Tag Archives: national novel writing month

Back With a New Game Plan

Courtesy of Google Images.

Okay, so I already told you that I pretty much had to throw in the towel when it came to NaNoWriMo. Between work and school, my joints just weren’t cooperating. Now that the craziness following Hurricane Sandy has died down, I’m back to work as usual, meaning very little free time until Winter break.

Working in a college Writing Center definitely has its perks. I’m surrounded by lots of talented writers every day. Most of the tutors are English majors, and some are poets and fiction writers going for their MFA degrees. My boss and a few of my other coworkers were doing NaNoWriMo with me, and the last time I had checked their word counts, they were doing pretty well. I got to work early yesterday morning, so my boss sat down with me and we just talked while we waited to open the center up. She’s sooo cool, and we have the kind of rare employer/employee, professor/student relationship where we can talk to each other about anything. She gives me great advice all the time, and occasionally I do the same for her. I told her how I fell off the wagon and how much that disappointed me. Then she made a great suggestion: why not bend the rules a bit? Living with RA means that sometimes you have to improvise in life, so why would this situation be any different?

The solution we came up with was that I shouldn’t worry about writing a new novel this month,

Courtesy of Google Images

but instead worry about fixing the ones I HAVE written. I have two “finished” first drafts of novels that I’ve been neglecting. She challenged me to finish editing at least one of them by the end of the month. Challenge accepted. At least with the editing, I won’t have to worry about writing a lot all at once. I can break it up into smaller, more manageable pieces. It doesn’t matter to me if I’m not following official NaNoWriMo rules at this point. All that matters is that I’m not allowing some achy joints to prevent me from doing what I love most.

Hopefully by the end of this month, I’ll be able to announce that I have a second draft finished. My boss also invited me to join her writing group. She and 2 other women meet every so often to read and critique each other. I’m totally going to jump on that chance, because that pressure is definitely what I need to keep going. Slowly pushing forward…

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NaNoWriMo Fail

So, if I haven’t mentioned this before, I will mention it now: I’m a published children’s author, but I’ve written a couple of novels as well. They’re still in the editing phase, but they’re written. Every year for the last two year’s I’ve done National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It’s a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel from start to finish by November 30. Granted, I’ve never actually “won” NaNoWriMo and finished the entire novel, but I’ve come close. I always thought that once I was finished with school and had more free time I would be able to do better.

Even though I’ve never hit the word count, I’ve at least made it to the end of the month before with about 30,000 words. This November is just a total disaster though. I was off to a great start at the beginning of the month. I was getting my daily goal of 1,667 words with little trouble, and for a few days I was ahead of the game. Then, BOOM: stiffness and horrible pain in my fingers and wrists. I guess I’m just not used to typing that much anymore.

I tried everything to make my fingers work. Liniment oil worked for the pain, but didn’t help much with stiffness. My medication didn’t do much better. Google and WebMD provided me with some stretching exercises that felt great for awhile, but overall there was no permanent solution. I kept writing, but my daily word count was dwindling. I haven’t touched my novel in days.

I’ve disappointed myself. It’s been a year since my official diagnosis, and I wanted to use this novel to prove to myself that I’ve made progress. But like everything else in my life, I realize that sometimes it’s just not possible to keep up with other people. I need to pace myself to avoid having to admit defeat. So, I’m going to set my own goal. I’m just going to write something, anything, every day. I’m thankful that I have the ability to write and to write well, and it’s not a talent I want to waste. Even if it’s only a paragraph, I will be happy. Because it’s not about quantity as much as quality, right?


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