Friday, November 19, 2010

I Can't Do It

Apparently, self-imposed deadlines like NaNoWriMo, where nothing is at stake but my confidence and pride, aren't enough motivation for me. Especially when I can say I accomplished something, even if it isn't the 50,000 words necessary to "win" NaNo this year. Instead of slogging along, writing for the sake of word count, I'm going to start editing the first Tallulah Blue story and gathering ideas for the next and the next.

Because you guys are so supportive all the time (thank you!), I know you're not going to beat me up about this, and don't worry, I'm not beating myself up about it either. I'm proud of what I accomplished. NaNo was good for me this year, even if I didn't win. Maybe next year, I'll go into it even more prepared and get to the end. Maybe not. We'll see. Next year, you do it with me?


And while we're on the topic of writing (not that I write about anything else these days), please visit Shannon's blog ( She's got this cool anonymous critique thing going on where writers can post their work anonymously and we can give feedback in the comments. She posted her first volunteer yesterday (it's not me). Check it out!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


NaNo word count: 26,033. I'm a little behind the NaNo suggested word count and quite a bit behind where I'd like to be, but I'm on track and can totally get caught up. Apparently I'm not good at writing from beginning to end because today I had an idea about how to add some conflict to my first Tallulah story so I just started writing that one again. The second one is completely tension free, too, which is why I flaked out, I think, but hopefully my brain is working on that behind my back and will surprise me with an awesome tension-filled gift of an idea. Come on, brain! I love surprises!! Please don't make me wait until Christmas.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Not a NaNo Day

Maybe I'll feel inspired later, but this morning, all I could muster was about 1,000 words for a total of 23,814. What I'm writing now isn't working for me. It is meandering and without tension. Do you think it would be okay to completely change direction again? I am definitely not writing anything beginning to end here. My best hope, I think, is that I will have enough material when December rolls around to patch together a couple of editable pieces, kind of like a Frankenstein's monster kind of thing, only prettier and for children.

Maybe I'll get away from the computer and try to write a sort of outline...

Friday, November 12, 2010

NaNoWriMo, Day 12

Word total? 12,599. Next time I write, which will probably be Monday, I'll be halfway there! Appropriate, considering that Monday is the 15th...

I suppose I could have written one more word to make the total round, but I'm enjoying the uncertain, teetering-on-the-edge-ness of the 99. It's satisfying. Not comforting. Just satisfying.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Maybe I AM a Writer!

Those of you who write for a living or who haven't just recently discovered your creativity in a dusty shoe box under the bed (so, like, all 4 of you?) probably won't be impressed by this, but I found it thrilling and so I'm going to share.

Yesterday the family and I piled into the car and went to the mall in search of Pants for Pete. On the way home, a story started writing itself in my head. It seemed to have potential so I took a moment to get the first few sentences down when we got home. Then, since Lulu had fallen asleep in the car and Pete had gotten right into her jammies and watched TV with Husbandguy and I wasn't needed for anything, I kept writing. All the way to the end! Guys! I haven't done that in years, just sat down and written a story from beginning to end.

Of course, the story is terrible. Everything I write is terrible and rough at first, but it was (like I said) thrilling to come away from the computer with more than just another idea. And it's good in its terribleness with all the potential and everything.


So you know, I may or may not have time to increase my NaNoWriMo word count today. Everyone is home from school/work, and our drains stopped draining this morning (a thing which may or may not be the result of an absentminded mistake on my part) so NaNo might not get Wri-en today. It's okay. I have the whole rest of the Mo.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 10

Hi. I'm running out of interesting things to share about my NaNo adventure so I'll just tell you my word total and then share something cute that happened in the car this morning.

Word total: 20,103. (woohoo!)

Cute thing: Lulu was singing a sweet song she learned in RE (religious education - it's like Sunday school without the Jesus - unless they're studying Christianity...). I don't remember the words, but after singing it about 14 times she asked Husbandguy to sing with her. Because he's a stick-in-the-mud man engineer, he said he'd rather just listen. She told him that he didn't have to do the hand motions, he could just sing. I was driving and commented that I didn't realize there were hand motions, that I couldn't see them since I was driving.

