Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

So, How Was Your Monday?

Here's a summary of mine:

I was up late writing on Sunday night into Monday morning, so Paul got up with the girls. He brought Ada in to nurse with me around 6:30 am, then fed the girls breakfast and got them dressed while I tried to doze. (This is rarely effective, but always so tempting - and appreciated.) In the end, my assistance was required to find Ellie a pair of long pants. I'd only had a couple hours of sleep, but my day had begun.

I got myself dressed, and we loaded the girls into the car. Ada and I took Ellie to school, then headed to the grocery store. After shopping, I played puzzles and board games with Ada, but mostly I just tried to stay awake. Too many nights of too little sleep wear me a little thin.

Ellie's bus arrived at 12:30, and we all headed inside to make lunch together. After lunch, I chatted briefly on the phone with my mom while the girls played together. Then it was nap time. After getting both girls down to sleep, I collapsed in my own bed for an hour. By 4:00, we were awake.

The girls had snacks and watched Dora the Explorer while I straightened the house and popped dinner into the oven. (Thank heavens for Time for Dinner!)

Paul came home from work shortly before 6:00 and we had a lovely family meal. Afterward, he gave the girls a bath while I set out snacks for my book club.

Together, Paul and I got the girls ready for bed. Then I nursed and snuggled with Ada until my girlfriends started arriving at 7:30 and Paul took over bedtime duties.

My book club discussed an entertaining and provocative play called The Women, then moved into the family room to watch the 1939 movie starring Joan Crawford. (If the 2008 remake stays at the cheap theater long enough, several of us hope to go see that as well.)

By a quarter after 11, book club was over (it ran unusually long because of the movie) and it was time for my evening to begin. I did 45 minutes of cardio, then sat down with Paul to watch an episode of Law & Order from the Tivo for another 45 minutes. He made lattes, and I moved to the kitchen table and pulled out my computer.

First I put up my nightly blog post, then I alt tabbed over to my NaNoWriMo novel to get in my nightly 2000 words. Paul stayed up with me for a while, rubbing my feet the dear man, before doing the sensible thing and going to bed.

Shortly after 4:00 am I headed back to the bedroom to start the process all over.

But now it's Thanksgiving vacation, and the end of NaNoWriMo is in sight! I don't love the novel I wrote this year - we'll see what I think of it in a couple of months when I've let it settle and then reread it - but I learned something valuable. Last November I learned that I could write a novel. This year I learned that it can take me a whole year to write a novel at a pace of 2000-4000 words per week. And this November I learned that I can write a whole novel - this year's novel should be complete at 50,000 words - in a month without stopping my life.

As long as I sacrifice sleep.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

November is Boring Blogging Month

First up is a progress report on my fitness goal, because I know that you care. But it's a happy day because I passed a significant (to me) "decade" mark. You know what I mean, right? There's something so psychologically important about that tens place ticking down one. And I'm also more than 1/6 of the way to my goal. So, woo hoo!

Second, before I go to bed tonight I should have written more than 30,000 words on my NaNoWriMo novel, which is fabulous. I find the 20,000's to be the hardest part. And given the email pep talks the NaNoWriMo folks send out, it's a pretty common problem. After that, it's sort of a long, fun coast to the end. There's something psychologically important about passing 30,000 words for me.

I think I'll leave it there, and save the substantive bit for tomorrow. I'm off to write!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lia Keyes

Lia,

On the chance that you have a Google Alert on your name and you see this, I wanted to tell you that:
a) You have a really cool website, so
b) Now I'm even more excited to read your book, and
c) You are a hard person to contact.

I've been trying to find you over at NaNoWriMo but have failed. I hope the writing is going well!

--Sarahlynn (from this summer's Gotham Writer's Workshop)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fourth Grade

Being ten years old is a difficult experience. The age varies from kid to kid, of course, but ten is often a challenge. There's long division, for one thing, and growing up for another.

Sometime in this "tween" age range, many kids begin the struggle to figure out who they are and who they want to be. They start to realize that their parents do not know everything and that adults are not infallible. And, for many of us, it's around this time that we learn that we ourselves are not perfect. Alas!

The main character in my NaNoWriMo novel is ten, in 4th grade, and has recently moved across the country and changed schools in the middle of the year. She has fabulous parents, but life is still very hard. Case in point: she has a really annoying much younger brother.

