NaNoWriMo Recap and the Creative Order

November was National Novel Writing Month, and I signed up for the challenge to write 50,000 words of my novel in 30 days. I will go ahead and say that I did not reach this goal, but I did come away with solid foundation for my novel (almost 8,000 words), which is a lot farther along than I was a month ago!

Lather, rinse, write!

One of the reasons I fell so far from my goal was that I picked up more freelance work a lot faster than I expected… and I’m not going to complain about that! I’m committed to my novel, but paid work has to come first. And, well, Jed really comes first. I’m learning to make myself write in the off-peak hours: when Jed’s at school, nighttime and weekends. These are not necessarily my most creative times, but beggars (and stay-at-home moms) can’t be choosers. I get my best ideas when I’m driving or in the shower.  I’m thinking of getting those bath crayons to use on the tile for my après shampoo brain bursts. And once when I was on the highway and had one of my revelations, I left an all too bizarre message on a friend’s voicemail. Luckily, she’s a writer, too, and wasn’t scared off by a message that involved late night greased-up twister and a has-been, almost famous rockstar. (Cell phone companies really need to allow you to leave yourself messages!).

I wish I would’ve pushed myself harder to meet my NaNoWriMo goal, but am happy that my excuses are positive ones. Hey, if I write 8,000 words a month, I’ll still have a first draft of my novel finished in five months! Not too shabby. It’s just a matter of balancing my “free” time between my novel, my freelance projects, housework and Jed. And I would like to squeeze in a workout or two every now and then. I hate schedules, but I think some sort of order is in order.

Do you stay at home? Work from home? How do you manage your time?

Advice for the working woman.

Just because I’m gainfully unemployed doesn’t mean I don’t have pearls of wisdom to offer you working women out there. Actually, this was something a friend emailed me three years ago when I was having a bad day at work. It made me snarf my latte.

I turned it into a post on a short-lived blog, and being that it’s NaNoWriMo time (made my goal today!), I’ll be re-posting a few gems from those days this month. If you were one of my tens of readers in 2008-09 when I blogged as Emily Postal, we can relive the glory days together:)

Originally posted September 25, 2008:

I emailed a close friend this morning, bitching about my job. I do that a lot. Her reply:

Here is a what I recommend…have fun with your job.  Listen to weird Indian music off your laptop and NEVER cover your mouth when you sneeze in the workplace…eventually they will promote you to an office!  I frequently have a contest with myself to see how far I can roll my chair away from people speaking in meetings…last week I made it into the hallway before someone asked what I was doing.  I told them I needed to toot.

Keep it light and have fun.

What are your working girl pearls of wisdom?

Preparing for NaNoWriMo

I once heard awhile back that when asked what their dream job was, a whopping 40 percent of people replied it was to write a bestselling novel. Being one of those 40 percent, I find this both staggering and overwhelming, but I take solace in the fact that:

1) I am actually a writer, and

2) that number has dwindled since the reality TV epidemic (it always surprises me how many people in this world want to be famous for doing absolutely nothing)

Since I lost my job, I have been backpatted and assured by friends and repeatedly by my husband and mom (love you guys!) that something bugger and better is out there for me. It was meant to be. So call it coincidence, but less than 10 days after my last issue went to press, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) begins.

I’ve been thinking about doing this for awhile, and have been thinking about my novel for even longer. So last night, I took the plunge and signed up! Now, with an update on Facebook and this blog post, I am accountable to my “Friends” and the blogosphere to give it my all. The goal is to crank out 50,000 words in one month. They say last year out of 200,000 participants, 30,000 saw this to completion. I’m guessing that even with my “full-time job” of job hunting, the occasional freelance gig and watching Jed, that I have way more free time to take this on than most who take on this challenge.

It’s all about quantity, not quality, which will be a challenge in and of itself. I’m a harper. I can linger and obsess over a single phrase for hours. But this contest will force me to just keep going, get it out on “paper”, and deal with the editing later — a whole new approach for me. I’ve done a little research in the past 24 hours and it turns out there are two types of NaNoWriMos: those who thoroughly prepare with charts, graphs, character sketches and color-coded Post-its… and those who don’t. Being that I’m throwing my hat in the ring at the eleventh hour, I fall in the second category… what they call the “pantsless” approach. I learned all about it from a fellow pantsless writer here (thanks, Amber!). Totally made me feel better to know I’m not the only one flying by the seat of my pants (or lack thereof). Plus, Asheville seems to have a great NaNoWriMo community with write-ins twice a month where you can get together with others and simply write. While those meet-ups are all about writing, I’m also secretly excited about getting to know other writers in the area as all of my writer friends are scattered across the country.

This probably means my posts here in November will be short but they will be.

Anyone else writing a novel or taking on the literary Everest that is NaNoWriMo? How are you preparing for it?