Next thing I knew, Lulu was singing again, and in my rear view mirror I could see tiny hands doing the hand motions to go along with her song. Awww...

My monkey has always been a problem solver.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


17,588! Whew! This is fun.

I have to admit that today I just stopped writing the first story and moved on to the second. The first one doesn't really have an ending, but I know that it is finished and will figure out how when the writing is done. Does that make sense? There wasn't any more to write about Detective Tallulah so I just stopped. I've moved on to Tallulah planning Thanksgiving, which is again based a little on real life. My monkey provides me with great material! Thanks, monkey!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

NaNo Day 8

I didn't write over the weekend and I spent the morning at Lulu's school reading with 4 & 5 year-olds so I'm not as much ahead as I was, but I'm still getting there.

My Day 8 word count is 14,295.

I'm 800 words short of where I'd like to be today, but I can make that up in a day of focused writing. What I wrote today is just awful, but it moves the story forward.

What I learned today:
  • The quality of my writing will apparently vary immensely from day to day, but I remember that that is what editing is for.
Now you say, "Duh. Didn't you already know that?"

Nobody commented on my excerpt...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Day What? Day 5 Already?! (an excerpt for you!)

Today when I emerged from my NaNo daze at 12,634 words, I felt like skipping. Yesterday I mentioned the many-branched growth that is my NaNo word collection, and which I was uncertain would yield anything coherent. Remember? I was asking myself how my character would go from being left behind in her classroom to being sent home sick to taking a trip to the mall with her mother to finding a mystery to solve, and today the mystery presented itself. The Good Dad side of Husbandguy showed up in my text today and solved that problem for me. Here's a taste:

Ducking down behind the arm of the couch, Tallulah pulled out her magnifying glass and peered at her father. He was blurry so she stood up just a little and looked closer. He still didn’t seem to notice her. Whatever was on the news must have been very interesting. Tallulah held her magnifying glass over his arm and peered closely at the hairs there. Then she made another “cursive” note in her notebook. Standing up more, Tallulah peered at her father’s ear. Ears look weird close up, she thought. He still didn’t notice her.

“Hmmm…” Tallulah said, squatting down to write in her notebook again. Then she stood back up to look at her father’s ear some more and was surprised to find his eye where his ear should be.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” he said loudly and suddenly.

“AAAAA!” Tallulah was startled. She fell backward onto the floor, dropping her notebook. Her father laughed. “Daddy!” she said. “Did you know I was there?”

“I did,” he confessed. “What are you doing looking in my ear? And where did you get that hat and the magnifying glass?”

“From Mommy,” Tallulah answered. She picked up her things and climbed up on the couch next to her father.

He took her notebook from her and looked at it. “I can’t read this!” he declared. “Is it some sort of code? What did you write about my ear?”

“It’s cursive?” Tallulah said. “Duh?”

“Oh. Cursive?” her father said, taking her magnifying glass and looking again at Tallulah’s notebook. “I see… Well, I still can’t read it. You better not have said anything bad about me in there.” He tried to look stern, but Tallulah could see that his eyes were laughing.

“Of course not!” Tallulah told him. “You’re Daddy!” She took her magnifying glass back and looked at him through it. “I’m a detective. Detective Tallulah! Do you need any mysteries solved?”

Tallulah’s father raised his eyebrows. “Mysteries? Hmm… I don’t know… Are you a good detective?”

“Yes!” Tallulah declared. She told him about discovering the way the pictures in her books were made and the dirt on the counter at the mall and the sales lady’s giant eyeball, but she didn’t know if that counted as a mystery. “So?” she said to him. “Any mysteries? You can hire me!”

“Hire you? I don’t know. How much do you charge?”

Tallulah hadn’t thought about that. “I’m free!” she announced.

“Free? I think I can swing that,” her father said. “Although you won’t make much money if you solve all your mysteries for free.”

“Good point,” Tallulah said. “The first mystery is free… Then after that…” She thought about it and said, “After the first one, it costs eight thousand dollars!”

