Friday, November 30, 2012

Day 30 of the 30 Day NaNoWriMo, Novel-Writing Challenge

I am a winner!

Yesterday I uploaded my novel "The Hitchhiker's Guide to Suburbia" to the NaNoWriMo Website for the word count verification, 60, 437 words.

So, here is how I feel about being a winner:

Stressed!  That's okay. You don't have to be stressed too. My closest friends know I am not big on celebrating my accomplishments. In fact, I am about as quick to file them under "G" as I am to take up new things.

So, here's the thing. I want that to change. I want to invite the glory of magnificent transformation to enter my way of being, loop me up in a spring of vibrant growing, and blossom into a blooming anthem of "We are the champions."

So here to celebrate the success of exceeding the 50,000 word target in 30-days I offer what I have learned.

1. I have a lot to say. I wrote 60,437 words about something that happened to me when I was seventeen, and did not even breach the subject on its deepest levels.

2. I can write so deeply about something emotional, and have it spill out into my current life in ways that have my partner, Gayle and I looking at each other going "what the hell was that?"... and, basically avoid hitting the deepest most significant channel of emotion stirring beneath it all.

3. There are whole veins that remain untapped: my story is incomplete. Yay! I get to write more.

4. Did I mention that I get to write more?

5. I totally need a break. While writing this story has given me some amazing passages with word tangles that make me laugh so hysterically, they are so beautiful; -I need to live some life in December. I feel like I have lost touch with my bank account, and the laundry. I don't remember where I put that important letter that needs to be signed and dated immediately. I probably have not seen my friends in a while, and somehow, I have forgotten all about Kale other special greens that make you healthy and happy and regular.

6. Sigh!

7. I want to start writing tomorrow, but I should take this opportunity to learn how to celebrate.

8. I am soliciting suggestions on how to go about patting myself on the back and making it all feel like I am celebrating being a winner.

9. "I won! I won! I won!!!"

10.  Dear friends, thank you so much for this past month, checking in with me to see how the writing is going. Thank you for asking me about my novel and for telling me how cool writing a novel sounds. Thank you for telling me that my life is going great and that it seems like wonderful things are happening for me. Thank you for being supportive and for encouraging me to stick with it.

Dearest friends, I love you so much and cannot tell you enough how your support and encouragement was needed, lest I tell you that you job is not yet over. Like mine, your job remains open. I need support more now than ever. I have half an unedited story. Now, the real work begins. Now, I call upon you to help me get this thing read and commented on, chewed up, spit out, burned, cleansed of garbage, grammar checked, story inconsistencies smashed, not mention the emotion support of both hearing the honest truth, and about pushing myself into the darkest places I avoided this whole month. Napping, apparently is a wonderful place to visit while you are trying to avoid writing about certain things that connect you with a difficult subject or painful emotional memory. For the next month I want to see you and hang out with you and just connect with you, then starting in January, the next phase of writing begins. Editing concurrent with writing. The January challenge is to get into the scenes I avoided writing this month, to get them out, and try to squeeze them into the book I wrote this month. What do you say? Did I mention I miss you and love you?  I make a mean chocolate chip oatmeal cookie too. 



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 20 of the 30 DAY nanowrimo Novel Writing Challenge

I have made it to day 20 of the 2012 nanowrimo 'write-a-novel-in-30-days' challenge.  At 38,433 words I am six days away from meeting the 50,000 word target, four days ahead of schedule.

However, I am not really near finishing the story. The way I am sizing up against my initial outlines, I am going to have a 100,000 words novel by the time I am finished, and that means I have to write 10,000 words a day not to be finished by the end of November.

Can you see me heading out to the upcoming write-all-nighters for the Toronto nanowrimo group?  Yep!

Sadly, my video blogs are on hold due to technical issues with video file formats and my camera.  : (

I wish to pay thanks to Natalie Goldberg, author of "Writing Down the Bones" for the crucial piece of advice that put me in the mindset I needed to attempt this 30 day challenge. A nanowrimo writing buddy and dear friend of mine tells me the Anne Lamott has a slightly different take on the same sort of advice. Natalie calls it composting. Anne Apparently calls it writing the shit out.

Natalie Goldberg is the author of a series of books on writing as a zen practice. Anne Lamott is a novelist and political activist and has also written various blogs and articles on writing as a practice.

What made me think that I could really do this challenge was taking to heart the advice that I can permit myself to write 'shit' if it gets me writing. Permission is the keyword there. Making a start was the single most important and powerful step I ever took in this whole 30 adventure. I think I even started my novel this month with something like:

"Natalie Goldberg says I should just start writing down what ever comes out and keep going until I've got something that wants to be told and grows legs. And so here's my shit version of an idea I have for this story.. I suppose my story is about a seventeen year old boy who...."

