Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Tonight's listen:  No More Cloudy Days, courtesy of "The Eagles"

November 30th came to close with the sound of thousands whizzing over the finish line with seconds to go before midnight, all rushing for the "claim to fame" of being able to write a book in a month of 50,000 or more words. Not an easy task!

You barrel out of the starting gates Week 1 with enthusiasm, unbridled energy and able to live on 2 hours sleep.

Then Week 2 hits. It's like the first week of January when the holidays are over and tax season looms. The wind is suddenly gone out of your sails and the edges of the story you've carefully laid the ground work on, start to fray. For some, its the week of "writers block" where hard as you try, nothing creative is coming forth. But you must write. (Taking a day off from writing on NaNoWrimo is hell to catch up on later. Trust me. I know.) So you plug away, maybe writing "aardvark" eighteen hundred times just to fill your daily word count quota, but you write something!

Week 3 knocks at the door and you gasp! One more week! And this particular week for we ladies raising our magic wands, or I should say "spoons" (thank you Loretta), proves even more challenging. There's "fowl play." Thanksgiving sneaks around the corner, along with several companions, most of which you only cook once, maybe twice  year. Not only are you responsible for creating the "memorable holiday," you still have your 1,800 words to type by midnight, as well. Personally, I don't remember tasting the turkey until the day after.

Week 4 just busts through the door, unannounced, and a panic attack ensues. Your word count is not where it should be. When you check your stats online, the diagonal bar is stretching far above your daily word count, visibly shaking you to realize that according to your "production output," reaching your 50,000 word requirement will fall way past November 30th's deadline.
Family ties are severed at this point. People approaching you carry long sticks and linger near exits for quick retreat. You're on the border of shapeshifting into some paranormal beast at this point, crazed and obsessed with meeting your 50,000 word count. You'll respond to your new nickname (hint: starts with a "B") faster than your own name.

Two days before the cut off date, I was looking at 43,000 on my word count. I think the sun rose and set, and I vaguely remember a migraine plaguing me, but I'm not clear if I ate anything besides my weight in chocolate, or drank anything that did not have thousands of milligrams of caffeine. On my lunch hour on "D" day, I took my laptop and memory stick holding my masterpiece, and sequestered myself in the public library where I wouldn't be disturbed, tucking into the 'Periodicals' section.

Let me take a moment to comment here. Old men do not bathe. It's a scientific fact, and they hang out in the 'Periodical' section of the library for entertainment. Holding my breath and typing a very intense scene of my story, I crossed the 50,000 word mark. I continued to sneak a word in here an there until around 6:00 pm. I opened my account, and downloaded what I had finished. I wanted to be safe, not part of the mad rush at 11:59 trying to crash the servers on the NaNoWrimo website by downloading my story.

"Riley's Pond" (formerly known as "Avoiding My Brother's Shadow"), while not quite completed, came in on NaNoWrimo at 52,075 words. When I shut down my computer at precisely midnight, my word count was 54,049, and I was in love with my new story. Still have a couple of chapters before penning "the end," but I patted myself on the back for a job well done. It's raw, full of colorful language, unsavory scenes, but has a happy ending. Kind of like "life."

Congratulations to my fellow "NaNoWrimos." Whether or not you reached the 50,000 word goal, you took on the challenge and trained yourself to be a disciplined writer. What a wonderful experience. What an amazing year so far!

Did I fail to mention that the week I was plucking feathers, I also submitted a partial of my manuscript to two agents, with a query letter and synopsis? A feat worth mentioning.

Goodbye November. You'll go down in my history as one of the "great ones." I'm putting on my new "stretchy pants" (thank you M&M's) and taking on the daunting task of making fixing my leaning Christmas Tree. However, if I tilt my head just a tiny bit, it's straight!

Happy writing my author comrades, and happy reading my friends. Now....let the holidays begin.

Thanks for visiting.  "Harley Brooks" (Joelene's evil twin)

Today's thought:  Never say "I can't," or you won't. Never say "I might," or you won't. Say "I can do anything," and you will.

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