Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Blue Full Moon

It's New Year's Eve where I am. Some places have already rolled over to 2010 and it's New Year's Day; I have just under 2 1/2 hours to go. Tonight at work someone told me it was a New Moon and a Blue Moon - a rare occurrence. I tried to find the significance of that or some interesting folklore - but didn't. If someone knows some, I'd love to hear it! All I really found was that the idea of a "blue moon" being the second full moon in a month may have been a misinterpretation or may have been a quote taken out of context from an off-hand comment made by a writer in an article. While I couldn't find any specific significance of the Full Blue Moon on New Year's Eve (or any other time, except for around Easter, when a priest used to tell the people which was the real full moon to determine the date of their celebration).

And, while on the subject of the pending New Year - the topic of "resolutions" comes up, of course. A writer I met in Oaxaca in December '08 had a wonderful post about this topic. She said it very well, so I'll share an excerpt and you can click on the link to her blog to read the rest. It's worth the click and time to read!

From Shell at "A Cabin in the Woods":


I hate New Years Resolutions. They are phony set ups designed to manipulate us in to gung ho conquer the world mentalities that result in our crashing and burning. Think about New Years diets – total set up. For two weeks we will lace up our sneakers, walk with purpose for 20, 30. 50 minutes, eat Special K or 100 calorie soup three times a day, and suffer in silence at our internal lack of willpower. Then, we go to lunch with friends and “slip” – its all down hill from there. That is, until the spring when the “get ready for swimsuit season” influx begins again. The same goes for New Years decisions to quit smoking, clean out the garage etc… It’s not that these things don’t sometimes work. They do. But I would argue this has much less to do with the New Year drunken (on food or wine) proclamation than the time just finally being
right. .... "

(click on "Resolute" to read the rest of the essay.)

Yes, this year I think I will follow her lead and focus on my hopes and dreams, rather than resolutions. I have already resolved to be more active and more fit. It's time to follow my dreams and let my hopes instruct me.

Thank you, Shell, for your insight (as "unacademic" as it may be deemed, it is powerful and what we need to hear ... right on!).

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Favorite blogs: writers & writing

I've added a couple more blogs to my reader recently and I thought I'd share some of them. I used to put bookmarks in a folder called "blogs" (original, I know); but then I had to remember to open the file and click to link to them and then scan through the blog since the last time I'd been there to find what I wanted to read.

That system failed.

Then I tried a couple different readers and found one that works well. And I have it set up so that when I open up my computer, there are the posts that have happened since the last time I was on. I can open and read them or not - hold them for later, whatever. I know you all know the drill.

But as I added one more blog to the ever growing list today, I decided I wanted to share a few of the writer's blogs I have listed. There are more - but here are a few to sample.

Ariel Gore

WOW! Women on Writing

Writing Under Pressure

A Cabin in the Woods

The Editing Room

Portland Women Writers Workshop

"Voices Against Violence" zine submission deadline extended

Great project still needs submissions.

The editors

have extended the deadline for the Voices Against Violence zine to Feb. 2nd. Here’s the original call out[inserted below]

What we’ve got so far has been great, but I’d like to see some responses and issues still not addressed and artwork.

Included topics can be: healing from trauma, transformative words used as a healing mechanism, enabling healing, life after trauma, self-help guides/resources, self-healing, dancing as means to healing, healing through narration, forgiveness (do we need it?), & collective trauma.

Here is the original call for submissions, which includes more information:

Call out for Submissions

Voices Against Violence Zine is accepting submissions for our next issue. Please send in your essays, poetry, letters, personal accounts, artwork & photography to be included.

What is the Voices Against Violence Zine? A small zine-diy style, with work from people of color, indigenous folks, trans people & queer survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence and sexual assault. Included topics can be: healing from trauma, transformative words used as a healing mechanism, enabling healing, life after trauma, self-help guides/resources, self-healing, dancing as means to healing, healing through narration, forgiveness (do we need it?), & collective trauma.

Voices Against Violence zine is to be used as a community teaching tool, as a jump off for discussion and creative outlet and for conversations that need to happen.

Voices Against Violence is part of Café Revolución, with help from Philly’s Pissed. Check out their downloads.

Send submissions in English, Spanish, tex-mex, spanglish or any combination* via email, either in text in the body of the email or attached in .txt format to noemi.mtz (at) gmail dot com.

