NaNo Fail

Well, I tried it (it being NaNoWriMo) but it wasn’t meant to be. November started off so full of promise, with the kids taking nice, long, coinciding naps that gave me lovely long stretches of time during which to write. I made it a little over 15,000 words into my novel before my kids realized what I was doing and started being a little less possible.

Ah, well. I gave it a try, had some fun, and will hopefully be back to revisit the story again someday in the near future. I keep telling myself that this time in my life where I have two very small children and very little rest is a passing season, that there will come a time when their needs are less frequent and they will be away at school all day, and it makes me content to wait.

So I catalog my ideas and inspirations. I scheme while I’m changing diapers and cooking meals. Daydreaming while nursing, plotting while folding laundry, this is my life right now.

When I return to writing, and by writing I mean sitting down to write with reason to believe I’ll actually be able to finish whatever project I start, I think all this pent-up creativity is going to explode out and I dearly hope I’ll need to sop up all my ideas with reams and reams of pages printed with my words.

Until then? Well, I guess I’ll just have to keep thinking up really thrilling stories to tell my kids at bedtime.

Busy and Sleep Deprived

Oy, I always get so sad when I go too long between blog posts! Back in the sweet, halcyon days when I was pregnant with Aidan and knew so much less than I know now, I thought I’d have loads of time for blogging. Surely I’d have more time to blog when I stayed at home, yes?

No. No, young Erika. Just no.

Oh, well. I’m sure many of the people who used to read my malcontent ramblings about my evil erstwhile boss are long gone, as are the people who started reading because they enjoyed my pregnancy updates. All that’s left are you hardy souls who don’t mind waiting a few days (or weeks) between blog posts (or maybe do, but decline to email me about it).

So what have I been doing? Well. Let me tell you.

I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo, where and when I can. Sometimes that means writing 100 words while Aidan watches a documentary about helicopters, at other times that means cranking out 3,000 at a Starbucks while Wes watches the kids.

I don’t think I’ll make it to 50,000 words by November, but that’s okay. To be honest, I’m just proud of myself for writing in the first place what with the daily shenanigans of raising two tiny humans. The story I’m working on is pretty cool, and I’m enjoying it a lot. It’s the kind of story that sticks with me pretty easily, so if I can’t write for a few days at a time I have no trouble picking back up where I left off.

As for what else I’ve been doing, I’ve been supporting Wes as he starts his own business (you can check it out here, it’s pretty cool). He’s basically working two full time jobs right now, which means he rarely sleeps. He just got back from Las Vegas, where he attended the Microsoft SharePoint Conference to launch his company.

It’s pretty exciting stuff, starting a company. He’s designed this amazing SharePoint application software thingie that is making people’s heads explode all over the place. Microsoft is pretty excited about it, too. They showed it off in a huge presentation at the conference. Crazy!

So that’s what’s going on with me. I’m working on my hobby (writing), and Wes is working on his hobby (entrepreneurship). We’re busy and fulfilled and sleep deprived and chock full of exciting stories about how busy and sleep deprived we are.

National Novel Writing (Quitter) Month

Frick. My camera is all the way upstairs and I keep sitting down at my laptop and thinking, “This post could really use a picture” and then my camera is still upstairs because I was probably thinking about laundry or something when I walked downstairs last time when what I should have thinking about was what the heck I was supposed to remember!

And that? Is just about how my day has been going. Just one big brain cloud that follows me around wherever I go.

It’s not my fault, really. This has already been an incredible month, and it’s only half over. It started out with a project that I thought would preclude me from doing NaNoWriMo. Then, I finished that project early and started NaNo two days late. I was coasting along, really gaining momentum when BAM! ANOTHER PROJECT, this one even bigger than the first one and with little to no warning.

To add stress to projects, I hosted Thanksgiving at my house last weekend for my side of the family. Just me, a 19 lb turkey, 14 hungry mouths, and a small mountain of bread dough. It went really well (and by really well I mean the food was all hot and finished at the same time, everyone had enough to eat, and everyone got along) but I think I only sat down twice the whole evening.

In the midst of this maelstrom of cholesterol, my poor NaNo novel has been sitting on my hard drive, abandoned and stuck at a perpetual 14,843 words. I had finally caught up to where my word count was supposed to be when I got derailed by my GIGANTIC PROJECT.

I haven’t touched it in a week. As prolific as I can sometimes be, I doubt that even I can finish NaNo with a nine day deficit. It’s okay, this novel will get finished in December maybe. Or January. Heck, let’s go crazy and say maybe even February!

In the meantime, I’ll be over in the corner trying to console myself that I’m not a failure just because I didn’t finish NaNo this year. And yes, “console myself” is just code for eating chocolate. Talk therapy is cool and all, but chocolate is way cheaper.

Zombie Sandwiches

I should know better than to go into NaNoWriMo thinking I know what I’m going to write about. I should really know better than to do a whole bunch of research on said book idea beforehand.

Why?

Because novels are squirrely. At least, mine are. They start out as one thing, then do an abrupt about-face that leaves me trailing after them holding scraps of now-useless research asking, “WHY?!?!?!?!”

Characters I think will turn out to be a big deal excuse themselves from relevance, throw-away side characters extract themselves from the woodwork and steal the show. It’s a silly business, writing a book. For all the good plotting does me, I might as well just wing it and stop wasting my time on preemptive research.

When I started typing novel #3 on November 3 (I know, two days late. Whatever will I do if I don’t finish?!) I had every intention of writing about a ballerina jewelry thief. I had the story all laid out, I was excited about it, I even had the first line all typed out in my head.

Wanna read that first line? Here:

She arched one impossibly long arm over her head, bowing it over her outstretched leg like a taut branch supporting the weight of a bird. A tiny chorus of pops and crackles from behind her as the muscles in her back warmed up, stretched, remembered their soreness from yesterday’s class.

But then…I couldn’t get past this paragraph. I tried changing point of view, I tried starting somewhere else. Nothing. Writer’s block. Muy no bueno.

So, I started writing about something else. I had no idea where it was going, I was just writing for the kicks of it. And then I started meeting this entirely new character. And thought maybe this could be that zombie apocalypse novel I’ve always wanted to write.

And, Heaven help me, I think it just might be. Wes and I combined our considerable imaginations and came up with an entirely new (to us, anyway) kind of zombie, and now I’m 9,951 words into a book I have trouble not writing because it’s so dang fun.

I’m still behind on my word count. By the end of day seven I should technically be at 11,669 words, and in order to pull that off I’d have to write an additional 1,700 words today to cap off the 1,400 I already wrote this morning.

So, I might not catch up today. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe the day after that.

Who knows? By the time I catch up the novel may have changed again, morphing from a zombie apocalyse book into some kind of heartwarming tale of redemption and kindness and cracker sandwiches.

Stay tuned.

…Anyone Hear That?

It’s the sound of NaNoWriMo. Calling to me from the piles of dead leaves outside, whistling around the clouds that slouch fat with rain above my lawn.

It’s November 3. And all my projects are done, way ahead of schedule. Dare I start NaNoWriMo late? Do I have the stones to thumb my nose at the prospect of failure and just toss my hat in the ring for the funsies of it?

HECK. YES.

I could fail. It’s possible, and maybe even likely. Instead of 30 days to write a novel, now I have 28. I’m like February over here.

Still, I can’t stop feeling angry whenever I see people hunched over laptops in coffee shops, writing what I’m sure are thousands of words of novels I want to read.

Screw prudence! I’m doing it. 50,000 words, I’m coming for you.