Sunday, November 24, 2013

So you think you can NaNo... Day 24, 2013

So you think you can NaNo? Well - clearly, I can't. I didn't write on Friday, and today I managed a whopping 376 words, making my total below par by approximately 1000 words. Currently I'm sitting at 39 006. There's a good chance I can catch up, but it might mean ignoring my family, my day job, and my hygiene. Let's hope it doesn't come to that!

Image from

Saturday, November 23, 2013

So you think you can NaNo... Day 23, 2013

I started the day out right, with 1 466 words, a little shy of the 1 667 goal, but I had other very important things to do. For instance, my good friend from high school, and business partner, is here for the weekend. She and her son deserve nothing but the best, so after writing, I whipped up a scrumptious breakfast of bacon and pancakes. Afterwards, we settled in for an afternoon of e-book formatting. Even the five boys lent a head, before disappearing to watch "Dr. Who".

All in all, a busy, but productive day. I would have liked to have made up for yesterday's nonexistent word count, but I know there's always tomorrow. At 38 630 words, I'm exactly where I need to be, which is better than past years, when I've scrambled to write 5000 everyday for the last week, just to "win" the prize. Of course, the prize is the knowledge that I can create a comprehensive, if messy, first draft of a novel that might one day find publication. 

As always - I remain optimistic. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

So you think you can NaNo... Day 21, 2013

This morning, I took my car in for a repair and met a friend for breakfast. It's such a treat to take time to sit, and leisurely enjoy a meal with someone else. We talk to each other nearly every day via Facebook and texts, but it's not the same as real-life contact. Sometimes, I think we don't make enough time for in-person activities. Too much is accessible on the internet... webinars, twitter chats, FB chats, texts, even Skype puts the filter of a computer screen between two people.

I think I might be missing the olden days... you know, back when we had to pull the phone cord around the corner to gain some privacy because not only was it attached to the wall in the kitchen, it was the only phone in the house. My mom used to "have coffee" several times a week with friends, in a house, while the children entertained each other. There was no stylish Starbucks or trendy Tim Hortons to meet up at. And Sunday was a family day. We'd all pile into the car and head out to Grandma's house where she would serve roast beast, mashed potatoes and pie. Only, for us, Grandma lives too far away, and our boys have too many activities that fill up Sundays to participate in such folly. These days, we're lucky if we have supper together at all.

As I'm writing this, knowing I'm about to publish it on the internet, I keep thinking that, in some ways, we're even more disconnected than we were when technology wasn't a part of our everyday. It's like we've given ourselves permission to be too busy to connect in person. Instead of "I'll call you", it's "I'll text you". Instead of "let's have a coffee", it's "I'll send you a picture on Facebook. And when we do call, or we do meet in person - we always say "we need to do this more often".

We're right, we do. At the very least, I do.

My days are far more productive when I interact with people face-to-face. Today I took my car to be fixed, had breakfast with a friend, scrubbed two bathrooms, did several loads of laundry, supervised the cleaning of the rest of the house, dropped off some donations to a local organization, wrote 1 664 words, edited another 2 500, and did my standard marketing. I didn't feel stressed, I wasn't rushed, and I didn't run out of energy.

It's possible that the luxury of working from home in pajamas has created an illusion of a stress-free work environment. The truth is, it's easy to fall into bad habits, forget to take breaks, take showers, and even take time for kids. No matter what - the work is always there. I tell myself it's okay to work in the evenings, because I sent a detailed email to my mom, I texted my girlfriend, and I shared a few links with my kids on Facebook (they're teenagers - they're allowed to have accounts). My world can wait for me to unplug because I've connected with everyone on the interweb... sort of... in 140 characters or less.

So... I need to make myself a promise. One that I can actually keep. I promise to eat dinner with my family as often as possible; I promise that while out for lunch or breakfast, I won't answer or look at my cell phone, especially if the notification is from Facebook or Twitter; and I promise to remember that connecting virtually is convenient, but it's not, and never will be, a replacement for connecting in person.

