In which I mention pot and my mother can't believe I actually POST this stuff on the INTERNET
Gifts

Brought to you by stubborn determination to update the blawg no matter WHAT

There are some days when I feel like a Successful Parent and then all the other days, by which I mean Pretty Much Every Single Day, when I wouldn't exactly recommend my parenting techniques. Like this morning when Molly was screaming bloody murder and I had no idea what her deal was and after a half hour of Incessant Scream I just started screaming back. That was about as effective as it sounds. But I didn't know what to do. I couldn't even put her in her bed to get all her screamies out because Jack was still sleeping and everyone knows you don't wake Jack up unless a dinosaur is about to stomp on the house or something.

But it sounds like Seattle mothers were in God's favor today - all the friends I spoke to today were in mild states of shock over how late their kids were sleeping. ALL of them. Was it leftover effects of Daylight Savings Time? The fact that it was a beautiful glorious morning and we'd all had the foresight to send our little beasties out for tiring exercise? Did God hear our collective cries for relief? I love my babies, I really really do, but I loved them even more after a three-and-a-half hour nap.

I had my house professionally cleaned last Thursday, but it hasn't even been a week and you'd never know it. I still haven't returned about half the emails I told myself I needed to send this weekend. The results of my online shopping spree have started arriving on my doorstep, and now my dining table and kitchen counter are littered with packing materials and cardboard boxes. Some nights I don't bother putting the toys away - this is one of those nights. And I opened the bag of chocolate chips because all the good Halloween candy is gone. I feel like I need a do over.

On the other hand, I've written over 10,000 words for NaNoWriMo. I am not saying these are GOOD words, but they are generally coherent and form sentences and follow most grammatical rules. I've given myself a nice cushion for week two which I've heard referred to as "a creative wasteland" and "when you consider sticking your head in the oven". I ran into a tough spot today - I spent about an hour this afternoon wondering if it was too early for a glass of wine (yes) so I wandered around the house talking to myself and making notes on Post-Its (I threw them away) and looking up lyrics to Taylor Swift songs and refreshing Twitter every thirty seconds. But for the most part I'm kind of surprised at how easy this is going. (And yes, I know it's only Day Three. But allow me my small victories.)

I credit a few Psychological Tools. First: I have a note taped to my computer that says REVISION IS FOR DECEMBER. Every time I want to rewrite something (or, more likely, delete it and deny I'd ever written it in the first place) I walk myself through a scripted conversation between me and my brain. Basically I tell my distraught and horrified brain that I am well aware those are the worst words every strung together in the English language, but that I need them for WORD COUNT. In November I am a slave to WORD COUNT, not PERFECT PROSE. It's totally like that one paper in college (or all of them?) where you've run out of time and you still have 3 pages to go and you're playing with fonts and margins and wondering how much of your introductory paragraph you can repeat in the conclusion.

Second: I tell myself that bad things can happen. In fact, they NEED to happen. I am bad at allowing bad things to happen in my writing because, well, I don't LIKE bad things. What I DO like are my characters and I can be all proud of the 10 pages I wrote only to go back the next day and realize that I wrote a 10 page character sketch, not a chapter of a novel. I like to write about, for the most part, people I would want to know in person and I am loathe to make their lives miserable. Unfortunately this makes for a terribly dull novel. Bad things must happen. I shall make it so.

Third: I keep asking myself what happens next, and whatever I come up with, I USE. I don't sit there going, "OMG, there is no way, that is the dumbest idea ever, why I don't I go eat lunch/take a shower/do the dishes/take a nap and the thing that should REALLY happen next will MAGICALLY APPEAR." It doesn't work that way. I know that. You have to keep writing and maybe the ridiculous idea turns into something awesome. Or, more often, you start writing the ridiculous idea and THEN the thing that really happens next magically appears. Sometimes you have to delete, sometimes it fits with what you're already doing. Using my first idea is probably one of the largest contributing factors to the Unreadableness, but it's what's working for WORD COUNT and see point number one, where WORD COUNT IS KING.

Fourth: By the time I get to this point in my conversation with myself it is time for wine. Excellent.

I'm exhausted. I'm going to gear up for tomorrow (which may or may not include a phone call to the doctor re: Jack's mounting and various weirdnesses, which are not SWINE FLU but still sort of concerning) by going upstairs to read my Donna Leon mystery (set in Venice, and I'm really enjoying it except for the graphic descriptions of FOOD which makes me 1) hungry and 2) sad about not being in Italy) and fall asleep with my glasses on. A note or two before I leave though: I'm about forty frillion emails behind. I'm also despairing that I will ever manage to keep up with my feed reader, let alone leave a coherent blog comment, during the month of November. Will you still love me? 

Comments

Annie

Love Love Love you, Maggie. And am super impressed with you because, while reading this post, all I could think was "I wouldn't even know where to START writing a novel, never mind where to take it." Good for you for chasing down this challenge. I think you're awesome for it.

Shelby

Of course! I think anyone who takes on this type of writing the challenge (the kind measured in tens-of-thousands of words) is to be admired. My brain is more math than words, so this type of thing is mind-boggling to me. You're doing great!

Jen @ The Short Years

I am impressed that you are doing NaNoWriMo at all. I tried it once and gave up after week two. I suck. Keep going! You can do it!

Jess

This sounds like a very excellent strategy. No wonder you've made such good progress.

HereWeGoAJen

Hmm, I don't know if I will still love you in December. I guess we'll see. ;)

Elsha

I really hope people's love isn't based on coherent blog comments. Otherwise I'm in trouble.

Good luck with the novel writing!

el-e-e

Yes.

Love your techniques for NaNoWriMo!

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