“There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, Yes, I’ve got dreams, of course I’ve got dreams. Then they put the box away and bring it out once in awhile to look in it, and yep, they’re still there.” — Erna Bombeck
The whole point of NaNoWriMo is to stop saying, “One day” and just do the damn thing. Some folks say 50,000 words isn’t a novel, but it is; both Harlequin Romance and Harlequin Presents clock in at 50,000 words, while Harlequin American has 55,000-60,000 words, which is also doable in November if you get up a good head of steam.
The point is, your story doesn’t have to be a doorstop to be complete. But even if you know it’s going to go more than 50,000 words, just think how much closer you’ll be at the end of November.
783 words ahead of schedule. Considering I already know precious little writing will get done Sunday afternoon and Monday, getting ahead is a good thing.
In other news, I procrastinated enough to knit a row and a half on my Aeolian Shawl (no small time investment given the stitch count as I near the end), and took a walk when I realized I was simply staring at the screen. Trust me; getting out and moving for twenty minutes does wonders to help clear the head, relax the shoulders — and it helps with the candy bar I ate while procrastinating.
“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” — John Wooden
I can’t write a novel all at once. I can’t even write as fast as I can think, which is immensely frustrating because so many times the words want to be out of my head and onto the paper now. But I can do a little bit more each day — and that little bit eventually gets me to where I’m going.
Despite having my writing time severely cut down by a number of things today — getting out to vote, work sucking up a large part of my lunch, dinner out taking much longer than intended, a newsletter I was committed to posting elsewhere on-line — I still managed to get my words in under the wire for the day and am currently about 500 words ahead of where I need to be. This is a good thing because I have a big distraction coming up this weekend: Disneyland. An on-line buddy is in from out of town, so my husband and I are doing an over-nighter in Anaheim so the three of us can hang out and go to the park Sunday and Monday. Yes, I’m expecting to get a tremendous amount of writing done. :rolls eyes:
But that’s part of this journey, too. We might make writing the focus for the month, but life doesn’t stop. There are things we have to do that will cut into our time. Part of the secret is in learning to recognize those early where possible and do your bet to minimize the impact. (This is very much a case of practicing what I say and not what I do; I’m still struggling with that myself.)
“All our dreams can come true — if we have the courage to pursue them.” — Walt Disney
When I look back on the things that are truly memorable to me, I find they’re often things I did when there were sane, sensible reasons not to do them — but I made the leap anyway. That’s what NaNoWriMo is about for many of us; it’s following our dreams. Putting words down on a page can be scary; for me, the idea of not putting those words down is a scarier one.
(Then there’s submitting — but we’ll talk about that after November is done.)
I’ve written more words today than I have some weeks lately. I really hope this means November will see me getting back into the groove. And why am I doing NaNo? Because my writing hasn’t been as fruitful lately as I would hope, a side-effect of everything that went on this past summer. The well ran dry for a while with stress and grief and trying to get our feet back under us; this may be a sign that it is starting to fill again.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” — Confucius
It is a bit of a cliche, but there’s really no better description for the first day of this month-long madness. We start with a single word. From that word comes another, then another and another, until the moment when it’s a scene, then a chapter, then a finished story. But all books, whether it be To Kill a Mockingbird, The Age of Innocence, or Money, Honey (which I’m currently reading), began when the writer put down one word.
My first sentence is typed. I’m heading to bed for some sleep, but it has begun.
It’s been a hard week. I try to look on the good side — I have a good income coming in, I have my health (kinda) — but today it’s a little hard.
My head is pounding, there are last-minute crises at work and the book I’d been enjoying reached a point where it abruptly turned into a wall-banger. The problem with ebooks? You can’t vent your rage without damaging the device they’re on. My iPad is intact.
I always try to do goals on Monday mornings, get a handle on where I’m going for the week. Of late, my efforts have been…less than successful, so I’m going to try a slightly different approach and focus on three goals this week:
1) Decide what my NaNoWriMo project is and at least map beginning, middle, crisis and resolution. I’ve got several projects all going, “Ooh, shiny!” We’re a week out; time to make a decision and stick with it. The fun aspect of not being published or having a book under contract is you can write what you want, even if that means bouncing between projects and genres. The bad: easy to get distracted and not focus on any one thing.
