Writing is my present to me

CandleHolder

Christmas is coming and I’m in full present production mode! However, the writing must go on.
 
Now that the post-Thanksgiving cold has finally begun to abate, I’m back to adding to my NaNoWriMo novel, Unprepared. It’s a lot slower going than during NaNoWriMo, I only added 400 words at lunch today, but I’ll keep chipping away at it until it is done.
 
What is Unprepared about? When an agricultural engineering professor loses his wife and daughter to a bioengineered virus, he also loses his will to live but he may be one of the few people who can put his town back together again when it’s all over.
 
The book picks up when a quarantine goes into effect. The powers that be at first believed they were dealing with a particularly virulent flu pandemic, possibly bioengineered. However it is clear that it is even worse than that. They are losing people quickly and towns are soon isolated, dealing with their own disasters.
 
It’s amazing sometimes the ideas that come to light when I’m writing fast. This novel includes: chicken broth, a backhoe, biogas accelerating enzymes, Albuterol inhalers, and an inverter.
 
I’m looking forward to saying this draft is done.
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NaNoWriMo: A Work in Progress

 

November is National Novel Writing Month #NaNoWriMo and I am solidly embroiled in writing my novel, “Unprepared.”
“Unprepared” is about a professor of agricultural engineering. When he loses his wife and daughter during a pandemic, he loses his will to live but he may be one of the few people in his town capable of helping his community survive and thrive.
I’m at 22,398 words, as of the writing of this post. I’ve been shooting for 2,000 words a day though the goal of NaNoWriMo is only 50,000 words in one month, which amounts to about 1,667 words per day. (Plus, I’ve started this novel every year for the last two years so I have 85 pages in a separate file put aside.)
I get up every morning and try to get 20 minutes of writing in before I leave for work. I can get another 20 minutes in during my lunch time. Then, I get another 20 minutes after dinner. Now, if I’ve been researching and thinking about the story during my drive to and from work so that I’m ready to write, that’s enough to get about 2,000 words in.
So far it’s going really well. Some words are better than others but it’s important to have words so you can edit. The research on this has been more in depth than anything I’ve written so far – learning about town water systems, waste treatment, and Comprehensive Emergency Management Plans. Cornell University’s web site has been a HUGE help.
I can’t wait to be able to say this novel is drafted!

Unwinding the Brain

I love to write but sometimes I need to give my brain a break. Coloring and Sudoku are a couple of my ways to do that. What are yours?

 

Coloring

Finding Your Best Time To Write

ManageYourDayToDay

 

I’ve been pondering how to find time to write, and my best time to write. I guess we all struggle with that. For me, the demands of being a mom with a full-time job and a long commute make it hard to get any time in, let alone my best time.

For me, part of it is just staying in that creative part of my brain. I frequently refer to this as story brain, keeping the story I’m working uppermost in my brain as I go throughout the day, focused on the story even though I’m doing other things.

Sometimes I worry that doing that makes me less present in my life but I can clearly remembering sitting in my camp chair outside this summer while my daughter played on her swing set and I wrote in my journal, both recording the moment and coming up with a piece of the short story I was writing. So maybe it isn’t staying in story brain but just creative mode. It definitely feels different from normal, going about the routine of the day, brain.

Another part is scheduling. My husband gave me a book for Christmas that he heard about on the Chiot’s Run organic blog, Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind. It’s a collection of essays on the topic, edited by Jocelyn K. Glei. I’ve started reading a bit of it every day. Just the simple admonishment to do the thing that is most important first in your day instead of trying to get all the other little things out of the way first, is so obvious and yet counter to my typical thinking.

I can definitely say that I’m actually a morning person. Oh, not that I want to get up in the morning, but when I do get up early, in the neighborhood of six o’clock, I find myself feeling better and being so much more productive. When my daughter was going to sleep at midnight and getting up at 9 am with her father, I couldn’t do that. I was lucky to get myself to work on time. I love having my husband on first shift because it means I can get to bed earlier and get up at 6 am. I know it won’t last but I’m loving it and plan to make the most of it.

My challenge then is to make time for the morning pages (doing The Artist’s Way with a workshop group) and then write creatively. I can get up and do the morning pages then write in my head on the way to work and just use the voice recorder to catch anything I’ve worked through enough in my head to bother recording. That’s my best plan so far. Otherwise, I’m just going to have to write at night, which is fine but it’s definitely not my best time to write or my most creative. I’ll just have to edit more.

What are your challenges? How do you get your writing in? What’s your best time to write?