“Wow!” her father exclaimed. “That’s steep! You must be good. I hope I don’t need more than one mystery solved.”

“Steep?” Tallulah asked.

“Expensive,” her father said.

“Okay, maybe not that much. Let me think about it. The first one’s free…” she coaxed.

“Right!” her father said. “I know just what mystery I need solved.”

Tallulah took out her notebook and flipped over the top page to a blank one. “Go ahead,” she said, her pencil ready to write.

“When I got home today after work, I changed my clothes like I do every day,” Tallulah’s father said. Tallulah didn’t think this part needed to be written down so she waited. He continued, “I took off my shoes and my work socks, which are black, and I went to the bathroom.” Tallulah still didn’t hear a mystery so she still waited to write. “When I came back from the bathroom,” her father concluded, “one of my socks was gone from where I had left it on the bed. Can you help me find it?”

There was the mystery! Tallulah wrote in her notebook with real letters this time. She wrote, FIND DADYS BLAK SOK. “Got it!” she said, jumping down from the couch. Then she stopped. This was a real mystery. She wasn’t sure where to start.

“What’s wrong?” her father asked.

She didn’t want him to think she couldn’t solve his mystery so Tallulah said, “Nothing. I’m thinking.”

“Okay,” her father said. “Good plan!” He smiled at Tallulah and then went back to watching the news. “Let me know when you find my sock.”

“You’ll be the first to know when I solve your mystery,” Tallulah answered.

It's cute, right? Remember, it's very raw, completely unedited, permission-to-suck stuff, but it gives my story some continuity. I was pleased. This is good. And it helps that I know how her search is going to go and made a big bold note of it at the end of my document, since chances are good that I won't get much time for writing this weekend. I'll have a starting place on Monday.

I'm a little concerned about something new, though. What if my story is finished before I reach 50,000 words? It's for elementary age children, just starting to read chapter books, like a Junie B. Jones sort of thing. I looked it up, and it seems that 50,000 words is actually about 10 JBJ books! Hmm...

So today's lessons:
  • Keep writing. It does work itself out in the end.
  • Keep writing, even if you end up with 4 or 5 books in the end (that's my answer to my new concern)!
Are you using my lessons for inspiration? Just wondering...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 4 Word Total: 10,188!

I'm all caught up! I'm all caught up!

And I managed to write 3,000+ words in spite of laundry and lunch out with Husbandguy! Go me!!

What I learned today? Good question...
  • I guess I learned that it really is important to just write. If you get hung up on the fact that your story seems to have too many branches going out in all different directions, you might use that as an excuse not to write it, but if you just go with it, one of 2 things will happen: either they'll all come together in the end into a beautiful tree that children will want to climb while their parents picnic in the shade or they'll just keep going awry until you've got a gangly, precarious mess of text that may or may not be useless. NaNoWriMo is about that, I think! It's called Permission to Suck. For real.

I Wrote this Yesterday

Old Mother Befrigerator (<-- that's me)
Went to the refrigerator
To pack her sweet girls some lunch.
But there was no more
So she went to the store
And and bought yummy things to munch.

It's okay for you to groan out loud. You won't hurt my feelings. I will confess to muttering, "Ouch," after I wrote it. I will not confess to using a rhyming dictionary to come up with the 4th line. That is a nasty and unfounded rumor!

What I learned yesterday for NaNoWriMo:
  • Everyday things are going to take time away from my writing, but I can still sit for an hour and get something done.
Day 3 Word Count: 7,044!

That puts me a little behind, but as soon as I throw the whites in the machine, I'll be getting caught up. I am hoping to top 10,000 today...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Explore This Feeling with Me

Recently, I've been thinking it would be nice to have another baby.

WHAT?! you say. We thought you were done having babies?

I am. For a couple of reasons. Husbandguy and I really feel like our family is complete. Two children is enough for us. You know? Also, when I had Lulu, I told the doctor (12 dozen times) that yes, indeed, I was certain I wanted my tubes tied. So having another baby would not be a simple and natural thing for us anymore. We would really have to want it and it could end up being expensive and ultimately possibly disappointing.

