November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope it’s a nice day filled with warm times and your crazy family all coming together.

I write this with a confused and sinking heart, but it’s something I need to do. I have decided not to continue to push to 50,000 words by November 30. I’m barely at 18,000 words now, and life has conspired such that making up the word count I need to “win” is near impossible. One of my friends, Anna, who I met last year through NaNoWriMo, said to me in early November, or possibly late October, that I could win without getting to 50,000. That sometimes, the effort is the winning, whether you get a purple bar and certificate or not.

Let me be clear that I am not giving up on my novel. I’m much more excited about this idea, and where the characters are taking themselves, than I was about my first novel attempt last year. I have two more write-ins I’m hosting, and I will stick to those. And I will write. But I will not make it to 50,000 words by November 30 midnight. Aside from the fact that I took a (fantastic) vacation, then took two more days to “get back” from vacation to spend with my boyfriend and watch Lincoln and relax, I am also going after another certification for work, which I need to hardcore study for. And of course, there is Thanksgiving. I am home, and will be home for the next several days, and I need that, too.

Here is what I’m thankful for. I am thankful for having both of my brothers in the same house. I am thankful for my sisters-in-law, my niece playing with princess dresses one day and lizards and insect toys the next, for my expected niece in March. For my parents, both back in good health and together. For a job as I watch others lose them. For listening to Girlyman and Hawaiian music on Pandora. For most of the rest of my family arriving shortly for a plentiful Thanksgiving feast. For my boyfriend, who continues to put up with my ups and downs and calls me just because. For my friends, all around the world, who provide more love and support than they know. For my experiences and new friends made in Peru. For the view outside my parents’ house. For Brie cheese and Moscato. For two dogs and a frog. For the glowing woodstove, for drinking around it catching up on random pieces of life. I am thankful for being able to tell people “I’m a writer” and not feeling awkward about it. I am a writer. And this novel I’m working on? Someday I’m going to publish it.

Well, I’m back from Peru and staring at my handy little chart from NaNoWriMo, rather annoyingly pointing out I won’t finish the 50k until December 28. You are wrong! I will do this! Somehow. I kept up my “vacation” for a few days after I got back, focusing on work, and seeing the boyfriend, and Lincoln (great, great movie, by the way), and chilling out. Today, I hosted another write-in, and managed to knock out 3,000 words – there is hope. If I can do that every day until

November 30, I may be able to do this. It took two hours of focus. And I’m well enough into my novel now that I need to actually move it along. I passed 16,000 tonight, and my characters need to have a little chat and get their confused and merry little butts to Nepal and Mount Everest. It’s time to get them on their way.

Today’s graph

So, we’ll see. I will be home for several days over Thanksgiving, and hope to curl up by the woodstove and do some serious catching up.

At some point during that time I’ll prep my photos and notes for you all, to get a peek at the utter beauty of Peru and the Andes, and, of course, Machu Picchu. In the meantime, happy turkey day. Live. Laugh. Love.

Well, today’s the day. Off on a big solo adventure to the Andes, hiking along the same route the Incas took so many many years ago, and seeing their fair city of Machu Picchu.

I have been wanting to see Machu Picchu for years. There is a big spread picture of it in my living room, and it’s been staring at me from the screen of my work laptop ever since I booked it (actually, this isn’t really fair, since Word and Outlook are the real things staring at me day in and day out). It is just a fantastically beautiful place, untouched for so long. They built it, by hand, every piece. Every time I see a glimpse of a photo of Machu Picchu, I long to go there myself and see it. To experience it, to just be, there.

I’d posted previously, trying to figure out if I wanted to bring my iPad or not. I decided not. I need a total vacation, no computers, barely any electronics (I figure maybe a phone is a good idea). Because then I will stress over my novel page count, and then I will be tempted to see where I can get WiFi – just to check, right? No. There is too much of that already. I am going hiking in a stunning mountain range, seeing beauties I’ve never truly dreamed of, making new friends from around the world.

My novel will just have to be on pause. And then I will get back, and spend the remaining days of November scrambling to catch up. That’s okay. And I may not make it to 50,000 on time, but that’s okay too. Who am I kidding? I will write nonsense until all hours of the night to catch up. I try not to be crazy competitive outside of the office, where I often need to be, but the person I am most competitive against is me, myself, and I. So, this will get done. I hope. I may be taking a random class, too. Since my November needs more things, obviously. But, I will try to keep this in mind: through the community that is Facebook, someone posted a note that came from her own region’s NaNoWriMo Facebook group/page/whatever they’re called. Thanks to Miranda for posting, and Rob for the thoughts:

NaNo isn’t about polish; it isn’t about plot, or dialogue, or description. It’s about writing. One word after another, one sentence at a time. It’s about getting from 0 to 50K in 30 days. That doesn’t leave time for research, grammar or structure. It’s a sprint, and it’s hard work. Don’t make it harder than it has to be.

