A few years ago, NaNoWriMo was complicated by an emergency trip from Vermont to North Carolina because my father was going to have yet another heart surgery, and we were afraid he wasn’t going to pull through. (He did, thankfully, and is still a grumpy old man today.) I still won that year, reaching the 50k goal in spite of the interruption in regular life.
In hindsight, those two weeks might have been more helpful than disturbing. Yes, my life was upturned, but because I had to make the trip, I also had to make arrangements for a lot of other things in my life. Hubby shortened his work hours and our babysitter stepped up her time to take care of the kids. I was staying with my old friends Dan and Geri (Geri is my BFF and she often edits for me. Dan is one of my favorite consultants for everything sciency. See the dedication below) so I wasn’t cooking or taking care of kids or any of a million other things. I was driving between Dan and Geri’s house and my parents’ place and the hospital, but I had the luxury of knowing that, for better or worse, things back home were being taken care of. My brain could be occupied with my father’s problems, and that also left room for my NaNo novel. I did a lot of writing sitting in the quiet family area near his hospital room.
Other years I won simply because I put my all into it. A couple of times I did a lot of prep work ahead of time, such as finding character inspirations, outlining (loosely) and making crock-pot dinners ahead of time that I could freeze. For the most part, I was able to leave my OCD brain in novel-mode and put everything else in my life into background mode. Yes, I had kids and other life-stuff to juggle, but my brain was mostly on NaNoWriMo. I had the luxury of the mind that my basic needs were met and I could concentrate on what I chose.
This year is different. Besides the election, which has been stressful for the entire country, I have more than the usual difficult life issues going on right now. I’m also juggling other writing commitments, namely putting out a new story in The Cities of Luna every month and a new chapter in Tumbleweed every week. Ideally, I would have prepped not just this month’s story (Space Hipster) but the next one or two ahead of time. Unfortunately, the cushion I keep in my work schedule has been eaten up by the transition from Vermont to Colorado and the unexpected difficulties that came with it.
My ROW80 goals are somewhat on track because I’ve done SOME writing almost every single day. But it’s not always on my NaNo Novel, and it’s usually far less than the daily quota I need. My total word count is barely over 2k, and we’re more than a week in. 2k should be my daily count, not weekly.
I have faith that I can catch up. I’m improving every day, in spite of setbacks that inevitably happen with life in general. It just means that it is a lot more work, exponentially more work, than it has been in the past.
Meanwhile, although I don’t have Space Hipster ready yet and it needs to go up next week, I did publish a short-short called Taco Tuesday. It’s about a BMX star filming a commercial on the Moon. It’s free on Smashwords, and hopefully will soon be free on Amazon and other sites.
From THE SQUIRRELS ARE BACK IN THE ATTIC
For Geri. BFF, editor extraordinaire, listener of late-night rants, braider of hair and the scariest manic-chipmunk lady you never, ever want to cross.
Thank you for being there for me every single time I need you, and for occasionally lending me your husband’s brain.