About this time last week I was contemplating the wonder that is NaNoWriMo. I participated last year for the first time. Though I did not reach the 50,000 word goal, I did get a solid 35K or so in, enough to complete a novella that ultimately became part of my first novel ALIGNED. That novella helped me re-frame the entire structure and focus of the work. It was the missing element I needed to propel that work into something better.

I didn’t start NaNoWriMo for the writing discipline and practice, I already do a good job with that on my own, but the month long session did force me to up my production to a higher level than normal. My average word count hovers around 2,500 words per week. It was fun to push myself and see the results. To try and hit between 1,600 and 2,000 words per day. In some ways, I do think that NaNoWriMo encourages the elimination of the inner writing critic so the writing is raw and has a ton of energy. On the flip side, what I wrote was a big, hot mess. Revision isn’t even really the word for what I did to that novella. It was more than that. It was deconstruction.

Anyway, so I shipped off RIDING THE BLIND to beta readers in October, and though I have been getting some feedback already, I’ve decided to let that novel rest until all the comments and suggestions have been received, mulled over and processed. I’ve accepted this next round of revision might have to wait a few months. While I’ve been waiting (anxiously, if you will pardon my use of an adverb here – but is there any other way to wait for feedback on your novel?) I realized that in the vortex of revision I’ve gotten little new writing done. As the last days of October faded away I thought, “November. I can start one of those new novels I’ve been pondering!”

So, I signed up for NaNoWriMo again, logged in my idea and set out. The novel is tentatively titled DISSONANCE and the description would be: doomed love. The structure I have in mind flashes around in time and character, so I thought this vignette sort of approach would be perfect for a marathon month of writing. Short sweet puzzle pieces I can fashion together later.

Here is my first sentence:

“I hate Chicago.”

Catchy, no?

I’m 3,000 words in now, but it is day six. A variety of factors are at work thwarting me right now, and I’d be foolish to ignore these signs:

1. I’m eight months pregnant. My blood pressure is unstable and I don’t feel well. My energy is low. My feet and hands are really swollen. Picture, if you will, fingers that look like plump little sausages – stretching their casing. Typing for more than 30 minutes is painful. Writing longhand is impossible.

2. I have a two year old little boy (soon to be three). He has experienced a string of difficult days. No naps, temper tantrums, the works. It takes every ounce of my energy to keep up with him and try to navigate his recent uneven moods. Is this sign related to #1? Is the prospect of a new baby sister becoming real to him and causing him to act out? I’m not sure, but either way, it has been a hard couple of days.

3. My husband is out of town. So #1 and #2 are things I need to manage on my own.

So, a serious NaNoWriMo effort will need to wait until next year. I’m still going to work on DISSONANCE. I’ve sketched out some scenes and ideas about the characters. There is something both really fascinating and complicated about this project. So, maybe it’s better that I need to take it slow. No worries. To all you working on a November novel, good luck! I’m with you in spirit, I just wish my fingers could keep up.

2 thoughts on “Signs

  1. Hey, I have a poem called “Dissonance”! Which isn't really all that surprising considering our other freakish synchronicities.

    Wish I could come over to bring you tea and distract Thomas for a little while. He probably is acting out his anxieties, both about becoming a big brother and his beloved mama's not feeling her best. When he's at his grumpiest, try to picture how heart-meltingly beautiful he'll look playing with his new baby sister—and if that doesn't work, try to picture how heart-meltingly beautiful your fingers will feel after they return to manageable keyboarding size.

    Miss and love you. And though you probably don't need me to tell you this, let me just remind you how amazing you are, my lovely novel-writing, son-raising, daughter-carrying, actually-able-to-complete-a-knitting-project-ing friend.


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