In the subject enter voices against violence submission. Include a brief bio, your mailing address, website if any. Mention your zine or any upcoming projects you’d like. If you prefer to remain anonymous, let me know or include a pen name. Email any photos, artwork as an attachment.

*translations would be cool but not necessary.

The editor, Noemi, of this zine is a skilled writer and all around awesome person I met through Ariel Gore online workshops. Submit if you have something and feel free to contact Noemi with any questions.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I could walk faster!

surprise snow snarls roadways
What a headline, right?

Although I didn't find it too amusing when I volunteered to go in to my part-time job early to cover for some people who couldn't make it through the snow. The volunteering part was fine; a little extra cash - no problem. I have studded tires and could do it. The "no fun" part was that I had no idea it would take me five hours. Yes, you read that correctly. Five hours to go a total of about 18 miles.

Truly, I could have walked there faster.

Oh, well. I did make it. And 1.5 hours before the shift I was already scheduled. Now I just hope that my car is okay, because it wouldn't shift out of first gear once I got to the part of the freeway where we were going over 7 mph. And my car wouldn't go very fast, the RPMs rose but it slugged along. Hopefully it will be cooled and working properly. Or else I'll be taking the side roads, less traveled, slower, on the way home. And hope they are plowed or sanded. Or maybe crawl along part of the freeway.

Here's hoping it will shift properly. I can't quite walk 20 mph - but it would be really annoying.

Especially after 5 hours to go 18 miles.

Ah, snow. Beautiful. And if people would just accept that it's not plain rain and it's not dry pavement, I think I could have done it in 2 hours.

Monday, December 28, 2009

resource: The Internet Writing Workshop

Stumbled across this resource for prompts and other writerly exercises and resources. They have received the Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers award.

As a taste, here is their most recent exercise:

It's A Crime!

Created by:
Alice Folkart
Posted on: 27 Dec 2009

Exercise: In 400 words or less write a scene with at least two
characters and a crime in progress. Give a clear idea of the place and time, what kind of crime it is, who is committing it and happens. .....

Click on the title link (It's A Crime) to get the rest of the information about the exercise!
Below is their statement of who they are from the website.
The Internet Writing Workshop has monitored critique groups for
fiction, nonfiction, novels, romance, short prose, poetry, scriptwriting, and
practice writing. Each have participation requirements. The IWW also has groups
discussing the art and craft of writing in general, creative nonfiction,
speculative fiction, and marketing. The IWW is a cooperative. Membership is

Sunday, December 27, 2009

art, culture, open mic

I'm putting together a resource list of spoken word/literary reading events in and around Portland. I will announce more as I get the website set up and have a clearer vision of where I'm going with this. (I did purchase a domain name last night, which I'm also keeping secret until I know better the structure of what I'm doing!)

In my research, I ran across Colored Pencils, which presents Art and Culture Nights, which includes open mic. I have seen a couple of announcements for these - but have never been. Here is one video from their website to whet your appetite!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

but, really...

I do wish everyone the best of the season: joy, prosperity, fulfillment, and boundless creative energy.

Happy Creating and may inspiration take up residence in your home.



Okay - now I've said it. done. (happy holidays. merry christmas. happy new year.)

How about: Happy HanSolMasZa !?!

Soon, we can return to our regular lives. Right? Okay - I'm done grousing. I'm just so done with the traffic and the hundreds of times a day I say or sign one of the above in one of its various incarnations (just as we say it differently in English, there are different ways to sign the concepts, too - some more correct than others and the three I put at top are, well, not anywhere close to correct, though often used).

Not judging, just venting.


And the xmas tunes are stuck in my head. Which can be seen as either a positive distraction (phone ringing, looping messages while on hold) or an interruption ("I'm sorry, you said your name is what?").

Back to it.

One more day of the music. Two more days of shopping / traffic nightmare (Saturday is the only day of the year for worse shopping nightmares than "black friday") - although tomorrow won't be busy unless one needs to go to the store and can find the couple in the area that are open.

Griping done!

