Tag Archives: NanoWriMo

The lost month of November

Ok, so that title is a little misleading… but not so much for my blog. You see, with the exception of one blog post, I focused my writing on NaNoWriMo for the third year. And yes I realize that it’s TEN days past the end of NaNo but I needed a bit of a break, and of course am focusing on Christmas too.

Even though my word count did not “win” it was by far my most successful NaNo yet. I wrote almost every day and my total count of 22,559 words was triple what I have achieved in the past. And I managed that with a toddler! (which means of course that my final output is the equivalent of about 100,000 words:)

Part of my success this year was due to the fact that I threw the “rules” out. I’ve always struggled with the idea of mapping out characters, plot lines, chapters etc. While I realize that some people thrive with that, it is way too formal and stifling for me. But, I wasn’t sure how else to do it. Then last spring, I went to see one of my favorite authors Diana Gabaldon talk at the Toronto Reference Library. She is funny, and strong and someone I think I’d really like to get to know. But of course I’m just a fan and had to settle for my 30 second rushed one-sentence to her while she autographed my book. What I learned from her talk though, and something that she reinforced in a Facebook post this week (in an excerpt from a book on writing that she will one day publish) is that not everyone writes the same way. In fact she writes in a non-linear way. Meaning that she starts with an idea and just writes about it, building that scene up until there is no more to write about it. Then she does the same with another scene. Eventually she figures out how to link the scenes together in a book.

I know that the very organized of you out there will be horrified, but to me it was an epiphany. So I wrote and wrote and wrote. I wasn’t stuck on how to start or how to introduce characters and plot. I just wrote about them. And some very interesting things popped up that I hadn’t planned. What fun writing finally in a style that works for me!

My book is nowhere near finished, but I keep going back to it to add more to the scenes or to add another scene. One day when it’s ready I will share details about it here, for now it’s a project that is energizing and fun.

Of course while my mind was focused on writing, I still had to function as a mom, and some days I did that better than others. Some days I like to borrow a term from A Diary of a Mom when I feel like a walking yardsale. You know like the day I sent my daughter to a movie with her friend with a gift card for the show. I was proud of myself for remembering to retrieve the card from the drawer where our gift cards go so that they don’t get lost, but then somehow enter a vortex where they are removed from our memories. What I hadn’t realized when I sent her with it was that somehow the card only had $0.11 on it. Doh! Thankfully the other mom covered my daughter’s shortage with a laugh. Guess I’m taking some kids to the theatre this weekend!

Yep that’s me! I think like most moms I’m barely keeping it together and doing my best to get everyone to where they need to be on time and with food, drink and money. And when we screw up–at least we have great friends who help us out!