Monday, November 30, 2009


Some people run marathons.
(The 5K).

We write novels.
(The 50K).

*Thing 1 and Thing 2 have also won the Young Writer's Program for NaNoWriMo.
Congratulate them here.

Thanks to everyone for the comments, support, and encouragement!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I can see the Finish Line

Less than 2,000 words to go. I'm at 48,095. Just seeing the ribbon ahead of me is giving me the energy to forge ahead. And forge I must. I think a lot of it is not half bad, some of it is really good, and about half of it is crap.

I had no idea what an emotional process this would be. I'm excited to be done. And I'm excited to get away from it a bit and get on with the holidays.

Okay, back to writing I go . . .

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

First across the finish line . . .

This is a shout out to our writing buddy Cristin for being the first in our WriMo group to pass the 50K mark!! And we were there to witness it at our group writing session today.

Mark and I are plugging along and will pass 50K soon (but not today). The kids are well on their way. I bet they pass their goals by Friday. Onward and upward!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Reading Books

What keeps you reading a good book?

I'm at 33,000 words and I hope my story is still compelling and interesting, but I worry, at times, that it's become trite or technical.

When you're reading a book that interests you, what keeps you reading when you're more than halfway into the book?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Part of why my word count is low

We do parent-child dates every so often. We try to do them monthly, but we're not always that on top of things.

Usually the kids are pretty cheap dates. They are content with a bike ride or visiting the pet store or getting an ice cream cone or maybe bowling using our free bowling coupons.

This past Thursday, Thing 1 and I went on a date. She chose to have us visit one of her favorite date places--the pet store that not only allows, but encourages, us to play with the puppies.

I like visiting the pet store for many reasons, chief among them is that the kids can play with puppies and get it out of their systems since I am not a dog person.

I mean, we've toyed with the idea of getting one. The kids would love it. We might even enjoy it, I don't know. And I remember Jimmy saying kids should have a dog growing up and that tugged at me a little bit. But neither Mark nor I has grown up with dogs and so we haven't been super keen on the idea.

I like smaller dogs better than bigger dogs, but still. A dog person, I am not.

Here are some of the reasons I don't consider myself a dog person:

1. You always have to pick up poop. Children eventually learn to potty train and wipe themselves. Dogs? Nope.

2. They smell. Dog smell.

3. It's a lot of work.

4. It's a lot of expense.

5. What do you do when you travel?

6. Having to go outside when it's cold and/or rainy.

7. Some dogs bite.

8. Some dogs scare me.

9. Allergies.

10. Barking.

So, every time we go to the pet store, I try to see if I might like the idea. Usually, I do not. I generally walk out saying to myself, "Yeah, they're cute, but nope, not for me."

Our date was no exception. We played with a little, black Yorkie Poo and it was cute. But man was it hyper and nippy. We watched him run around the play room, try to eat our clothes, and try to eat my backpack. After that, I was ready to go home.

"Do we have time for one more?" Thing 1 asked.

I looked at my watch. We didn't really. "One more," I said.

So, we played with one more. A Shi-Chon. Half Shitzu and Half Bichon. Translated: Hair, not fur. Hypo-allergenic. Non-shedding.

Of course that was nice, but not enough to convince me to do anything as crazy as consider getting one. Refer to my list of 10 reasons. I don't need much convincing. I'm pretty set.

So, we got this cute, little puppy and played with it for a while. She was very sweet. A few different workers walked by, independently of each other, looked in, saw the puppy, saw us snuggling her, and said, "Oh, that one. She's so sweet."

And I sat there and watched as Thing 1 fell in love with the puppy. So, I quickly got us up and out of that playroom and we high tailed it out of the store. The puppy whimpered as we left. UGH.

We got home and told Mark and Thing 2 about the puppy. Specifically, I told Mark how this puppy seemed to really have a personality and, I don't know, something about her that seems to fit in our family. I told him he had to see it for himself.

I couldn't shake it. I kept thinking about the puppy. I hoped Mark would see it and tell me I was seeing things and that it was cute and all, but it was really just another dog.

So, we all went as a family to play with her again. Thing 1 was excited to visit with her again. I was kind of excited to play with her since it was a fun playing time that didn't involve actually getting a dog. Like in our house.

Thing 2 was cautious. He's had a bad experience with a dog in the past, so part of going to the pet store is to slowly help him overcome his fears. We've gone in there several times and while he has slowly warmed up over time, he always starts out very cautious and not always interested in having the dogs touch him in any way.