This last is the thing that is keeping me level-headed about all of this. I realize that I don't actually want another baby. I remember that I loved being pregnant both times (I was very lucky to have easy pregnancies) and I adore those sleepless nights with a newborn who can be soothed by simply swinging on your shoulder while you talk on the phone or in your arms while you doze in the rocker or across your chest while you wash dishes. I wouldn't mind another chance to try nursing again. Third time's the charm, right? But as wonderful as all of these things are, we made the choice 4 years ago to not go through it again. We had good reasons (beyond not being outnumbered), and they are still very valid.

So what's the deal? Why the feeling?

The answer to that question is found, I believe, in my reaction to Pete struggling to find motivation at school earlier this year. I told her that if she didn't shape up and take some responsibility, I was going to pull her out of the school she's been going to for the past 5 years and home school her.

Ah Ha! you say. Right? No? Nobody? Okay then. Here it is:

This whole empty nest thing is getting to me! It's lonely here without my little monkey. For 4 years I had at least one child with me most of the time, learning, laughing, whining, pestering, making crafts, making messes, just generally amazing me every day. And even when Lulu started preschool and both girls were gone, it was only for a few days a week for a few hours at a time, barely enough time to do a load of laundry, let alone feel lonely!

Here I am now with all this time for writing and introspection and housework, things I've wished I had time for for years (well, maybe not the housework). And I'm loving the writing part of it. So far it's like being pregnant was for me - a little uncomfortable at times, but mostly easy, with the joy of something growing in spite of me (but absolutely not inside of me). The housework hasn't quite figured out how to fit itself into my schedule - if my housework was Pete's school work, we'd be home schooling. But the introspection! Oh man! I have never talked to myself this much ever, I don't think. At least not since I was 5. And I suspect that 5 year-old me was way more interesting than 36 year-old me is. Yikes!

Seriously. Yikes!

It's good, though, that I see this urge for what it is. It's good, too, that I get how difficult it would be to act on it anyway. It's also good that I confessed my feelings to HG because maybe, just maybe, instead of a baby, I can get a laptop and get out of this place and write somewhere else.

Laptops are less expensive than babies.


On another note:

My Day 2 NaNoWriMo word count is 5,021. A good solid number. More than halfway to the point where I gave up 2 years ago. At this rate, I will reach and surpass the dreaded 10,000 word mark before the weekend!

What I learned today:
  • Full credit for this lesson goes to Charmaine over at Wagging Tales. In her Day 2 post, she reminded us that making changes to text already written wasn't a good idea time-wise and suggested that we simply make the change going forward and make a bold note of it so we can retrofix it later (that word works, right?). For example, I realized today that the character I had been calling Abigail for the past 4 pages was actually named Iris. I had written Abigail so many times, though, that to go back and change all the occurrences would have taken a lot of time and completely interrupted the flow of my writing. Instead, I made a note to myself right in the text that said, "ABIGAIL'S NAME IS ACTUALLY IRIS" and went on with the story using the name Iris. And what I learned is that I should visit Wagging Tales every day before I start writing. Thank you, Charmaine.

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo Day 1

I almost forgot that today was the first day of NaNoWriMo! Luckily I remembered in plenty of time to drag myself away from whatever mind numbing waste of time I was doing in time to knock out 2000+ words before Husbandguy got home for lunch.

Today I learned:
  • My audience is even younger than I thought.
  • Lulu's adventures do translate into cute stories.
  • Today I am able ignore the little voice in my head that says, "This is too terribly simple. That character should have a name. You should go back and write what she was feeling right now instead of going on. Etc." Turns out there's another voice in my head that knows those things can wait.
  • If I get to write every day, I will need to write 1700 words a day to win NaNoWriMo. Since I don't get a lot of time to write on the weekends, I am shooting for closer to 2500 words a day. Today it was easy. Tomorrow?
  • The NaNo website is busy at 1:30 in the afternoon on Day 1.
Oh hey! How was your Halloween? Me? I'm glad it's over. Halloween is my least favorite holiday. Followed closely by Valentine's Day (that was the day I was diagnosed with MS, but I still like to make cards for my girls).
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