Oh - and my NaNoWriMo word count total is 37 164.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

So you think you can NaNo... Day 20, 2013

Today's NaNo attempt was a little less productive than usual. I only wrote 963 words, but I'm still ahead of the game with 35 500 words, so I'm not worried. Plus, my lack of productivity had nothing to do with motivation - I was just busy. After editing approximately 8000 words, connecting with a few book bloggers, running after kids, and fulfilling volunteer obligations, I simply ran out of time.

I know it's early... I'm not likely to turn into a pumpkin 9:15pm, but there's TV to watch, books to read for fun, and boys to tuck in. Plus - everyone deserves a break once in a while. So - tonight is my break - too bad I don't have a KitKat to enjoy it with.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

No you think you can NaNo... Day 19, 2013

Today is all about best laid plans and all that jazz.

This morning, I woke up planning to go to the gym. Instead, I spent the morning waiting for the pediatrician's office to call back with an appointment for my 13-year-old hockey star... so we could confirm a mild concussion. Then, I planned to email book bloggers - which I did - peppered with short bursts of writing - which I didn't do.

Our normal Tuesday night dinner of pasta, before taking the 12-year old-to diving, turned into a spontaneous Subway supper since the doctor's appointment ended up conflicting with the dinner-cooking time slot.

At the pool, the intention was to focus on the writing I didn't accomplish during the day. This is what happens when a mom is focused on her son executing an inward one and half dive from the three metre board...

The periods go on for about ten pages. I'm a little embarrassed to say that it happened more than once.

The funny thing is, despite the topsy-turvy day, I still managed to surpass my NaNo goal. While at the pool, I thought I might have squeezed out about a thousand words, when in reality, I wrote 1 862. It was like I was having my own private NaNoWriMo write-in, and didn't even know it. Finishing the day with a grand total of 34 537, I actually feel like I accomplished something.

Monday, November 18, 2013

So you think you can NaNo... Day 18, 2013

I've spent a few days whining, moaning, and generally lamenting the worth of my NaNo project, but it's possible I gave up hope too soon. After three writing sprints, I cranked out 2 244 words, bringing my NaNoWriMo total to 32 675 - not bad for a project that took a serious downward turn into pathetic.

All it needed was a dash of pizzazz, a pinch of weird, some character adjustments, and a reminder that some of the best pieces of art only exist because they started out as mistakes. I'm not say this book is a work of art - yet - I'm just saying that it's possible I might be able to salvage a few thousand or so words.

In other news, today was a usual busy Monday with editing (about 6000 words), marketing, running after kids, and meetings. I didn't find any cool cat pictures, or other bits of memorabilia to share, but I did find my confidence and determination to see this project to the end. And by the end - I mean the very end - which includes edits, and with any luck, publication.

image from

Sunday, November 17, 2013

So you think you can NaNo... Day 17, 2013

Well - I don't like my novel anymore than I did yesterday, but I'm plodding along, trying to make it work to some degree. At the very least, I should be able to say that I tried to breathe life into the thing, even if I can't completely revive it. After writing 1 760 words today, the book currently boasts 30 431 unusable words.

In addition to the writing, we continued to sort out the basement... and I found cat pictures!

When my husband and I first started living together (back in the dark ages, before digital cameras), we had the most beautiful, albeit not terribly friendly, beast of a cat. His name was Tristam - named pretentiously after Tristam Shandy. Unfortunately, he inadvertently tried to kill my youngest boy, so he spent his senior years living with another family. Even though we had visitation rights, I don't think he ever forgave us.

I keep saying that when the allergic children move out, I'm getting a cat. Of course, that's only to ensure they don't try to move back in. We're going to call that "tough love".

Saturday, November 16, 2013

So you think you can NaNo... Day 16, 2013

This morning, I wrote poolside. The only things missing were a tropical cocktail and the cabana boy to serve it. While my boy was diving, I racked up 1 779 words, and got to watch some pretty awesome skills too.