Lunch time.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Manuscript contest

AWP Award Series series begins accepting submissions in January

The Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) is a nonprofit organization of writers, teachers, colleges, and universities. AWP sponsors an annual competition for the publication of excellent new book-length works—the AWP Award Series. The competition is open to all authors writing in English regardless of nationality or residence. The Donald Hall Prize for Poetry is an award of $4,000 and publication for the best book-length manuscript of poetry. This competition is open to published and unpublished poets alike. The Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction awards the winner $4,000 and publication. Winners in the novel and creative nonfiction categories receive a $2,000 cash honorarium from AWP and publication. The Award Series conducts an evaluation process of writers, for writers, by writers. AWP hires a staff of “screeners” who are themselves writers; the screeners review manuscripts for the judges. Typically, the screeners will select ten manuscripts in each genre for each judge’s final evaluations.

Go to the AWP website for more information, including formatting and other guidelines.

Quote for today

From Twyla Tharp in her book, "The Creative Habit"

"If art is the bridge between what you see in your mind and what the world sees, then skill is how you build that bridge."

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice Blessings

Celebrating the return of the light: new beginnings and hopes, renewal of commitments an purpose, reversals of all that is harmful. A reconnection to ourselves and our community and our earth.


Celebrate with a piece of the past: Jethro Tull's Winter Solstice and the 1976 promo video for the song.

May your sense of purpose be clear and your path well lit. Remember those who are with you in spirit, as well as in body, and walk toward the light.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cafe Mundo

It seems to rarely be open, no matter the time of day or time of year. But today, with the fog from the ocean ebbing and flowing like the tide, I sit - again - across the street, sipping another soy latte. Munching on a hazelnut brandy biscotti. And above the cement wall decorated with sidewalk chalk, where the next night's guest musician is announced, a waiter all in black and a half apron comes out of the ivy and overgrowing bush and. Lights a torch.

A light in the growing darkness, shimmering on the breeze, announcing they are open.

And I wonder. Maybe tonight I'll go.

Or not. I take my latte and walk down the street, away from the flames of quiet business blooming.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

character sketch

Before I could even see if the person was male or female. Before I could see the neon green running shoes or the shiny incredibly fake red fur of the hat and the just as equally fake, glowing in its whiteness, fur brim. Before any of that, what I saw through the window of the coffee store, were twinkling tiny Christmas lights, shimmering and glowing as if they were hanging outside in the wind.

But they weren't.

I blinked and looked again. Yes, the lights were moving now. Yes, the lights were surely on a person unless the coffee shop had decided to install and human sized mechanical dancing skinny tree of some kind. Because I couldn't see any branches and the sign behind which the lights were peeking out was too thin for the tree to have any volume at all.

But the glare on the window prevented me from seeing who or what the lights were hanging on and why they were now dancing. I opened my car door, got out, and stepped back to close the door. That was the moment the neon green shoes came in to view. Then a peak of the red hat from over the sign.

A couple people moved closer and I saw blue jeans approach the counter and the barister laughing. As I approached the door, I could see clearly that the laughter was of familiarity and fondness, not fake like the Santa hat or mocking like the evil grinning elf hanging by a thread in the window.

Two young children rushed in the door just ahead of me and ran to her. She laughed with them and talked and then their mother came a few minutes later.

When the woman with lights sat at a table, the children came to her and listened to her stories. Other customers came and went and many of them approached her, greeted her, and listened as she explained her upcoming volunteer gig, or the one she had to turn down, or the friend she was going to deliver a meal to tomorrow.

A not quite jingling presence whom almost everyone seemed to know.

Confidently sitting at the table, working in her pencil puzzle book. sipping coffee and juice. With a smile and a story for every interruption.

Happy to be sitting here in the middle of the comings and goings. Happy to greet another face and know somebody cares.

Monday, December 14, 2009


- Half marathon? check.
- NaNoWriMo 50,000 words? check.
- Facilitator bag returned to Write Around Portland? check. (Minus my prompts sheets; need to mail them; they got lost in a tumble of paperwork.)
- Students' final assignments graded? check. Final grades submitted? check check.
- Relay team registered, campsite reserved, shirts ordered? checkity check check.
- Play interpreted? done.
- The term is done now. The semester ends this week. Then I have two weeks until the term starts and I will be teaching 2 practicum courses and a process course.


Breathe. More to go but for the moment - breathe.

