Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

National Novel Writing Month – Day 16

Word Count: 34,657

Today was not my best showing, word count-wise.  Or writing-wise.  My brain feels like it’s been stuffed with Jello chocolatey pudding.  Maybe it was the lack of adult conversation I was privy to today.  Maybe it was the fact that I didn’t get to eat much of anything until 6:00 PM.  Maybe it was just Monday.  I don’t know.  Tomorrow will be better.

I do feel like I am figuring out how to better handle spending the day with two kids under two, though, so that’s a plus.  Each day my niece “E” is becoming less like a newborn and more like a curious little infant.  She’s very smiley and very chatty and she takes a lot of naps (which I love).  My son (“A”) loves having her around, and I look forward to a time when she’s old enough to hold her own with him — at least somewhat.

Also, beyond the kids getting used to each other, I’ve learned a few personal lessons on how to cope with having two little ones in the house:

1. Start each day fresh (mentally, physically, and domestically). This means get enough sleep, shower, put on make-up, wear clean clothes, make sure everything is picked up and put away.  That way a) you will feel so much better going about your day and b) you won’t feel the need to be working your butt off around the house if you somehow happen to miraculously get the kids to nap at the same time.

2. Expect to get absolutely nothing accomplished during the day aside from taking care of babies. This is a difficult one to do, but it’s very freeing.  If you don’t expect to get the bills paid or the dishwasher unloaded or the pages written, you won’t feel as bad when you inevitably fall short on your tasks.  There will always be time to get the rest of your life under control after they go to bed.  Or not.  Who really cares if the rug gets vacuumed?  And mortgage, schmortgage — Am I right?

3. Behold the power of Sesame Street. I know you’re not “supposed to” plop your kids in front of the TV; but if it means allowing yourself a few minutes to read Go Fug Yourself while holding on to a modicum of sanity, it can’t be all bad.  Plus, Sesame Street is rad.  Especially the Old School episodes that are apparently no longer meant for children.  At least I know that when my son’s in jail for a breaking and entering I’ll be able to point a finger at these two cats.

4. Enjoy the kids. Nothing you will see on the TV/find on the Internet/read in a book will ever compare to the sight of a smiling baby who is learning to use her hands for the first time or the sound of a kid as he rattles off not-quite-right barnyard animal noises.

5. Be able to send one of the kids back home to their own house at the end of the day. I may be holding my own while having two kids in my house during the day, but I always get to start and end the day with only one child.  Having to watch only one kid at a time is like going to a day spa where they serve you chocolate layer cake laced with muscle relaxers.

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National Novel Writing Month – Day 15

Word Count: 33,069

I know I’ve been a little cryptic about the contents of my novel, but today I’m going to give you (my loyal readers) an EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEEK!!!1!!

Here is the official Microsoft Word Auto Summary for my NaNoWriMo novel, A Little Salsa in Your Pants

Spencer grimaced.  “Spencer?”
It’s Spencer. Spencer hesitated.
Spencer asked. Spencer asked. “Spencer, don’t. Spencer shrugged.
Spencer shrugged.
Spencer paused.

I know you’re all waiting on pins and needles to find out how this one ends…

National Novel Writing Month – Day 8

Word Count – 23,417

I almost stopped writing today after about 1,000 words, but I kept going until I nearly reached my 2,000 word goal.

Not much more to say today, but I will leave you with a few words of wisdom (not my own):

“Check, baby.  Check, baby.  One two three four.  Check, baby.  Check baby.  One two three.” — Wreckx ‘n’ Effect

National Novel Writing Month – Day 7

Word Count: 21,486

I was a writing fool this weekend, thanks to Mr. Mags.  He took care of the little one most of the weekend, just so I could get my write on.

I did manage to take a little time off to go to the movies and delicious dinner on Saturday night.  We went up to Evanston (our old stomping grounds) and saw a double feature of Precious and The Box.  The acting in Precious is just absolutely fabulous.  Monique is sublime and just straight up evil.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to watch her anything ever again without wanting to slap her in the face.  Kind of like Jason Isaacs in The Patriot and the Harry Potter films.  The Box was bizarre, but I loved the ’70s style of it.  The director captured the feel of films from that era perfectly, down to the score.  Plus James Marsden was in it, and I loves me some James Marsden.

In between movies, we went to our favorite go-to Evanston eatery, Dixie Kitchen and Bait Shop.  We used to be able to get in there with no wait at all, but ever since Check, Please! (Damn you, Check, Please!) aired the Barack Obama episode where he sang the praises of the (now defunct Hyde Park) Dixie Kitchen, my own personal little cajun hole-in-the-wall has been hopping.  Glad to see it’s doing well, though.

And today was all about NaNoWriMo.  Pretty much.  I took a few breaks here and there to play with the kid, walk the dog, and fiddle on the Internets, but that’s about it.

Now I am tired.  And my laptop battery is about to conk out.

Valete!

NaNoWriMo – Day 4

Word Count – 10,147

Phew.  I nearly made my 2,000 word quota today despite my document freezing on me and erasing two of my more delicious paragraphs.  Stupid spinning rainbow Wheel of Death.  Oh, well, if it wasn’t saved, it wasn’t meant to be.