2) Get the yarn that’s in bags sorted into containers. I ran out of bins for my current stash and had to buy some more yesterday. Plus, there’s more arriving today, the result of a much-needed application of retail therapy. (Remember, yarn does not go to your hips and stay there, nor give you cavities.) When I was one freezer bag over capacity, that was one thing. I’m now about six. Time to get the newer stuff into proper storage and maybe resort things as I’m now starting to get enough that I might want to sort into weights.
3) Finish one small story project that I’m racing to deadline on. I love the piece I’m doing and the end is so close I can almost taste it. Plus, it’s got to be off the decks so I can get started on NaNo prep.
Two television notes: If you did not catch the premiere of Sherlock last night on Masterpiece Theatre, carve out an hour and fifteen minutes and get thee to the website where you can watch the premiere episode online. It’s a modern updating of Holmes and Watson, putting them rather firmly down in London of the 21st century and it’s brilliantly engaging. The creators are Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, who have stripped away many of the artifacts we recognize as being “Holmes”, yet kept the central core of the characters so they really could not be anyone else. This was monster hit on the BBC this summer and Moffat can be a happy man: he’s also the current show runner on Doctor Who and enjoyed great success with that (even if he did cruelly murder a poor, innocent fez in the process).
The second came my way via Tom and Lorenzo of Project Rungay. Apparently, HBO is doing a five-part mini-series of James M. Cain’s Mildred Pierce, staring Kate Winslett. I’m a big fan of the classic Warner Bros. movie starring Joan Crawford and her shoulder pads, but the book is considerably different from the film for several reasons, the restrictions of the Hays Code being a big one. With five hours and those restrictions removed, this looks to be a new retelling of the story, especially as Veda’s original storyline has been restored. The trailer certainly looks lush, but I’m a sucker for these sorts of things.
I’m writing this on a computer I didn’t intend to buy. Earlier this year, the money I had originally intended to use to replace my laptop (which was going out of Apple Care), ended up going to do some work on the house that needed to be done. Life happened, we had the family crisis this summer and then I ended up getting sick for much of September and October, First, it was sheer exhaustion, the body releasing the tension it’d held for well over a year and saying, “You are going to slow down and relax.” Then, because I was so exhausted and worn down, I caught the flu. (Be glad this is a blog and not a podcast; the cough still lingers.)
Public Service Announcement #1: Get your flu shot. Trust me, it’s better than getting the flu.
Then, there was the laptop incident. I won’t go into details, but let us just say my husband managed to knock over a glass of water on a shared workspace and it managed to fry the logic board on my MacBook. He’s still alive, by the way, and we’re still married, but there were a few moments that night when it felt like it was touch and go.
Public Service Announcement #2: Don’t keep liquids where they can spill on your laptop. Better, don’t let your significant other have liquids anywhere near your laptop.
So, there was an emergency rearrangement of funds and I lived and wrote on my iPad for about a week. (Seriously, this device is a lifesaver for me.) If there was something that I needed to do on-line that wasn’t really practical to do on the pad, I used the husband’s laptop. Fortunately, I’d been copying my active manuscripts onto my iPad, which meant writing (such as was happening) kept on going. As far as the data on the laptop itself, I invested in an Apple Time Capsule shortly after they came out and had been using it to do regular and automated backups. This included a backup just before I went to work that morning. Once I’d purchased my replacement laptop, I was able to do a full system restore. This is second full system restore I’ve had to do with this Time Capsule because my hard drive turned into a brick just after Christmas last year. (That, thankfully was when it was still covered by my Apple Care.)
Public Service Announcement #3: Back up frequently. Not just your manuscripts, but your system. You never know when the day will come you need to do that restore.
In addition to the new laptop, I’m now in possession of a new Time Capsule which gives me more storage and providers a stronger signal for my wireless home network. It didn’t hurt to discover the life cycle of the first-generation Time Capsules was approximately 20-24 months; I’d had mine for 30 and it was definitely time to replace.
Public Service Announcement #4: Your tech doesn’t last forever. Keep an eye on it and try to replace before disaster happens.
With the my computer problems solved for the moment and the flu (hopefully) behind me, time to start looking ahead to NaNoWriMo. A few years ago, I did a month of inspirational quotes and I’m thinking of trying to do that again. If nothing else, helps keep me going for those 30 days.