NaNoWriMo

There’s a writerly phenom in the month of November in which authors attempt the mad feat of writing 50,000 words between November 1 and November 30th.  A marathon for writers, if you will.  This year I’ve decided to give it a go.  I’d say ‘try,’ but Yoda says there is no try.  The race hasn’t even started and I’m already freaking out.  You need to write 1,666 words each day to meet the goal.

Challenges:

Time without kids:    Schools are closed on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  That means, I’m starting out 6,664 words behind.  Monday is a hospital day.  My daughter finished chemo right before her 5th birthday, but we still have to drive down for an exam and labs to make sure the leukemia cells aren’t growing again.    If all goes well, I can drop her off at school later and have an hour before my middle schooler gets home. There is, of course, no writing between the first bus home and the last ‘lights out.’  After that my husband, whom I haven’t seen all day, and I try to grab an hour together before bed.

Not a good track (get it, you run around a track… sorry) record:  Years ago.  Back in the day or whatever, I was somehow talked into one of those 3-mile race things where everyone wears a shirt and you run and the money helps something.  I hate running, but it seemed like something an average person could do and I’m average.  My friend Thuy and I ran on the treadmill a couple times at the gym together beforehand, all was good.  Then, I got there. So many people.  And loud.  I started to get anxious.  And then suddenly the people were running and I felt they were chasing me like the bulls in Spain and I was trying to get out of the way and then I was on the side and my friend Thuy looked back at me and I told her to SAVE HERSELF.   I don’t really remember what happened after that.

Another time, or maybe the same one, I was sitting on the grass before or after that running part with other people on my team, and maybe they worked with me or I worked with them?  And I was there, minding my own business, and a bird flew by and dropped a load on me (what IS that black dot in the middle of the white?).  My husband, except he wasn’t my husband yet, I just thought he was cute and really smart, gave me his shirt.  He had on another one.  So, that was nice.

Thus, my marathon experience consists of freaking out at the very beginning and getting pooped on.

Technical Issues:  The other day I downloaded a free trial of Scrivener.  I thought it might be fun to try something new and keep myself psyched for this marathon.  Some writers swear by the program as a way to organize first and second drafts.  But, and I know this is surprising, I somehow messed up the download and it splattered all over my desktop with an icon for each little part of the program.  And then I didn’t get all the way through the tutorial.

I have my account set up at the NaNoWriMo website.  I’m pretty sure my id is TasteofSherri, but I’m still concerned I’ve not quite got a handle on the badges and forums and such.

Bonus:

Priority: Wanting to write 50.000 words has forced me to put WRITING EVERY VIABLE DAY in the first priority slot starting Nov. 1st.   My ideal way to write is to have the kids gone and NO OTHER pending duties.   I know.  I’m fickle and easily distracted.  I get it.  Even knowing that a repair man could knock on my door between a given time period makes it difficult for me to concentrate.  High-strung?  ADD?  *Shrug* It is what it is.  So, I’ve been trying to clear my schedule.  I turned in my FITNESS BUDGET to the rec council late last night.  It was the third time due to mathematical errors, but who’s counting.  Hopefully not me or we’ll have to do it again.

(NOTE: I’ve been reading lately as a precursor to the marathon.  I haven’t been writing because I’m trying to do THINGS and get them marked off the list.  I’ve noticed, and it’s been pointed out to me, that I’ve been talking to myself quite a bit.  So, there you go.  If I don’t write and get it out of my head, I talk to imaginary people and real people think I’m weird).

Also, my son’s birthday party is tomorrow.  This would be less of a big deal if he didn’t want a FOOD FIGHT (or if I hadn’t said ‘yes’).  We have 11 cans of silly string and pie crusts and 15 cans of spray whip cream. Water guns that we’ll fill with colored water. Possibly water balloons if it is warm enough.  I still have to buy his last present and then wrap them and bake the cupcakes.  I would like to relax and have fun with it, enjoy helping the kids get their costumes on for trick-or-treating, but I’m worried that I’ve forgotten something.

Clean up after kids are in bed on Thursday, October 31st and be all ready to meet November and focus on my writing!

Submerge in the Story: I guess most people are beginning a new novel?  I’m actually working on a story I started years ago.  The first part is being published as a short story in  Abyss and Apex.  I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I’m expanding it into a novel.  I’m really having trouble getting momentum.  My critique group likes what they’ve seen, but it’s been grueling trying to eke out each new section.  I’m currently at 21,000 words — that’s the first quarter where you set up the novel — and if I got to 50K words by the end of November, I’d only have the ending to write (another 20K).  I could have this to beta readers by the end of the year.  That’s HUGE incentive.

New Project:  I’ve *finished* sending out my query letter for my Post-Firestorm novel.  I’ve had some full and some partial requests.  It could be weeks before agents get back to me.  I’m not sure of the next step if I don’t go with an agent.  Small press vs. self-publishing.  NaNoWriMo is going to take over my mind so I don’t have to think about any of that for a month.  I will be deep into a new world of dreams and fears, guilt and betrayal.

Community:  I spend a lot of time alone and its hard to keep writing.  I LOVE my monthly critique group, but it’s hard to sustain the excitement and energy when I’m back home and there are more mundane things to do.  I’m hoping this month of virtual interaction will make me feel more connected.