The part I wrote today was fun because it was all about one of the character’s houses, which is in total squalor.  Lots of description, lots of trying to be as domestically disgusting as humanly possible.  Just to add to the grossness, I used my own powder room as a model for the bathroom.  Avocado sink, green carpet, green and silver foil wallpaper.  It’s a sight to behold.  I’ll have to take a picture of it for you to see.  I may never change the decor since it’s such a conversation starter.

 

NaNoWriMo – Day 3

Word Count: 8,815

I didn’t get a lot of writing done, but I did get Breighleigh to spend some quality happy time in her bouncy chair while I cleaned up the kitchen and fed Murray.  I think I’m finally starting to figure this baby out.  Success!

Tomorrow, it’s just the boy and me, so I’m going to get some writing done while he naps.  If he naps.  He’d better nap.

NaNoWriMo – Day 2

Word Count – 8,099

I’m really glad I got so much writing done yesterday, because today I missed my 2,000 word goal.  I kind of knew this was going to happen, so I don’t feel too bad.  At least I wrote almost 1,000 words.  That’s way more than zero.  Don’t quote me on that.  I’ve never been good at math.

Maybe it was foolish to jump into NaNoWriMo during only my second week of babysitting for my two-month-old niece Breighleigh*, but I’m glad I’m setting up all of these new patterns and schedules at once.  Now if only she could learn to sleep alone long enough for me to shove a sandwich or a grape or something in my mouth.

 

*Not her real name, thank heavens.

National Novel Writing Month – Day 1

Word Count: 7,197

Whew.

I know NaNoWriMo is a marathon and not a sprint, but I wanted to get out of the gate quickly this weekend to give myself some breathing room during the week.

I woke up early today (but not TOO early), coffeed up.  Made some beans and some sweet potatoes (not to go together — kind of an odd combo), and got my write on.

I am feeling pretty good so far, but then I always start off well.  This is the easy part.  The hard part is getting through the second half of the second act and then finding a way to tie the entire story up in a neat bow.

I learned some new things about my main character today, which is pretty impressive considering I’ve been working with him for about nine years now.  I’ve always liked this story, but I’m really enjoying the freedom of having so much room to embellish characters and fill in backstories and blah-blah blang.  My mind is basically a pool melted Jello at this point.  I’m not even sure if I’m making grammatical or logical sense.  I’ve been subsisting on a combination of Nerds, Milky Way bars, and Diet Coke.  It might be time to eat a veggie or three.

Tomorrow it’s back to reality, back to babies.  I’m setting my alarm for Early Ass A.M.  We’ll see how many times I hit the snooze.

In the immortal words of Jem, continue to be “truly outrageous, truly, truly, truly outrageous.”

Mags

And We’re Off…NaNoWriMo Style

This is going to be my first year participating in the official National Novel Writing Month.  I’m quite excited about it, and I’m going to be working on a novelized version of a screenplay that I’ve written about 600 times in 427 different incarnations over the past 32 years or so.  Those of you who knew-me-when are probably very familiar with this screenplay/story, so I apologize for bringing nothing new to the table.  But, alas, I’ve decided that the story could really be opened up as a novel, and I’m ever so looking forward to diving into these characters much, much further.

Anyway, even though this is my first official NaNoWriMo, I did spend this past September holding my very own MagsNoWriMo (Magistra’s Novel Writing Month), and I did succeed in finishing that novel (which is in desperate need to be revised, but that’s what December is for).  Here’s how I got through it:

1. For this month, at least, writing comes first. This is very hard for me, because I’m so addicted to TV, but until I’ve written my 2000+ words for the day, there can be no America’s Next Top Model.  That’s just the way it has to be.  My plan is to get up early and write for an hour or two (hopefully the boy child will sleep late enough to allow for this even with the time change), so I can start the day off on the write foot.  Ah, puns, you are a delight.

2. Find a soundtrack to spur you on during non-writing times. I like to take longish rides to the drive-thru Starbucks in the morning (this serves as nap time for my little ones; sorry, environment!), and on the road I will listen to my book-approved soundtrack on the old iPod.  This novel’s soundtrack shall be…”Sand in the Vaseline — Vol. 1 and 2″ by Talking Heads.  I think.  So far.

3. Don’t stress out, and don’t burn out. NaNoWriMo may be a “contest” of sorts, but it’s really all about you and your goals.  Don’t set too far-reaching a goal, and don’t set too easy a goal.  Maybe 50,000 words is too lofty, so try for 30,000.  Or just make a week-to-week or day-to-day goal to make things seem more manageable.  Instead of looking at the final number, for instance, I like to think in terms of writing 2,000 words a day, which is pretty do-able (Hopefully. I haven’t yet tried to tackle this while having to take care of two whole babies all day long who never nap at the same time).

4. Weekdays can be tricky, what with work and family and spouses and blah-di-blah-di-blah, so front- and back-load on the weekends. In our house, we call the weekend days “Dadder-day” and “Sun-dad,” which means Dad gets to take care of Murray for as long as I need to be away from the young’n writing or planning or watching Grey’s or whatever.

5. Have a reward in mind. Sure, finishing the first draft of a manuscript could (maybe SHOULD) be reward enough, but if the thought of a new Coach purse waiting for you at the end of the journey keeps you going, then so be it.

6. Don’t forget to read. I always find that I write better when I take time to read for pleasure.  It’s not a waste of time, it’s honing your craft.  And it’s oh-so-much more worth your time and brain cells than watching Tyra make a mockery of racial sensitivity.

What are your writing tips?