Category Archives: National Novel Writing Month

Hearts and Flowers

heartIt’s November 21. National Novel Writing Month is two-thirds over and so far has not gone according to plan.

It was already out-of-wack on November 6 when I found myself in the hospital recovering from an angioplasty and stent placement. I’d been ignoring the off-kilter feeling just as I ignored the chest pain and shortness of breath.  My husband, who knows me very well, refused to let me ignore the physical signs of a flagging heart. Thus, a visit to the cardiologist and a hurry-up stent was efficiently placed to take care of the 95% blockage that was stopping up my heart.  All fixed.

Home from the hospital I settled in my little office and forced my fingers to tap-tap-tap for a few days, even though I knew I was writing crap and it was HARD to even do that.  Just keep the words coming, I told myself. That’s all that matters. Word count. By November 14 I was up to 20,542 words.  That night I went back to the hospital emergency room again. Pneumonia, they said. Not all that uncommon after a heart “event”. Antibiotics. Prescription cough syrup that actually  slowed down the coughing enough to let me sleep.

Sleep. That’s what I did for several days and nights, waking up just long enough to swallow pills and more of that lovely cough syrup. Once in a while I staggered to the computer to check my email or scan my G+ stream. But I did not write.

planting tulipsWhen a day came that I was feeling human again, I went outside, sat in the sunshine on the ground, and planted red tulips. That bag of bulbs had been lying on the counter, bothering no one, for at least two months. Suddenly, it seemed essential to get them in the ground so they could rest and be ready to burst into beauty next Spring.  As my trowel dug into the soft black earth and I patted each papery white bulb into its bed, I pictured myself striding down the walk on a sunny morning, smiling at the brilliant red flowers blooming beside my door.

It was a good day. But, still, another day I did not write.

November 21. I  know I will not write 30,000 words during the next week. It is possible, some people have written entire novels in a weekend. But, not me. Not this time.

I will sit quietly while a fat yellow cat snoozes on my lap. I will sip tea, listen to my wind chimes tinkle in the breeze.  I will feel grateful for the steady beat of my own heart, the breath easing in and out of my lungs.  If I wait quietly, the tulips will bloom.

And the words will come.

red tulips



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Unplugging for NaNoWriMo

The face of a black windup alarm clock

National Novel Writing Month starts in a little less than two hours. ( My alarm clock goes off in seven hours.)  I want to write this year, to write well, and especially, to write to the end.   I want to be able to go into my critique group in December with a completed novel.

But how much do I want it? Do I want it enough to give up constantly checking my G+ stream? Do I want it enough to stay away from the nano forums? Do I want it enough to completely lose track of the Republican primary? Do I want it enough to never know how Lohan comes out with her community service? Do I want it enough to miss Good Wife?

Because if I don’t want it enough to do without all those things, and others,  for one lousy month – then I will never be a writer. I’ll just be an aging wannabe.

When I finish this post I plan to unplug my router.  I’ll plug it back in tomorrow after I write 2,000 words.  Any day I don’t make 2,000 words there will be no internet, no blog posts, no email, no weather report, no forum browsing.

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Am I Ready to Write?

National Novel Writing Month

This morning I went to a National Novel Writing Month Kick-off.  Lori Robinett, the Municipal Liason for Fulton, explained the whole concept to the newbies and helped them get signed up on  She had workbooks, stickers, and Black Warrior pencils for each of us.  I sat there munching on a doughnut, sipping my coffee, enjoying every moment until she pointed out the countdown clock on the nano website. Two days?  It starts in two days?