I’ve rambled WAY too much here.  Maybe another symptom of not writing lately?

Let me know if you’re doing NaNoWriMO or look me up there.

Happy Halloween!!!!

Love,

Sherri

 

 

 

“Unfollow”

Today I ‘unfollowed’ the lit agent who has had my full MS for over two months.  It’s not because she told me she doesn’t want to rep the book.  Well, a little bit it is, but mostly because I feel like we broke up and I don’t want to see her light-hearted teasing with the authors she has decided to be with.  The inside jokes and the cute little pet names.  Better I shouldn’t have ‘followed’ her until our relationship was stronger, or at least mutual.

I’m disappointed, of course, that she didn’t like my novel.  I’m disappointed because in the two and half months I MAY have imagined the various scenarios of the conversation for when YOU GET THE PHONE CALL.  You know, the next step, in which you and said agent talk on the phone and make sure neither of you is crazy.  In preparation, I read all the articles that said to have your questions ready and show you’ve done research.  In hindsight, I’d say not so much research is either necessary or particularly healthy.  Might even be stalkerish.

It stung that there was no request for revision.  No offer to read another of my projects.  No sweet little, “We can still be friends.”  Her statement was personal, though, and I appreciate that.  She does not believe that my main character can bear the weight of the action-packed novel that I wrote.  Fair enough.  At least I know she read it.

But, therein lies the final disappointment.  I mourn my own rejection, but I also mourn my character’s rejection.  So many young women have strong characters in YA (Annabeth in Percy Jackson, Katniss in The Hunger Games, Bea in Divergent).  Well, I want to read about women over twenty years of age who are strong characters.  Moms can be adventurous, too.  Sure, Bea’s mom is Divergent.  Then she DIES.  Katniss’s mom USED to be a good healer and it comes back to her…as she waits in the wings.  It’s literary tradition — the mother figure has to die so that the husband/father/daughter figure is free to leave home and go on the hero’s journey…and still be a sympathetic character.  A mother who leaves…I think they call that a villainess.

My main character was a soccer mom.  She was a room parent.  Then her son was diagnosed with cancer and she became a cancer mom.  She has a unique voice when the end of the world arrives.  She believes that protecting her son and fighting for her home is worthwhile.   Isn’t there a publisher or literary agent who believes that?

Composting the Laundry

Today is laundry day.

In a house with six people, laundry day occurs frequently, but always Wednesday plus all the ’emergency’ loads of clothing, towels, sheets, whatever.  There’s an ’emergency’ load on Mondays.  One on Friday because that is when the twins bring home their nap towels and my older daughter has her horseback lesson, and my husband brings home his week’s worth of gym clothes and towels.  Sometimes an emergency load after a full day of soccer games on Saturday.  However, it is too depressing to think of them as scheduled.  I won’t do it.  As long as we call it ’emergency’ that means that it might be an isolated event.  We have one laundry day.  Wednesday.  That is all I can handle.

Here is a picture of today’s START.  About six feet of foldable clothing.  That is, the FIRST load I ran PLUS what was in the dryer when I opened it to put the washed clothes in.  Huh.  Wonder how long that has been there.  There is another load running right now.  And, the whites are patiently waiting their turn.  Well, the socks may be partying.  You know socks, always trying to pair up.  (I’m sorry.  Really sorry.  I can’t help myself sometimes.)  At least said socks are contained (mostly) in their bin while they wait to ride the whirligig cleaning machine.

laundry

I took a break from laundry to cancel my husband’s massage appointment.  That might sound vindictive, but I scheduled it to be nice and then promptly received the soccer tournament schedule and, of course, the championship game was scheduled for the exact time.  No pressure, my son, but if you don’t make it to the tournament game, someone’s not going to be happy.

I took another break to get my flu shot.  Ran home and switched washer to dryer and then headed off to a budget meeting for the fitness class I teach.  This day is really a barrel of fun, right?  Sorry, back to laundry.

Apparently the person doing laundry (me) had been taking the clothing from on top instead of in order of oldest because I couldn’t help but notice that I am washing bathing suits today.  It’s 59 degrees today.  I reminded myself that it was really hot here in Baltimore a couple days..weeks… ago.  I kept going down towards the bottom of the laundry and the clothing was getting warmer.  HOLY MACKEREL, I thought, THE LAUNDRY AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BIN HAS BEEN SITTING SO LONG THAT IT HAS STARTED TO COMPOST.  I expected to see shirts missing sleeves and turning…whatever color compost turns.  And, it would certainly explain the smell at the bottom of the bin!

But, um, the bin sits on top of the dryer and I’d been running the dryer.

Feel free to mock me now.

The point I think we should take away from this incident is COMPOSTABLE LAUNDRY.  You design what you want on your computer, print it out with one of those 3-D printer things.  Wear it.  Shred it.  Put shreds back into textile bin.  Print your new outfit for the next day.  Mother never has to deal with 6 feet piles of clothing ever again.  You can print different color sheets to match your pjs.  It’s going to happen.  JUST CALL ME BRILLIANT.  Even if the thought came because I thought my laundry was, without any actual leaves, banana peels or dirt, decomposing in my bin.

I know, you thought this couldn’t possibly be an actual post about laundry.  But, it is.  What can I say?  I’ve got to go fold another load.

Love,

Sherri