24 November 2008

Reflections On NaNoWriMo and Life (with Chocolate on the Side)

Ok, so there's no chocolate. I ate it all. Ev.er.y. bit. I just used that in the title to lure you in so I can bore you to tears talking about my NaNoWriMo successes and failures.

There's only 1 week left. I only wrote one sentence during the all inclusive family fun fest at our house. And even though Funsocksgirl & J-Man and Scout are all gone now and back to their respective bungalows, I still haven't written because I've had a cold and feel like my brain is slogging its way through a tepid molasses swamp of confused words and emotions and duties and desires.

Speaking of molasses swamps, my NaNo attempt last year was called Through the Molasses Swamp. I only got in 10,327 words on that one.

This year I'm up to 12,615 and I still have almost a whole week to work on it. I call that progress! My new, realistic goal? 20,000 words by month's end.

I like both of my stories. However, I've noticed that I have some recurring themes. Both tales begin with a teen who is late getting out of bed and both plots include the inability to raise one eyebrow, homeschooling and goats in varying degrees. It makes me think of Dick Francis and his race horse continuum. But what the heck, if it works for him...

I'm not in any race to try to accomplish the whole 50,000 words for 2 reasons:

#1. Because I am "Type Z", which means I'm just too laid back to really care.


#2. Marianne has found a way to give failed NaNo writers another chance at success; another 50,000 word writing challenge in January: JaNoWriMo. You know, January - the month where you get snowed in and there are no holidays.

The big difference with this January write-a-thon is that some of us will be upping our word counts on works we already have in progress. In other words, I could conceivably add 25,000 words to each of the novels I've already begun. That's Groovy!

And now, for all of you who tend to get distracted while you write, here's a tool that is guaranteed to keep you on track. It's called Write or Die where "dr. Wicked" is busy putting "the PROD in productivity".

Go check it out. You know you're DYING to!


Alrighty then, Groovy is off now to write and homeschool and dream of goats and probably take a nap. Catch ya later!


PS...Check out the "Ugly Holiday Sweater Contest" hosted by BigMama. There's a button thingy in my sidebar. She's giving away real prizes and everything!

Later this week the girls and I are going hunting with our camera because folks, nobody does tacky Christmas sweaters like Maine women! I'm thinking the Friday after Thanksgiving would be a great day to covertly catch some of them in action...

And maybe I can buy one for myself HERE.

Lastly, here's a snippet from last years NaNo:

Chapter One: Road Block

The day started like any other. Mom came in to wake me out of a sound sleep. Through my fog I heard her emphasizing words like, "JASON! HURRY!", "LATE!", "TEN MINUTES!" I sat up and yawned as I reached for my clock. It was 6:15AM. My bus hits the corner at 6:25AM.


I lumbered out of bed and trotted groggily to the bathroom, ignoring the steam and high blood pressure that was making Mom stand hands akimbo, glaring threats and spastic with frustration.

"I'm good." I mumbled.

"You'll be LATE! AGAIN!" she sputtered. "And I don't have time to drive you down there today. I have to leave for work NOW! If you miss the bus, you WALK!"

With that she she stormed into the living room, grabbed her purse and keys and disappeared out the front door.

Bye, Mom.

I splashed water on my face, threw on some clothes, and grabbed a couple of Pop-tarts. They weren't really Pop-tarts, they were some store's cheap version thereof, but they got the job done. I ate them cold as I loped to the bus corner. Mr. Mathers and I arrived at the same time. Ten minutes from waking to bussing? No sweat! My mom worries too much.

My classes went pretty much as usual. I goofed around with Rose and Tyler in English. I drew hilarious pictures with Gordon in Maine Studies - pilgrims riding whales. I daydreamed through Health. I kicked some serious sweaty butt in P.E. The coach wanted us to square dance, but Nelson found a basketball in the locker-room and we hijacked the class. Instead of forming couples and sashaying, we dribbled and passed and shot.

Until the principal came. Then we sat and waited and got lectured. Gordon squirmed when they dialed his folks. His dad worked at home and he wasn't going to be overly thrilled to get a "your son's been a bad boy" phone call. I, on the other hand, was totally cool with the whole thing. Mom wasn't home. She worked as a waitress from 7 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon. Then she had college classes in the evening. She was aiming to become a nurse with a real paycheck. Currently, we couldn't afford a cell phone, so Mr. Divens could call away. He wasn't going to get MY mom on the phone!

After a hurried conference with Coach, the powers from on High decided that Gordon and I should pay for our crime by picking up gum wrappers on the campus after school. After school? I'd miss my bus! I immediately put on the puppy dog eyes. I wasn't about to waste all that drama training from 6th grade!

"But I CAN'T stay after school! I'll miss my bus and then my poor mother who works so many hours and who is exhausted from studying so hard in nursing school will have to come and pick me up in our car that just barely runs. You wouldn't want to do that to my poor ole mother, would you?"