38,000 words later I am pretty proud of some of the stuff I have gone back to read. I love this story I am writing. I love the characters. I hate the characters. I really love the lovable ones, and really get mad when the ones I hate show up on the scene. I am protective of the ones I love and wish for rude awakenings for those that are up to no good. Then, I get to sit in a room with the villans and make deals about how they can't win at this point in the story, but promise them I will stumble my main characters if they agree to tell me how I can stumble them.

The new challenge is, two thirds of the month is up and I've got less than half a story, regardless of how many words I have written. So, dear readers, I am challenging myself to turn it up a notch. 10,000 words a day might be unreasonable, but 5,000 I can do. Okay, so maybe not. But, I am having fun with it and that the most important thing right now.

Hmm..maybe I am just talking shit now instead of writing it.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

30 Day Novel Writing Challenge Days 7, 8, 9, 10

The American Election threw me off my game for a couple of days. I still wrote everyday, but I didn't get around to blogging about it.

So much has happened in the last couple of days. First of all, my characters are talking back to me now, and my inner critic has finally reared his ugly mug.

No, it wasn't for all the excitement of Zomney apocolypse averted. Phew! Wecome back Obama!

I think it is because the fact that I am writing a novel is finally catching up with me. So the characters in my story started reminding me that we are 19,000 words into a year in the life and I've got 51 weeks left to cover. "Nobody wants to read this shit. Nobody cares about us." And so, they are right. Or rather, that's exactly what many seventeen year-old's believe. So, while they are doing great about being true to their nature and helping the narrative right along, my inner critic has started to dialog right along with them.

He keeps telling them to fight with me. He keeps telling them that this work is unimportant and that their lives have no meaning. He wants to kill them before they are finished being born.

I ignore him as much as I can, but every once in a while when I feel the characters are going to keep me busy writing 1667 words a day right through to January, he gets a few jabs in and I land flat on my ass.

Yesterday I stalled and today I have taken the entire day off. The critic has landed a blow and I need to take long walks in the park with the dog, and watch him punch holes in his new frisbie. Then I can splash around in the aromatherapy tub, light some candles, chant alms to "Ganesha" and meditate until my thoughts start to make some sort of sense to me once again.

The critic wants me to believe that this whole endeavor is stupid. "Taking an entire month off to write a novel is fool's play.  There's real livelihood out there, and you are wasting your time."

To my inner critic, I say, "have your say, and pass the honey. If I get anywhere at all with this, I am going to tell everyone in the world all about how helpful you were while trying to pull my chair out from under me, and by purposefully hiding my ideas in the drawer with the elastics and corkscrew."

My sweetie has just informed me "you're not getting any," for having left her out at this point. Honestly, she is seeing me through this in such a big and magnificent way. I love you so much, and I wouldn't be doing any of this without your encouragement and pep talks.


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

30 Day Novel Writing Challenge Days 5 & 6

What I don't yet know about my characters and places, doesn't really matter.. Thanks Sophia for the tip on [research goes here]... Enjoy!!!

30 Day Novel Writing Challenge Days 3 and 4

The most important piece of advice I have discovered as a creative person comes from my 4-month old puppy, Odin. Thank you Odin!  I love you!

30 Day Novel Writing Challenge Day # 2

Video blog from Day #2 of the nanowrimo 2012 challenge "Time to Write"

One of the first tips I heard when I started writing years ago was "make time to write." Make time to write everyday. It helps when I set the intention to sit down and write every day. It helps to make the time on the calendar, to block it off and set it in stone. That way, even if I don't feel like writing, habit will walk me through it, and some of my favorite writing sessions have been just like that: -begun with a feeling of not wanting to write.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

30 Day Novel Writing Challenge Day # 1

Today is Day #1 of the 2012 30-Day Novel Writing Challenge. I have written the first 2054 words of my novel, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to Suburbia."

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to Suburbia" follows a year in the life of seventeen year-old, Calvin. Calvin meets sixteen year-old Jessie. They fall in love and begin to release the emotional pain each suffers from growing up in broken and abusive homes. Dreaming of leaving the suffering behind and 'making it' on their own, they rent a small basement apartment in the suburbs and start their dream life together. The harsh realities of adult responsibility, earning a living, and paying the bills are no honeymoon. The young lovers succumb to pressure from their peers to use sex and drugs as an escape from the harshness of life and lead them on a self-destructive path that will ultimately push them both to face and deal with the traumatic events that shaped their lives. Calvin learns that sometimes the only way out is to go through.

The novel navigates the suburbs of two anonymous North American cities, where administrative autonomy varies and authority is either non-existent or unforgiving.

Video blog: DAY # 1 "The Digs"