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.
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.
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.