It's a good thing the words were done early, since the rest of the day was filled hockey, more hockey, and sorting through a couple of old bins in the basement. I found a few interesting items - one of which I was sure had been destroyed...

Thankfully - I don't know anyone who still has a machine to play this back, so it's all good.

My NaNo story is coming along nicely in word count -  28 671 words so far - but I'm beginning to think this will be one NaNo project that won't see publication. I know it's a rough first draft, and that editing will weed out the crap, but let's face it: not all novels are meant to be.

Friday, November 15, 2013

So you think you can NaNo... Day 15, 2013

I almost didn't do the NaNo today. My writerly fingers refused to obey, my imagination went into lock-down, and my motivation hid under my pillow, enticing me to take a nap.

But then, I realized there's no such thing as writer's block. Not really. So I trudged my way through the horrid desolation of my mind, forced my fingers to take action, and bribed my imagination with stinky chips and chocolate.

Image from

I finished later than I wanted to, but I did write 1 879 words, which brings my current total to 26 892. In the end, part of what motivated me was knowing that what I didn't do today - I would have to do tomorrow.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

So you think you can NaNo... Day 14, 2013

I'm officially over the halfway mark in my NaNo word count. Yay me! 1 984 words written today for a total of 25 013. That means I only have 24 987 words left to reach the 50 000. Of course, my novel will probably be closer to 70 000 when it's complete, but at least I'll have a solid start on it before the end of November.

The story is really starting to unfold, it's fun, a bit silly, and in some places... well - you'll just have to wait to read it once it's edited and published.

Image from rbgstock

Now... what will I do with the rest of my evening? I'm thinking a good book might be in order. One I didn't write.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

So you think you can NaNo... Day 13, 2013

Another successful NaNo day to brag about on my blog!

Except... I'm annoyed with the folks at NaNoWriMo. I started a thread to promote Morning Rain Publishing, but they pulled it.

Why would they do such a thing?

I have been an active NaNo participant for the past four years. I spend countless hours promoting the organization, and often encourage others to join. Before starting the thread, I read the rules, and was careful to place it in the appropriate forum section. Unfortunately, I'm not a forum frequenter. So, because I didn't comment or participate in another thread before starting one of my own,  I'm not allowed to join the Thread Creator Club. All I wanted to do was promote a small Canadian publisher who wants to help NaNo participants achieve their dreams, at no cost whatsoever.

I must be evil. 

I'm irked enough that I want to quit NaNo. I need to be convinced that promoting them is worth my time and energy.

In other news, I also got a lovely manicure today. It's fitting, because the design works with the whole Pinup Girl / Burlesque Dancer theme I have going on in my current project.

Image compliments of Spa Elegant Nails

Today's word count amounted to 1788, making the total to date 23 029

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

So you think you can NaNo... Day 12, 2013

There is nothing exciting to report today. I got up, I worked, I edited, I wrote, and I did not make dinner. Well - I tried to make dinner, but it helps if you put the food in the oven... so we ate leftovers. That's the highlight of an otherwise uneventful day. 

I typed up 1 731 words, for a total of 21 241. A rather acceptable writing day. 

Oh - one awkward thing did happen today, after I drafted the first half of this blog. While watching an episode of Supernatural (Season 5, episode 6 - I Believe the Children are Our Future), I had to explain to my 13-year-old why Dean had hairy palms. It was funny, but then, all of a sudden, not so much.

Image from    

Monday, November 11, 2013

So you think you can NaNo... Day 11, 2013

I'm still battling the plague. It's probably nothing more serious than a lingering cough, but it's interfering with my mojo. This morning I expected to hit the gym after three weeks of inactivity... instead, my body decided to cough up a lung, a pair of socks and a screwdriver - who knew there was so much stuff in there?

After driving my son to school and picking up some much-needed groceries, I headed home to start my writing and editing day. Waiting for me, in my email, was a reminder that I still had a school volunteer newsletter to complete - today - so it could go home with the kids in their report cards.