They made me work during lunch instead. That was OK though. Rose and Tyler snuck me chicken nuggets and cookies while I stabbed at errant paper napkins with one of those pointy stick things.

After lunch and my bout with slavery, I had Math. Math was my favorite class of the day. It was my favorite because Dina Swanson sat next to me. She's a cheerleader. She's gorgeous. She's got this wavy brown hair down to her waste and you know, a figure and all. She paints her fingernails in school colors and her voice is soft and lovely, like warm melted chocolate, except when she's actually cheering. Then she sounds like a blowhorn. But who the heck ever notices a cheerleader's voice when she cheers, especially when there are other attractions begging to be noticed? wink, wink.

After school, I boarded the homebound bus and scrambled for the back seats. Only geeks sat up front. Cool guys, like me sat in the back. I plopped down beside Matt Sevidio. Matt was cooler than coolest of the cool and sitting next to him was an honor not to be taken lightly. Matt was only 14, but he had his own motorcycle AND his parents actually let him ride it ON THE STREET. He was as cool as the other side of the pillow.

"Hey, Matt."


"What're you doing after school?"


"Working? Your folks making do some chores?"

He scowled at me for my obviously uncool question.

"Chores? No way! I've got a real job."

"You're kidding! You're only 14. You can't even get a work permit yet. How'd you get a real job?"

Matt raised one pierced eyebrow to comment on my stupidity. I wished I could raise one eyebrow. I had tried many times, even practiced for hours in front of the mirror, but my eyebrow muscles remained steadfastly connected; if one went up, they both went up. Sometimes life isn't fair, ya know?

"My Uncle Rodney is paying me some serious money to do some roofing for him."

I was duly impressed. My mom freaked when I got on a step ladder. The roof was unfathomable!


Matt settled back into his seat as if to say What else would you expect?

We pulled onto my street and suddenly the front of the bus geeks started to crane their necks to get a better look at...something. I couldn't tell what they were gawking at because they were all in my way. I could see that the bus was stopping a good two houses short of it's usual mark.

"Timmons and Collier!" It was Mr. Mathers yelling from his seat. "You'll have to get off here. There's a monster of a moving truck up there blocking the street."

A moving truck? I waddled my way up to the front of the bus to get off. I tried to strut, but my overloaded backpack and the various feet in the aisles and fat girls billowing into the walkway made it look more like a waddle.

Sarah Timmons and I hit the ground and did some gawking of our own as the Mr. Mathers grimly set his mind to finding a way to back the bus out of our narrow street. Our narrow, blocked street.
Actually, there was more than just a moving truck. There was also one of those huge 15 passenger vans (or maybe it was a 12 passenger van, I couldn't tell) and a metallic blue Honda Civic and two 4-wheelers and a fairly big lawn tractor. Movers were… well, moving back and forth between the house and the truck like army ants on the warpath. A well built blonde man was standing near the back of the truck shouting instructions. Inside I could hear a woman's voice doing the same. Somewhere deeper inside a baby howled. A beautiful beagle was chained to the front stoop. She was standing and panting and following all the action with doleful eyes.

Whoever these people were, they were moving into the old Hanson place. It was HUGE. We're talking a basement, plus 2 stories and a garret attic. I'd even heard rumors that the house had, like THREE bathrooms. Quite a contrast to our little mobile home in Mrs. Evelyn Peary's side yard. Our place had originally been installed as a mother-in-law trailer for Mr. Peary's old lady. But she'd died 10 years ago and Mr Peary had kicked the bucket 7 years ago and now Mrs. Peary rented it out to supplement her Social Security. We'd lived there ever since. Two tiny bedrooms, one bathroom; red shag carpet and goldish linoleum. It was small and it was ugly, but Mrs. Peary was nice and we managed.

Now it looked like a whole army was moving in next door. From the looks of them, this army had a lot of kids. Hopefully one of them would be cool.


Tammy said...

Fun story from last year, Groovy... I'm not sure I could ever write from a 14 yr old's perspective!

Don't forget about tomorrow's Open House....I'm counting on you and want to enter you in the contest! (No pressure though...) ;)

Superwoman said...

That picture of the car is just frightening. Those poor, poor people.

Ms. Kathleen said...

I am IMPRESSED.That is a lot of words. Maybe I should try the January thing...Write, write, write or is is right? Snow, you can take all you want and that car, like Tammy said, is scary looking. Hugs to you!

Keetha Broyles said...

That picture of the car - - - I'm still trying to figure out HOW that happened. Who opens their windows in the winter??????

Anonymous said...

Oh, Groovy! How I needed you and your laid-backness this morning. I'm still suffering under the delusion that I will make the 50,000 word count in spite of the fact that I'm not halfway there AND relatives are coming tomorrow (but not sleeping here because they are allergic to cats).

I didn't know about JaNoWriMo. I'm goign to do it! Thanks for the info.

I have no gotten where I can't write unless it's on write or die. that means I can only write if I have an Internet connection. Excuses, excuses.

Thanks for this post. You helped me.