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Yep. It’s the very last day of November: the last day of Nanowrimo, the last day of Nononano. Thanksgiving has been and gone, leaving nothing behind but memories and a few extra pounds.

What do you have to show for the month?

If you’ve been doing Nanowrimo, here’s hoping you’ve got your 50,000 words all onto the page where they belong. And if you didn’t finish, I’m betting you have a few more words than you did at the beginning of the month. Maybe you learned some new habits of daily writing. Maybe you decided writing totally sucks and you want nothing to do with ever again.

Some people played along with the Query Party – I hope you got some requests out of that, or at least some good practice in getting queries out into the big wide world where they belong.

No 50,000 words for me, but still November has been an eventful month. I completed what I believe to be the penultimate draft of Swimming North. Seriously. At this point, I’m hopeful that there is nothing much left to do except polish.  (Knock wood and all that).

Well, that’s about all I have to say – I’m off to work here in a minute. Please share your triumphs or your failures – I love to know what is going on with the writers out there.

Well, writers – how is it going on this 3rd day of November? Are we still using the the Nanowrimo energy and enthusiasm to launch us to greater literary efforts?

Do you want to know how many words I’ve written on the WIP today?  Zero. Yep, that’s what I said. Zip. Zilch. Nada. There is a tiny and tenacious piece of me attempting to change this, but I think it’s a losing battle. I’m sitting in front of a warm fire with a drowsing cat beside me, and it’s been a long day.

Hey, it’s not like I have to write 50,000 words this month, or anything. All I need to do is continue revising the never ending novel. Right?


Better Self: Come on, it’s only 7:30. Buck up. Move to your desk. Make some coffee.

Lazy Self: Give me a break. I’m tired. It was an emotionally difficult work day. I think what I need is a drink. Then a nap.

Better Self: You’re lazy. If you never write on difficult work days, you will never write.

Lazy Self: Sleep would be good for me. The time change messed me up. And I’ll write on Friday – I’m off on Friday.

Better Self: Friday is Query Party day, in case you’d forgotten.

Lazy Self: Oh, shit.  Fine. You win. But you make the coffee.

So there you have it. I am being dragged off against my will, away from the fire and the oh-so-comfortable-cat, into the murk of the WIP.

How goes the writing for the rest of you? Speak up – your comments give me good excuses to stray from my writing tasks.

Last night, feeling nostalgic and a little sad about my decision to stay out of Nanowrimo, I sat down at the computer with the intent to recreate some of the fun. It wasn’t midnight yet, but hey – if I’m outside of Nanowrimo, then I’m also beyond the rules, right?

I pulled up the scene that has been kicking my ass all week, cued up a whole new soundtrack (Opeth – Ghost Reveries) and plunged into the scene in my best Nanowrimo style. For me, this means shutting off the brain and letting the fingers do what they wish.

What happened was one of those writing experiences where I end up staring at what I’ve done and asking, “Where the hell did that come from?” Seriously. I’m vaguely alarmed at some of the implications. And now that I have allowed this thing to happen, since I’m not on a month long ride of “write it as it comes and make sense of it later,” I must make some editorial decisions by the cold light of this November morning. After all, this is a rewrite, not a brand new WIP, and this material has a responsibility to play nice with the rest of the book.

I’m thankful that the apathy of the last week has dispersed, at least. There is life in this scene now, and more raw energy than I know how to contain. This has to be a good thing.

Today? I am busy mulling the ramifications and tentacles, and debating whether or not to cut a couple of scenes. I will carve out a couple of hours to give this careful consideration, and to play with the possibilities. I’m not committing to word count, or even to completing this scene or chapter, or to editing a certain number of pages. I am committing to give this novel the best that I have to offer in terms of skill and dedication.

How is the writing in everybody else’s world? Nanowrimo people – how is the first day treating you? If you are a writer who is not engaged in Nanowrimo, for whatever reason – what are your goals for this month? Let’s use the November energy to carry us all to a new level. And hey – if you’re on Twitter, use the hashtag #nononano to check in with others who are not playing this year.

It’s official. I am sticking with my resolution to stay out of the Nanowrimo Amusement Park this year.

This saddens me. I feel like a kid on the wrong side of the fence, watching the other kids buying cotton candy and lining up for the roller coaster. But, I am determined to be a responsible writer and stay with my WIP. This is the right decision, I know it is, but it’s a difficult one. I love Swimming North, but it is at the Hard Work Stage. Everything about it is difficult. All of those little plot problems and character inconsistencies about which I waved my hand dismissively with promises to “fix it later,” are now lined up in battle formation, ready to kick my procrastinating ass.

Surrender is tempting.

I imagine waving a white flag and declaring myself beaten:

The story is too big for me. The surreal is too surreal. The writing is inadequate. Nobody will care enough about the characters. Give up. Walk away. Try again with another book and see if you can do better.

But I am not wired for surrender. Too much of Grandpa George, my formidable Norwegian ancestor, flows through my veins. No matter how great the odds – in the face of adversity I cling with claws and teeth to a goal and carry on.

Now that I’ve cleared that piece of over written drama from my brain, let me get back to my original purpose for this blog post.

Anybody else taking a pass on Nanowrimo this year? Misery loves company. Or better yet, let’s have a Non-Nanowrimo Party Month. Declare yourself if you have a goal to complete, or if you just want to hang out while watching the fun go by.

Me? Why yes, I have a goal. I plan to be ready to query this novel by the end of the month. Take that, novel! I have a keyboard, and I mean to use it.


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