Our visit with this little dog was met with lots of smiles and snuggles. This puppy is VERY snuggly and sweet. Her personality seems to fit with our family somehow. And even Thing 2 was comfortable getting on the floor and playing with the pup. I watched Mark's face to see what he thought. I secretly hoped he would tell me, "Yeah, cute dog, but I'm not seeing the connection you're talking about."

I looked at him and asked, "Are you seeing it?" (Thinking to myself, "Please say no, please say no . . . ").

He smiles and says, "Yes."


So we go home and we're all talking about the cute little puppy that has weaseled its way into our hearts and how she seems to fit, but UGH, a dog??

Thing 2 dreamily eats his dinner saying, "People could talk to me about Mario or Sonic, but all I can think about is . . . " and then with a VERY dreamy look and smile, "Kara, Kara." (That's what the store named her).

Thing 1 reiterated that she would forgo ALL Christmas presents, including presents from Santa, if we could just get a dog.

She also tried to use ecological save-the-earth arguments. "If we get the dog, it's good for the environment."

"How exactly?"

"Well, because then she'd be here with us and we wouldn't have to drive to the store to visit her which would cut back on pollution from the car into the environment!"

So, we get the kids to bed and continue to talk about it. We tried to talk ourselves out of it, but we weren't doing a very good job. We kept thinking about the dog. And we felt like she should be here with us.

Later that night, Thing 1 came running down the stairs in tears.

"What's wrong?!"

Through sobs, "I'm worried that someone else will buy her and she won't be there!!"

She knew we hadn't decided (they'd asked; we'd told them), but she was really upset. This wasn't helping. She looked a bit like we felt. We reassured her and helped her feel a bit better and sent her back up to bed.

Then we started to panic. What if someone else tried to buy her? We were pretty sure we wanted to get the dog. We had no idea how we'd do it, clueless as we are, and it didn't make any sense other than this puppy seemed to be choosing our family.

Every point on that list still applies, so it really was more an issue of the dog choosing us than of us suddenly loving dogs.

Long story short.

Meet Scout.

So, as if data recovery and some personal issues weren't enough, we got a puppy. The things parents do for their children.

I like her. She's a real cutie. And a lot of fun. We are all enjoying her very much. I have to say that the kids are LOVING having a dog and especially enjoy walking her and playing with her. But man oh man, I think Mark is smitten. Scout likes to cuddle on our laps for hours. She's a really snuggly dog and isn't yappy. She is about three pounds (if that) and won't get bigger than 10-12 pounds. She's a perfect size for us. We like dogs this size. (Bromleys, we blame Shylock for the beginnings of any interest on our part at all in dogs. And Jessica, Corky plays a part in the blame, too).

I will say, though, that I don't understand people who put their dogs ahead of their children. That is so totally not me. The dog is cute, but our kids/our family absolutely comes first.

And we looked at the Humane Society because we do understand the argument about saving strays. Thing is, we weren't looking for a dog, the shelter had mostly pit bulls (uh, not a chance), and like I said before, the issue here is that this dog chose us.

Another interesting aspect that we've discovered after the fact . . . dogs are really good for you. They make people more confident, happy, and social. It's been fantastic for Thing 2 and his fears about dogs. Thing 1 is our dog whisperer. They also help lower stress and blood pressure, and even cholesterol. Studies have shown that they are more effective than ACE Inhibitors! That's amazing. There was one really interesting study done on stock brokers in New York. Those with dogs had significantly lower blood pressure. The study was so conclusive and persuasive, that all the other stock brokers who didn't have dogs went out and got one.

So far, my blood pressure seems to be rising. This house breaking thing is for the birds. Or the dogs. Whatever.

We have 2 kids and we all sleep through the night and we've invited this furry creature into our home who cries and whimpers in the night from her crate. We understand this passes.

We are attempting litter box training since it can be done and can save us from having to go out in the aforementioned cold and rain.

I can't believe we have a dog. I'm still a bit shocked and stressed out about it. Until I remember the blood pressure thing. And then I remember I'm not supposed to be stressed out.

I said our kids are generally cheap dates. Visiting the pet shop? Most Expensive Date Ever.

And this is also just part of why my word count is only now approaching 20,000.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Goal: 10,000 Words This Weekend

Due to the data recovery craziness, I am sooooo behind (I used to be ahead).

I would love to get caught up by writing 10,000 words this weekend.

I'm going to try.

I can think of about a million distractions.

Hence this blog post.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Data Recovery Update

Thanks, all, for the very sweet comments, emails, phone calls, sympathy, mentally-sent milkshakes, listening ears, help, etc. They mean a lot to me.

Monday was a REALLY rough day. I seriously cried a lot. My head hurt for a day and a half from all the crying (and freaking out).