NaNo is about freedom. It’s about turning your mind loose and letting it find its own path. Don’t hunt for ideas, let them come to you. Let them flow, then as they do, write what you learn. Don’t worry about sense, about realistic, about what other people write about. For that matter, don’t worry at all. Be who you are, dream what you dream, then write it all down. Save the worry for December.

This isn’t rocket science, or the hidden secret of the universe. But if this is your first time, and you’re bogged down in the mechanics of the craft, you’re discouraged in the quality of your prose, let it go. It doesn’t matter. NaNo is playtime, permission to throw all those rules we learn out the window and let it be what it is.

NaNo isn’t about what we write. It’s about why we write. It’s about remembering how much fun it is to tell stories.

So, I’m at 12,963 as of this post.

Last night, my boyfriend drove over and we went out for dinner and spent some time together before he went back to his place to get ready for work today. He is not exactly the emotional type, but he called me early yesterday morning and asked if I wanted to do dinner. Cute 🙂 It was nice to see him once more before I go. Hey, Peru, here I come!

Well, Sunday was pretty fantastic. After errands and lovely time with my boyfriend, I wrote like crazy and added over 5,000 to my word count! That means I’m ahead by a smidgen over a whole day. Ready? Drumroll, please: 8,533 words!

So, this evening I hosted a 2-hour write-in a few blocks from my office for two hours. That somehow got me 2,120 words! I passed 1o,000 and shot to 10,653! So I’m pretty excited.

What’s a write-in? Well, basically, people who live near each other get together in some public space and just write. All of this is arranged on the forums over at So, you get to meet people, and you get to have good-natured word count competitions, and focus on writing, with people as crazy as you are.

However. This is my dilemma. Let’s switch gears slightly. I am flying out of the country, for eight days, starting Thursday. I had planned on not taking anything electronic except for a camera and watch, but thought perhaps at least having my cell phone on me isn’t a terrible idea. I had not at all planned on taking my iPad, due to concerns about it being stolen. Which would suck. But, I also have a lot of airplane and airport times. I think I’m on like 4 planes each way. What do you think? I like to think I’m a pretty wary person, and will guard my bag with my life (well…not quite). I’m not worried about the hiking time, but I’m mildly concerned about the city time. I suppose I could just leave it under my bed in my hotel(s) or something. What do you think I should do? (Reminder: I can write my story, and keep all my notes, on my iPad, also, and then sync it when I get home).

I was a rockstar on my wordcount until yesterday. Day 3. So soon! But, yesterday involved a lot of driving (I can’t read in the car, so I doubt I can write in the car) and errands. I caught up some throughout the day, a hundred words here, a hundred words there. But still behind. It’s okay. That’s what Sundays are for! Today, we will do more errands (for me, this time, for my big trip coming up!) to REI and BJ’s. And then I will write write write!

Now it is Day 4. The program I use, which I can sync across my computer and iPad, is giving me different word counts across both. My computer version is giving me more words. My iPad is not. We will have to see who wins out on November 30, though I will likely try copying it all into Word and seeing what that gives me. Every program is a little bit different; the algorithms are not all the same. I’ll take the larger number for now! So, I am at: 4,175. But, on Day 4, I need to be at: 6,668. So I’ve got some catching up to do, and then hopefully speed on past that. Because I’ll be out of the country for a week, and need to do this!

That’s all. Little little update. But I’m still doing this. I’m still hanging in there.

It is amazing how giddy writing the first few hundred words can make you feel. All of my worries, time constraints, they all just went away in those initial 30 minutes of writing. I stayed up until midnight, excited to just start, right at November 1. And hey, I got 603 words in! I am putting the editor away, and just going. I’ve added 3 new minor characters and had a whole conversation between Martha and her displeased boss over the Oxford comma. Okay, so it’s not a bestseller intro (can you tell my whole life involves writing?) but it is a start! Because you have to start somewhere!

I just have to keep in mind that to actually keep up amidst all my commitments and travels, I need to aim for more than the “average” daily needs.

But I’m pumped, it’s nearly 1am, and if my strange but exciting plans to wake up early and pick up the novel tomorrow morning in some coffee shop before work, I’d better get to bed.

I’m writing a novel!