If you have any tales to tell about your own experiences being a "tween," parenting a ten year old, or just knowing folks around this age, I'd love to hear 'em. Comment away!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Goal

First of all, it's very very hard to keep up with all the home stuff (this is the time of year when we have what seems like weekly meetings preparing for Kindergarten, plus all of our usual activities and therapy stuff, plus I'm doing this officer training thing at church) while doing NaNoWriMo and exercising nearly an hour a night. Very very very hard. I'm a little behind on my word count.

But the exercise and all that is going very well. Yesterday I had a funny little set-back. I ate well all day, no snacking or binging, and had a great workout. But my weigh-in was flat. Very frustrating. Ditto today. Weird.

It turns out that there was a bit of a biological cause. But also - and, I believe, mainly - there was something I was consuming that had a few more calories than I expected.

You know I love love love my lattes, right? Well, if there's anything in the world that tastes better than a latte, it's a Starbucks Egg Nog Latte, available only from mid-November through the end of the year. Paul got me one as a special treat yesterday, and it was even better than I remembered from last year. Heavenly! Delightful!

"Do you have a sugar free version?" my wonderful husband asked the barista.

"No, but it shouldn't be a problem," she replied. "The egg nog lattes have no extra sugar."

Whew, was she ever wrong.

I figured it was just a syrup, like Starbucks' other flavored lattes.

I was wrong, too.

It's not a syrup, and it's not sugar free. It's espresso and egg nog, with a little bit of 2% milk. Gulp. No wonder it's so good!

Serving Size 16 fl. oz.

Amt Per Serving
Calories 470
Fat Calories 190
Total Fat (g) 21
Saturated Fat (g) 13
Trans Fat (g) 0
Cholesterol (mg) 140
Sodium (mg) 230
Total Carbohydrates (g) 53
Fiber (g) 0
Sugars (g) 48
Protein (g) 16
Vitamin A 10%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 50%
Iron 2%
Caffeine (mg) 150

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Boooooring

On November 1st, I wrote three things: a quickie blog post, a grocery list, and the first 2300 words of a new novel. Of these, I feel that the the novel comes in a distant third in terms of being interesting reading.

I am excited by my ideas. And I'm good at marketing; I can sell them to myself as stories I want to hear, want to write. But. When I'm writing, I'm sometimes bored. Which is weird and surprising to me. Writers are supposed to looooove the actual writing. I myself have always enjoyed writing. I'm energized by it and feel great when I've done it - like exercise - but I'm not always excited by the process itself lately.

This is especially strange because later, rereading, I'm sometimes very happy with what I've written. And the reactions I've gotten have been positive. So what's that all about?

Maybe it's just because a) I'm perpetually exhausted, and b) the stories take a little longer to type than they do to appear in my head, or even to read, so that they don't feel quite as "fresh" when I am typing them out. But I didn't really have this problem with the NaNo novel I wrote last year.

Another interesting difference between this year's NaNo and last, for me, is the pace. I remember sitting at the kitchen table typing and typing, checking my word count and finding 2000 still a huge distance away, getting more snacks and coffee, then plugging away some more. By now, however, I'm much more practiced at the craft, I guess, and 2000 word segments come naturally for me. Perhaps this has been part of my transition from being a short story writer (a form I continue to enjoy) and writing longer works of fiction.

I know that the conventional wisdom is that you should write what you read. That makes sense to me. But I'm not sure it works for me. I definitely read literary fiction. But some of the books I've been most passionate about have been from other genres, lots of other genres. I don't often read romance or westerns, but I read pretty much everything else. And sometimes, when I'm looking for fun and distraction, literary fiction is not my first grab.

But it's definitely where the writing feels most interesting, easy, and fun, for me.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

National Novel Writing Month Is On

(See ticker in sidebar.)

November 1st:
The NaNoWriMo website is glacial today, unsurprisingly. Parts of the site are nonfunctional, while other parts are text-only, until the traffic dies down a bit. All of which means that I can't update my word count at the moment. But it's going.

And I'm doing something completely different this year. I'm writing in a combination of two genres, neither of which I've experimented with before. I'm writing a different age of character than I've ever tried before. And I'm writing not only without an outline but also without a detailed character sketch. So we'll see how this goes.

And we'll see if I'm able to keep up with Seek Ye First while spending my evenings with Wyoming the Witch. It's a month-long experiment for me! What could go wrong? Who knows, maybe I'll invent Flubber.