I’m not ready. Will not be ready in two days. No way.  It’s not like this is my first nanowrimo rodeo, this will be my 7th year, so I don’t have the excuse that I’ve never done it before and don’t know HOW to get ready. I know. I just haven’t done it. Here are the essential steps:

  1. Tell your family and your friends all about National Novel Writing Month. Explain how important writing  is to your sense of personal happiness. Ask them to please do all they can to help you have free time to write during November. You must do this every year. Trust me, they will not remember what you said last year.
  2. Get your living space as clean and well organized as you possibly can. Get all caught up on the laundry. Put everybody’s socks and underwear away where they can be found without assistance from you. (This won’t last all month, but it gives you a few days to get started.)
  3. Stock up on groceries. Even if you don’t usually buy in bulk, this is a good time to do it. Buy stuff your family likes well enough to fix for themselves.  Make sure you have plenty of essentials like toilet paper, shampoo, and kitty litter.
  4. Take care of your computer. If it’s been freezing up on you lately, take time to figure out what the problem is and fix it NOW, before November 1. You will not have time to mess with a cranky computer.
  5. Decide what you will write about. If you only have a vague idea, fine. Don’t let that vague idea just swirl around in your head. Write it down in a sentence or two.  Then ask your self questions about your idea. Where does the story take place? Who does it happen to? Why does it happen? How does it change your VP character?  When an answer to one of these questions comes to you, write it down. Each question you answer will inspire more questions. Write them down, too, and answer each one as fully as you can.  This is FAIR.  The nano rules allow for planning during October.
Guess I better get busy!
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The End of Rose

Rose und Eis

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been thinking about Nano. At first I thought I wouldn’t do it. It seemed pointless to start another novel I probably won’t finish.

Then I decided that’s what nano should be this year. A pledge to finish. The first nano novel I wrote was the story of Rose and her husband Jim.  I’ve been working on Rose’s story off and on for years. The original story was about her fighting to save her marriage. I also have quite a bit of her childhood written.  But taken all together, I still don’t have a complete story.

This year my working title will be “The end of Rose.”  I will write new scenes about Roses life as they come to me and I will put it all together and write “the end”.  I’m not going to edit and polish. That would go against the spirit of nano. This will be all new material, but the world and  the main characters will be the same.

The new site is online. I put in my title and my synopsis.  I’m ready. Are you?
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New NaNoWriMo site for 2011 is online

November is for Writing

I just took a peek at the new National Novel Writing Month site.  They’ve been promising a complete revamp and came online sometime today.  Almost everything seems to have been wiped clean. My picture is gone, as is my purple bar and my halo. Everyone must earn those new each year. But why didn’t my photo make the migration?  So far the forums and  buddy lists are inaccessible – coming soon.  The good news is that it seems to be FAST – super fast.  It will be so wonderful if it doesn’t crash constantly the first week or so.  It wouldn’t if they kept the forums turned off. That’s what does it: all of us surfing the forums instead of actually writing.

You can enter your novel title and description now. But I still don’t know what I’m going to write.

Gotta get that figured out.

Nice to know I’m not the only one who isn’t ready.  Here are some other nano blogs:

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Getting Ready for National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing MonthNational Novel Writing Month starts November 1. That means I have just one month to get revved up and ready to write.  This will be my fifth year doing NaNoWriMo. You would think after getting it done, 50,000 words, every year for five years, that it would seem easy by now. Or at least easier.  But every year I face it with the same confusing mix of dread and anticipation.  Every year I change the idea for my “nano novel” a dozen times during October.  Every year I tell myself I can’t possibly do it this time: I don’t have a decent idea, I don’t know what to write, and besides, I’m too busy.

There is too much going on in my life right now. No way can I write a whole novel during November. And what idiot decided to make it November, anyway? We have deer season (a two week national holiday in my neck of the woods) plus Thanksgiving and the beginning of the Christmas shopping rush. My granddaughter turns eighteen in November. Big party. I can’t miss that, can I? When am I supposed to find time to write a novel?

WordPress sent out a challenge out this week. In order to get ready for the madness of November we should blog every single day during October. The Post A Day Challenge, they call it.  Get in the habit of writing something every day.  Get your fingers limbered up. Why not? That will make it so much easier, don’t you think? Write every day for TWO months instead of just one!

Okay. I’m in.