Tag Archives: writing

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!

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Visions and Processes

Finally, my 11 month old has settled down for a nap that he fought for hours, and I have a few moments to compose my swirling thoughts into written words.

I wasn’t going to do a New Year’s resolution post, but I do have a vision of how I want 2014 to be, and I know that I will commit to it better if I actually put it here for everyone to see.

2014 has to be better than last year. 2013 started off with all the promise of a huge year for us. Our youngest was born at the beginning of February (in a rush too, coming in only 45 minutes!) and we were looking forward to a year of firsts. What we hadn’t expected was our first experience with complete tongue tie, then a deadly infection that hospitalized him for two weeks, then just a couple of weeks later, hospitalized him again. Then a bought of pneumonia in early July, and repeated colds and bronchitis. So strange in our family to be so sick and so horribly traumatizing to see your newborn subjected to medical interventions and a hospital stay, even though I never left him. (I haven’t stayed in a hospital since I was 5, and all three children were born at home.)

Our road trip to the east coast was postponed as we were too afraid to be away from our children’s hospital if he got sick again.

Our eldest, the one with autism, had a major regression that we are still puzzling over. Yes some of it may be due to the baby (even though our specialist says no) and likely some of it is due to the onset of puberty, but wow, it caught us off-guard and we are struggling with teachers and administration that have forgotten all the skills that we worked so hard to teach them five years ago.

We lost some people very dear to us too, within 8 days of each other, and our children got to experience their first funeral. I was hoping that they would have been much older for that particular rite of passage.

I closed a business that I had put my heart and soul into, but was burned out from.

To top it all off, we had the big ice storm, and while our home fared quite well, it caused some big stresses in unexpected places.

So 2013, I’m not sorry to see you go AND that is the end of my complaining about it.

2014, welcome to our lives. We have much work to do together you and I.

First, thanks to this insightful post I’m changing my language. I am removing the word “busy” from my stock answers when people ask me how things are going. I will answer with the truth and not an excuse.

And this post inspired me to refrain from making huge goals this year, but to instead create a process that I work on consistently. I will achieve more, feel successful on a daily basis and surprise myself when all my hopes are met.

This year’s processes include:
-Writing. Daily. Stop depending on my part-time job for time for meaningful writing and instead use that for bonus writing time.
-Attendance. Writing groups, and classes. I’ve already signed up for our local writer’s group monthly breakfast this weekend.
-Activity. Keep walking, keep doing exercises. Investigate and choose another class.
-Eating. Continue to enjoy food, just with more moderation and balance.
-Gratitude. Practise it daily.
-Sell. Articles. As many as I can write. Especially from our road trip this summer.

Looking at that list gives me satisfaction. Those are doable, achievable practises that will give me great pleasure. (and hopefully earn some money too).

Anyone else out there working on processes over crazy goals?