Thursday, November 11, 2010

Free to Procrastinate


My start on NaNoWriMo was pretty strong.

But that went all to hell pretty quickly.

So, before I get into how far behind my word count goal I am right now, a list of things I have accomplished so far this November:

1. Calculated no less than 123 final grades for first quarter for my sophomores.
2. Graded 40 book projects in two different classes (and it also may be worth noting that each book project actually consists of three smaller projects and a presentation--all of which I graded using separate rubrics. So I actually graded something like 120 projects).
3. Successfully got my daughter to and from school each day of the past week by myself. (No, this isn't anything I don't usually do. But still. If you have ever shuffled a five-year-old to and from daycare or a school without a bus system, then you understand--it can be quite a feat!)
4. Went off my diet. (This is not, technically, something that requires time, effort, or talent. But it seemed like a good enough time for confession).
5. Served at the ten o'clock service at church as opposed to the 11:30 (and yes, we did gain an hour from daylight savings time... but still... oh, nevermind. This argument is just falling all apart, hmm?)
6. I really haven't accomplished all that much in November.
7. But #1 and 2 on this list really were quite time-consuming.
8. And I also had planning to do, you know, for my real job.
9. And this one IS a good one--Kaliah is learning to read! And no, my role in this isn't major, but I am sitting next to her, reading homework in front of us, being amazed by her actually sounding the words out! And, you know, she's really getting it! I am truly in awe of the process of seeing her go from just going through the motions of sounding out individual letters to being able to actually put the words together. And you should SEE the smile on her face when that happens. Oh, it lights up my whole world. I could not be more proud of her.
10. And also, I drive her to and from ballet...

I feel like if blogs had sound effects... you guys would hear crickets right about now. Or somebody coughing.

Sure, I've had a busy November... but I promised I would write me some words.

My grand total of words in my new novel, which I have entitled Missing Melody is currently...


Which isn't.... bad. I guess.

Except that The Powers That Be over at National Novel Writing Month suggest that to finish on time, I should be at 18,334 words right now.


But, ya know... as much as I dream of being a published writer... some things have to come first. Like my daughter. AND my job. AND church. AND, without making anymore excuses for myself...

I am pretty proud of my near 10,000 words.

10,000 words shaping a story that I had not even conceived, not even had the slimmest tracings of the beginings of it in my mind, before November 1st.

10,000 words that did not exist strung together before the past eleven days.

That is something. If not something to be boasting of, at least something to be considered.

So. Enough procrastinating. 11 is my favorite number. Perhaps today, I'll do the impossible and double that wordcount, and get myself right back on track to finishing in time.

And if I don't, at least I had the freedom to try.

Which reminds me to say a huge thank you to all the Veterans out there. I truly am appreciative of all of you who so bravely serve or have served our country. I really believe this is the most amazing country in the world, and I feel so truly blessed to live in the land that many have given their lives to protect. While America is far from perfect, I feel priveledged to be a small part of how far we have come, and how far we are going. It is an honor to know those of you who give your lives so freely, so that we may enjoy so many freedoms.

God bless to all!

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNo, NaNo, It's Off to WRITE I Go!

So I know I have one billion and twenty-three other endeavors going on right now, but this challenge is too tempting to walk away from.

November is, apparently, National Novel Writing Month. Or, if you prefer, NaNoWriMo. The goal is to write 50,000 words entirely in the month of November. The idea is, in a word, awesome.

A global community of writers individually write themselves silly and document their progress online. Last year, I believe 30,000 writers met the goal. Can you believe that? 30,000 novels produced in a single month???

I feel that my chances of getting published are pretty slim. They just got even smaller, knowing that 30,000 novels were written in November alone, last year (and that's not even considering all the writers finishing books not part of the NaNoWriMo phenomenon, in November and all other months of the year).

Afterall, I have not been wildly successful in getting my first novel (Like Joe and Marilyn, 70,000 words, commercial fiction) noticed. And sheesh, that one took me seven years to write. Granted, I was also having babies and getting a B.A. and an M.A. and teaching college and teaching high school and parenting and waitressing and blah blah blah...

But still, now, I'm attempting to pop out another book in thirty days? After the first one took seven years?

Sure. Why not. Call me crazy. Along with the thousands of other nutty writers participating.

The emphasis is on quantity of words produced over quality, anyway. And it should really be a neat undertaking to force myself to write every single day this month.

Because while I love it, writing is a luxury I can't usually afford.

But here's the thing... if I'm serious about being a career writer, I can't treat it as a hobby. I have to give it the time it deserves.

And even if the next thirty days produce nothing but thirty days worth of crappy writing, at least I will have shown myself that I DO have the discipline necessary to be a novelist.

Discipline? I think so. Only the next thirty days will tell.

Talent? Well, that's a whole other story.

But I do have the heart. That much I know.

So, if you are interested in joining me and writing your own self delirious, click here.

If you yourself are not interested in this bout of literary insanity, but you'd like to show me some support by checking on my progress, you can click here.

And if you aren't particularly interested in any of this... here's a story for YOU (which, I promise, I did not make up).

Late Saturday night, just past midnight, so moving into Halloween morning, technically, my brother and I were on our way back from our restaraunt jobs at the beach. We're jabbering along, enjoying hypothetical, philisophical conversation that may or may not have been partly fueled by alcohol consumed by one of us (not the driver) when out of absolutely nowhere, these huge DOGS, wild dogs, come flying out of the woods across Rt. 50.

So I brake as fast as I possibly can, which was nowhere near fast enough, and THUD, I hit the first of the two creatures head on.

I won't get into all the grizzly details, but I kid you not when I say that thing had a deathwish, to use my brother's words. I mean, this puppy SAILED through the air before coming to it's sad and, for my brother and I, shocking, demise.

I was screaming my head off, and then laughing, as I tend to crack up in really inappropriate scenarios occuring in the ridiculous happenings that seem to plague my life.

I really thought it was a wolf.

I mean, who hits a WOLF! On Halloween? Seriously?? Do we even have them around here?

Yes, this really is my life.

I have since been told it probably was a coyote, which makes me feel NO better about the situation. Whatever it was, the animal was the size of a husky (WAY bigger than a fox, or Johnny's helpful suggestion, an armadillo), at least, and after I killed it dead with my little Honda Fit, there was NO WAY I was going back to check that bad boy's corpse out. Particularly since there were two of them, and the other one was still alive, and, so far as I could guess, probably pretty irritated that I just killed its partner.

Anybody else feel like the only thing missing in your life to turn it into a slap-stick comedy movie is a co-star along the lines of Chris Farley or Jimmy Fallon?

Or am I the only one?