnt anything about myself so far?

-Has anything about my poetry or creative process changed?

-How does writing on command feel?

-How do I feel in myself when I miss a day?

-If I read others’ submissions, does it change how I feel about my own work?

-What have I struggled with the most?

-Does NAPOWRIMO feel like a chore or more like fun?

-Do I allow myself write silly or imperfect poems?

-Is there any way I can encourage more gentleness or compassion for myself in the context of the project?

-Have I surprised myself?

-What advice would I give myself at the start of April?

-What message would I leave for my future self at the end of the month?

You may wish to brainstorm these questions and allow the train of thought to help you arrive at some form of self-understanding and clarity. It’s a useful thought exercise, but feel free to write down or mind map your ponderings. If you have any thoughts on this or any answers you feel particularly poignant to share, we would love to hear them. Strike up a conversation with fellow poets on our Instagram @fawnpress, we love to foster our community. Good luck with the rest of the 30 days challenge!