So, 10,000 words were gone/messed up in that overwrite. After 14 hours of data recovery attempts, we eventually got most of it (thankfully) but were still missing about 2,000 words that also happened to be my favorite part where the story really felt like it was taking on the tone I'd envisioned. It was so good that I laughed out loud as I wrote it. And, though I'd shared nothing before that, I read it to Mark on Sunday night because I was so proud.

I was so upset when it went missing. And I was very much on the verge of giving up. After all that recovery, I was still missing words and was much farther behind on my word count, too. Days that were going to be spent writing were spent trying to find words and crying (and freaking out). I really didn't want to give up. And I got such sweet notes from the kids and from Mark encouraging me to keep going. I couldn't let them down nor could I let myself down. I really, REALLY want to do this!

So, Tuesday, I spent most of the day trying to recreate that part (I hate recreating--it never seems as good as something that just came so naturally). My word count actually went down and stagnated for a bit while I worked on fixing the mess. I kept telling myself "it's just a story," but somewhere over the weekend, it took on a life of its own, so I was also trying really hard to not give up. Plus my husband and kids are really rooting for me and that encourages me. They're so good to me.

So the recreated part is a bit different and I'm trying to move forward and not obsess over that or the 250 or so words that I'm still short. I can't figure out what those are. What am I missing?!? I tend to obsess and I'm trying really, really hard not to do that. I'm just now passing the word count I had Sunday night. I am really behind (and so is Mark) but am focusing on the fact that we recovered most of it and recreated the rest and we haven't given up and we are writing more. I want to feel that book excitement again and I feel like I got a glimpse yesterday evening at the coffeehouse with Cristin. I'm going with it.

I better get published.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Words for today include . . .


Freaking out.

Data Recovery.

Freaking out.

22 single-spaced pages missing.




Temporary Files.

Freaking out.

Garbled text.

Good chapters missing.


Original 8 pages overriding most recent 30 pages of work.

Freaking out.

Was very sad about my friends not coming this weekend.

But worked hard on book instead.

Have felt very happy with this weekend's work.

Weekend's work gone.


Entire past week's work gone.

Freaking out.

10,000 Words gone.

Data Recovery is expensive.

Finances are stressful.


Feeling like crap.

What if the Universe is telling me I suck at this.

Feeling lonesome.

Needing friends.

I can't recreate it.

If it's gone, tempted to quit.

Don't want to quit.

So sad.

Freaking out.

Where is my story?!




Sunday, November 8, 2009

Random NaNoWriMo Thoughts

Week 2 starts today. 13,900 words and counting. To be done by the 30th, I should have 13,336 done by tonight. To be done by Thanksgiving, I should have 16,000 by tonight. We'll see. Amazing Race is on tonight. Aussie Phil is calling my name.

The first part of the book was emotionally harder than I expected. There's a reason I've had this idea for years and hadn't put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

I seem to get stuck every time I have to name a character. I thought that would be the easy part, but it's not! I seem to really want my names to have meaning. Some are even shout outs to some friends and not-so-much-friends.

Except the "villain." For some reason, her name just came to me. And it's not based on anyone in particular. But the name fit her.

The Universe keeps sending material my way. I got a great lead from a random story told to me in one of my sessions this week. The couple I was counseling had no idea how perfect it was. It's so going in the book. I laugh every time I think about it.

I was bummed because this weekend was supposed to be a fun weekend with old girlfriends of mine from out of state, but we had to postpone. I'm glad we're rescheduling.

We've had lunch-and-afternoon writing sessions, coffee shop sessions, and night owl writing parties. It's all going very well. And we're poised to do it again this week and every week for the whole month. It's so much fun!

I've been having a lot of fun with the most recent chapters. I feel like the book is taking on the tone for which I'd hoped before I started. That happened around chapter 9.

Chapters 1-8 might need some attention in the rewrite/edit part.

I would totally do this again. I think my next book will be a Gothic Novel for sure, though, just because those are my favorite and that sounds like fun. Doing this is giving me the confidence to do more.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Your NaNoWriMo Questions Answered

Thanks for the questions. I think if I were on the outside looking in, I would want to know what it was like for that person. Plus, like I said, these questions (and posting) are good for me.

April asks, " Is everyone writing their own book or are you doing it together?"

Everyone is writing his or her own 50,000-word book. In one month's time.

April also asks, "What is the subject of your book?"

I have had some ideas for years and they are starting to take shape. I'm beginning to like where it's going. So, the truth is, I don't know how to answer the question entirely but there are some things I can say. As of right now:

- The main character is a woman.

- There are heavy, serious parts and lighthearted, funny parts.

- It is written in the first person and I'm enjoying getting in her head like that.