That done, I settled in to write my first 500 words of the day. I have discovered that if I break the writing into bite-sized bits, it doesn't feel so intimidating. Following the NaNo sprint, I edited 3000 words of a terrific epic fantasy novel, took care of some marketing, and then settled in to write another 500 words.

Those 500 words easily morphed into 1200 as one of my characters transformed into a beautiful black woman with attitude (she had previously been a blue-eyed blond). After that surprise, my characters launched into a weird and wonderful discussion - stemming from the presence of a fluffy white bunny - on monster erotica. There are a whole lot of fun times ahead in this book!

By suppertime, I had written 1738 words, which makes my NaNo total 19 510.

Image from

Sunday, November 10, 2013

So you think you can NaNo... Day 10, 2013

For a moment, I thought today was going to be a repeat of yesterday, minus the basement clean-out. Somehow, I managed to write my character into the kind of lingering depression that made me want to throw her out the window, just to shut her up. I'm writing a sequel to Money, Masks & Madness - the book is supposed to be all stuff and fluff, but I somewhere along the line I managed to take a wrong turn.

Lucky for me, and my MC, the day was broken up by a Remembrance Day parade and service, followed by a kid's hockey game. The break did us both a world of good, and I managed to introduce a plausible distraction, complete with a tiny romantic interlude...

Today's word count totaled 1722 words (not quite making up for yesterday's slump), and left me sitting pretty at 17 772 words. I'm not ahead, but I'm not behind, so it's all good.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

So you think you can NaNo... Day 9, 2013

Saturdays are for cleaning house, running after kids, and staying in pajamas as long as possible. They should also be for writing, but the writing groove didn't happen for me today. I did, however, manage to clean out a storage room in the basement that was beginning to look a lot like an episode of hoarders.

That was pretty much my day. Emptying bins, sorting through bits of my life that had been tucked away, and resenting that I had left it for so long. There were plenty of opportunities for writing breaks, but instead I chose to indulge in mindless rounds of "Candy Crush", and internet surfing.

I wrote a measly 1018 words, bringing my total to 16050. I know I'm still on target for completing the 50 000 words by November 30th, and I know that it's okay to have a less productive writing day, but I'm still a tiny bit disappointed.

I also wrote my character into a corner... and now I need to find a way to dig her out of her melancholy, before she ends up throwing herself off a bridge.

Friday, November 8, 2013

So you think you can NaNo... Day 8, 2013

Today was easy enough. I did some line edits, wrote some letters to book bloggers, and worked on my NaNo project. The sick boy is getting better - I'll miss the morning movie, and bowl of Hickory Sticks he discreetly places at my elbow while he munches on something yummy himself. It's a good thing he hasn't been dealing with a stomach bug.

My evening was a little bit different. I spent it at a NaNoWriMo Write In. Since I haven't been to one before, I had no idea what to expect. We were to bring little stuffed animals so people could identify us as NaNo participants. I couldn't decide which one to bring.

So I brought both...

The good thing about the write in was that I wrote... I wrote an extra 1000 words. The awkward thing - well, I didn't meet any other writers. Everyone there seemed to be studying physics.

Today's word count total was 2 582, which brings my NaNo total to 15 032.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

So you think you can NaNo... Day 7, 2013

This NaNo thing really isn't so bad. I cranked out 2032 words throughout the day, plus managed to do some laundry (when boys are complaining about laundry - you know there's a problem!), edited about 5000 words, prepared some snail mail, and was only marginally distracted by my (still sick) boy watching Pirates of the Caribbean - On Stranger Tides.

Today is the end of the first week of NaNo and I'm sitting pretty at 12 450 words. I'm hoping that when it comes time to edit, they will be 12 450 usable words.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

So you think you can NaNo... Day 6, 2013

I thought today would be the day I'd fall behind in word count. With one boy home sick, another one celebrating a birthday, a new water heater being installed, groceries to buy, and 7000 words to edit, I was pretty sure NaNo time wouldn't happen.

