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Cathy: An update on the progress or not of my nano novel

crossposted from my personal blog

Life happens,
doctors happen,
and this past week, a lot of doctor appointments happened and other sundry bits of attending to sick self, sick kids, etc. So in the interest of pediatrics, Nanowrimo fell somewhat behind and has been having trouble catching back up. also, I really got walloped by news of Brother Blue passing away.

Nanowrimo is an excellent tool to get yourself writing if you call yourself a writer but don’t find yourself doing much of it. It’s an excellent jumpstart, you feel inspired, and even if you don’t, you push to meet that 1667 words per diem minimum. But once you fall behind, it becomes really hard to scramble. but I figured out a a few little secrets today:

1. I don’t have to write 1667 words per day.

2. But it works a heck of a lot better if I do. Otherwise I’m playing a deceitful game of catch-up – which is really very much like swimming against the riptide during hurricane season.

3. Nanowrimo becomes an obsession. Possibly a very unhealthy obsession. I sat in the pediatrics office for six hours on Wednesday thinking not so much of my kids and their various stages of this long, non-h1n1 flu we’ve had, but of how I could be writing instead of sitting in this waiting room, exam room, phlebotomy department, radiology department because when I took my daughter to the hospital the previous week, they didn’t run all the tests they now had to run during Nanowrimo. The boys were with me, too for their wellness appointments, etc, vaccines, etc. I was barely concerned, except when C was crying from getting stuck with a needle for bloodwork or having a big loud machine shoot light boxes all over her leg and hips, while mommy wore a big lead apron. Nano becomes unhealthy when your spouse and you are sitting right next to each other all night long on separate computers not saying a word to each other until he does, and you get annoyed that he’s interrupting your train of thought, but more importantly, your word count. It becomes an obsession when every time your toddler wanders over and whines and pulls to be on your lap, you act like it’s the end of the world because you can’t finish your train of thought or your word count. Same with the preteen mom-mom-momming in your ear and poking you in the arm or the teen mom-mom-momming you on the cellphone until you realize in a half-attention moment you allowed him to sleep over someone’s dad’s house and you don’t even know where he lives, because you were still typing when he was asking and you just wanted him off the phone.

4. But Nanowrimo is important, because you will write a novel in thirty days, whether you make the word count or not, and you will have another manuscript to edit and eventually shop with the other one, because you now can market it to agents as a series of sorts….and you will have two books at the end of this! And at the end of this, you’ll pay better attention to your spouse and your kids and yourself for that matter, and to the fact that maybe the sun is in fact shining outside and oh, yea, there’s an outside…..

5. I don’t have to write the parts in the order in which they come chronologically, but in the order in which they travel through my bleeding brain.

6. Ok that’s more than a few things, but I also figured out it is much better to write about what you know than have to research about something for a novel you’re trying to write in thirty days. Set it in a country you’ve been to, and forget about wildlife, unless of course, it has become a central theme in the book….

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. update: 1 wrote 4k yesterday after writing this post, see number 2 above.

    November 9, 2009
  2. Love this. I LOL’d reading from #1 to #2.

    I agree, chronology is not important. I’m jumping around, breaking my different sections down by “chapter” in Storyist (even if they are not actually “chapters”) so that I can move them around more easily later.

    At my house, I say “I have to go do my words!” rather than “I have to go write!” Seems to take some of the pressure off. I’m just doing my words. I may, or may not, actually be writing.

    Keep it up, Cathy!

    November 9, 2009
  3. i find some family members are taking me more seriously since i have a deadline and a quantity to meet rather than just saying i’m writing. so i get more computer time and less fight for their computer time, unless of course it involves homework.

    s’s reaction is ‘fifty thousand words in 30 days?!’ with eyes open wide. finally i found something to impress the kid with.

    November 9, 2009
  4. watching from the bleachers… have to admit, i most relate to your point #3. simply because i’ve recently let go of so many things because i was doing too much of what you describe in #3. i was supposed to do the halifax arts festival this past weekend, but i called and cancelled due to a “family conflict”. did i have a true family conflict that made it impossible to attend? no, i just wanted to stay home with my family. 🙂

    my one thing i’m supposed to be working on is the sketchbook project. have i even started it!? nope! i received it in the mail the 3rd week in october and had a “yeah, like that’s gonna happen…” moment when i saw the note that it was due back in their hands by dec 1. yeah, like that’s gonna happen. 🙂 oh well, so i paid $18 for a $4 moleskin. i’ll still do it; it just won’t be submitted, which means i get to keep and enjoy it and do it at my own pace. now that i’ve discovered the sketchbook project, i’ll be able to sign up early next year! it’s amazing how liberated i’ve felt here lately, letting things go, pulling my name out of the job hat, accepting things as they are (on the job…and in life for that matter), and taking more time to savor the moments and dream of the future.

    okay, so TOTALLY off track there. you’d think i moved to breckenridge and lit up a joint. 🙂 anywho, kudos to all of you doing nano. my hats off to you. and i’m cheering for you from the bleacher seats!

    November 9, 2009
  5. not really, kelly, i’m glad it my #3 got you thinking about how you’re making changes to better focus on your family.

    i think mostly i was trying to get across that this is a high concentration time, and it will end…in about 3 weeks. this is certainly not my usual take regarding my creative endeavors. for once it’s first instead of last for me. once again, the scales will tip back, i’m sure.

    November 9, 2009

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