Jessica asks, "What FUN stuff is going to begin? Getting into the plot? Introducing new characters?"

I feel like I've hit my stride. I feel like I'm getting into the plot more. I feel like I'm getting past the set up and I'm excited about that. It's about to get funnier, lighter, and start to move a bit more. And yes, new characters are about to appear and some of them are going to be terrible people the reader won't like (and rightly so) and some will be funny and some will be hilariously annoying. See? This is where it gets fun.

April then asks (thanks for the questions, guys!), "Fiction or Non-Fiction?"

Fiction. I enjoy writing fiction most, though I do have some non-fiction ideas, too.

And "What inspires you to write?"

Is it boring to say that I simply enjoy it? I think it's fun and terribly romantic, too. It's totally my kind of hobby (read: nerdy). I love to read and when I do, I find myself wondering if I can write and I think I can! I love blogging. And I very much enjoy satirizing American Idol and funny experiences. And, on a personal level, when I've dealt with depression, my Dad's death, and changes in my own spirituality, I've learned and healed so much through writing. I simply love to write. Even emails! I also feel I express myself better in writing than in speaking.

Word count so far: 7721

I am fairly happy with what I've written so far, but I don't like what I just wrote this afternoon. I nodded off at one point while typing, so that can't be a good sign. If I were an editor, I'd cut that part out. But for now, we are to quiet our inner editors while we write. She keeps talking to me. I keep telling her to shush.

I'm taking a break and I'll get back to it tonight.

4103 words and counting

I am sitting in a coffeehouse writing this post. Isn't that so freaking cliche? Oh oh. And Barbara Streisand is playing softly overhead. Now it's really cliche.

I feel like I'm starting to hit my stride. I feel like I've written a lot of set up. I'm well into my character's head and I like it. But now. Now, let the fun begin.

I feel like the book is a bit heavy so far, but that's about to change and I'm excited about that.

Mark is sitting next to me, typing out his book. Cristin is across from Mark, handwriting hers. Our kids are sitting at a nearby table drinking tall milkshakes and playing big piles of board games and doing writing exercises, including writing secret codes. They keep me grounded. I love them. Have I mentioned that? I love them.

I am finding that blogging actually helps me in my writing, so I think I'll be checking in more than I thought I would be.

Plus I appreciate the comments and questions and I think it's good accountability for me.

So, bring them on. What are your questions? I'll answer what I can in the next post.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Day 2, which feels a lot like Day 1

I changed my mind. I feel like checking in to report progress. I'll try to respond to comments/questions, but no promises.

We kicked off our month of 30 days and nights of literary abandon (or NaNoWriMo) with our friends here who are also doing it. We had a big breakfast and toasted in the month with some sparkling fruit juice in fancy glasses.

It was a full day since we also enjoyed a children's museum all afternoon with some other friends and attended a Tibetan Feast as a family at the college in the evening. That was absolutely fascinating--the chanting prayers and opening ceremony were so soothing and hauntingly beautiful, the food was fantastic, and the stories of the monks' escape from Tibet were riveting. Hearing about the situation in Tibet pained me. Horrible crimes against humanity. Just awful.

We left with full tummies (my gosh, the food was delicious), expanded minds and hearts, and we also picked up a lovely wall hanging with a great quote by the Dalai Lama as well as a colorful flag banner of a chant for compassion. These may well serve as my writing totems for the month.

I knew it would be a full day so I didn't write until just before bed and I was pretty exhausted. I didn't even report my word count, which was just under 200 words. The daily goal to pull it off is 1,667 so you can imagine how today started. I decided to get a good night's rest before really diving in since Mark and I, in typical daylight savings fashion, used our extra hour to just stay up even later than usual. We're so disciplined.

Mark got a decent word count in yesterday before bed. I'm impressed.

I have pictures of all these things, but I haven't uploaded them yet and I'm not about to do it right now since I've got more writing to do!

So today started very hopeful and feels like my first official day (I actually really like Mondays). I got an email from my NaNo buddy across the pond (we "met" through a mutual friend on Facebook and exchanged contact info before I closed down my FB account for the month--which, by the way, is blissful). She's in London and so she gets her word counts in before I do. I use it as encouragement to spur me on.

I also checked in with our local friend and it sounds like we're feeling similarly about this adventure . . . a bit uncomfortable at this whole flying-by-the-seat-of-our-pants method. But we're pressing on!

I've written about 1,592 words so far and I'm about to get back to it since Mark and the kids are out at violin lessons and this affords me some quiet time to work on my book.

I think I should type my book in a blog window like this one since the words seem to come easier here than on my Word document. Or maybe it's my story line. Or lack thereof. Not sure.

Anyway, back to writing I go . . .