I was wrong. So very wrong.

Not only did I meet my word count goal for today, I exceeded it.

The target was 1667 words. I achieved 1852, which means I crossed over the 10K mark, and am sitting comfortably at 10 418. I'd say, today was a pretty good NaNo day.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

So you think you can NaNo... Day 5, 2013

Today I managed 1609 words for a grand total of 8566... not bad for day five, not bad at all.

I also managed to edit a few thousand words, write a few letters, and sneak in snuggles with my youngest, who now has the plague. We thought it had waved good-bye and left the house for good, but it turns out it snuck back in for hugs and kisses.

All in all, a rather boring, but productive day with nothing too exciting to report. The best distraction all day was watching bits of Men in Black. My favourite line? "Elvis isn't dead, he just went home."

And here is a random picture of my dog - because she's gorgeous and there are too many cat pictures on the internet.

Monday, November 4, 2013

So you think you can NaNo... Day 4, 2013

I'm on target because I'm awesome like that!

Of course, I have "word wars" and "writing sprints" with Jaclyn Aurore to thank for today's success.

Distractions included, but weren't limited to:

  • the refrigerator repair guy stopped in for a visit
  • not one, but two boys missed their buses today, and 
  • a short visit from a good friend. 

And then, there was this in the mail:

Hercules is a budgie... How he managed to send mail without using a carrier a pigeon is beyond me.

So - today's word count came to 1, 894, for a grand total of 6, 957 to date.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

So you think you can NaNo... Day 3, 2013

Today's NaNo distractions started with the raking of leaves and the shoveling of acorns in the backyard. The weather was too enchanting to spend the entire day inside at a computer, so family time and yard work took priority. 

When the work was done, my boys decided a little Animal Planet was in order, so they watched a documentary on Giant Squids while I worked away at my project, guilt-free. It was all going well until the show turned to the subject of squid sex. My twelve-year-old had a question, or two, or three...

When sex ed was done for the day, it was time to pack in the writing and head out to a volunteer meeting. Upon my return, there was dinner to cook, dishes to do and more words to write. 

By eight o'clock I managed to produce 2019 words for a grand total of 5063 words - putting me back on track for tomorrow. Yay me!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

So you think you can NaNo... Day 2, 2013

Today is Saturday. I was up early to take a boy to write a high school entrance exam. While out, I ran some errands, and then returned home to fit some writing in.

Albolene distracted me.

All I did was search Google for the name of a good stage makeup remover. Who knew it could also be used to melt away fat? You just slap it on the problem areas (tummy, butt, thighs), encase yourself in plastic wrap, do your exercises, and presto... the pounds dissolve. It must be true. I saw it on YouTube.

This fascinating research was interrupted by a PeeWee hockey game (my boy's team won 3:2 - yay), followed by a quick nap (I think I might be battling the plague - more on that another day), and then a delicious supper made by my hubby (because I was busy napping).

Today's goal was 1600 words... I managed 1382. This gives me a grand total of 3044. It's still early, but I promised my boys we'd watch a movie as a family, and that means no computers, no notebooks, and no cell phones.

Friday, November 1, 2013

So you think you can NaNo... Day 1, 2013

Like many writers, I'm participating in NaNoWriMo. I don't have grand aspirations to actually complete a full-length novel, but I do hope to have at least 50 000 usable words by the end of the month.

Did I achieve my word count goal of 1600 words? - Of course I did.
Did I do it before noon. No - I did it the hour before midnight.

Instead, I spent the day looking for distractions.

I wrote book reviews, edited minutes from a meeting, uploaded family pictures to Facebook, cleaned the kitchen, and researched some interesting topics. One of which was how to remove pasties.

Every NaNo day brings something new. Today, it was all about Goo Gone, apparently, it's good stuff.

Tah-tah for now, my friends. I'll check back in tomorrow with more titillating bits about NaNo.