Today I met with a writing friend for the first time in a month - it was great. It's been a long month. I hadn't picked up my NaNoNovel -which isn't done- since Thanksgiving; it was still sitting at 51,546. And that's okay. I added a little to it today and had a couple ideas. It felt good to write. I also prepared another flash fiction piece for a competition - but they don't accept online submissions, so I have to wait until I get home and can print it and mail it with a check.


Some parts of the Portland metro area had snow/ice issues on Saturday. One of them was the national certification testing site. Two people's tests were postponed. There's more to the story, but the tests have to be done this week. I am a "local testing administrator." I had an evening free. Now I don't; which is fine - I'm doing it for my profession and the communities we serve.


Friday through Monday I will be off work. Trying to not work; to not prepare for the classes I will be teaching winter term. Trying to rest and sleep and get back some motivation for doing the things I love.

Is this the winter blues? Or is this the post big event let down - which happens for many after NaNoWriMo and, I'm guessing, after marathons. I think that's it.

A few days. Breathe. Sleep. Watch the ocean's ebb and flow. Sleep. Breathe.

A little time away. To slow down.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Connections: a resource and a note

WOW (Women on Writing) has an awesome online issue related to connecting authors and agents. I have not yet perused all of the available information, but it includes items such as pitching your novel, editing, interviews, how to ___, and more. Click on the link to see what they have to offer.

And, speaking of connections, I have been in that stage myself. Connecting the Me who walked a half marathon and won NaNoWriMo simultaneously, with the Me who is an interpreter and interpreter educator, and a writer, and finally - I hope - getting rid of the last remnants of this head cold. Where do I go from here?

Well, let me tell you! I have already started the 2010 Cascade Lakes Relay team meetings and clinics. Last week I signed up for the first annual Portland HALF Marathon which will be on 10-10-10 (about time, folks! the half marathon has been missing from this otherwise great annual event - the Portland Marathon). Last week the Miss Fit Dragons dragon boat team had our first meeting; I will be the tiller, again. And I submitted a short story to a contest last week, as well.

I have also managed to get close to eight hours of sleep almost every night. I started with short walks this week and go back to personal training tomorrow morning. And I have final papers to grade for students in the class that just ended.

And yesterday I set up some writing dates with my friend, mentor, inspiration, and all around awesome writer, Jenny.

Connecting: me to me. Working out, walking and events, interpreting and teaching, and writing. When I complete the story of this year's NaNoNovel (I passed the 50,000 - but the story is not yet done), I am planning to return to complete a revision of last year's NaNoNovel. I was making good headway on the editing process for the 2008 novel, but was temporarily sidetracked by the 2009 novel. I think my style is to do the nanonovel and then let it sit for a while. It grows either better or worse with age; but it grows. If I look at it too quickly, I can't see as well what works or doesn't. I need time away from the story to be able to approach it fresh and ready to keep or toss as needed. Besides, I really like last year's novel and would love to see it published.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

looking for a quote

I have too much to say and no time to write it and so I decided to look for a quote. About something. My only requirement in my search was that it was something *I* liked.

Then I found this one and it made me think. I decided that a thought provoking quote was even better.

Willa Cather
"Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen."
Willa Cather

Thursday, December 3, 2009

NaNoWriMo: monthly stats

So, just how many people did participate? Pass the 50k mark?

Here is the latest from the Office of Letters and Light, for 2009 NaNoWriMo:

  • This year, we has 167,150 participants, up 40% from 2008's total of 119,301.
  • We wrote a total of 2,427,190,537 words, up 48% from 2008's collective word count of 1,643,343,993.
  • This averaged out to 14,531 words per person.
  • We had 32,173 winners, up 48% from 2008's total of 21,683.
  • This gave us a 19.2% win rate, the highest in modern NaNoWriMo history. (Last year we had an 18.2% win rate; in 2007 it was 15.1%).
Top 20 Wordiest NaNoWriMo Regions
1. Seattle
2. Maryland
3. Los
4. Germany and Austria
5. New York City
6. Chicago
7. Holland and Belgium
8. Twin Cities
9. London
10. Dallas/Ft. Worth
11. Portland
12. Atlanta
13. Denver
14. Austin
15. East Bay
16. Toronto
17. Northern Virginia
18. Boston
19. Melbourne
20. England, Elsewhere
Top 10 NaNoWriMo Cities according to Google Analytics, based on
Number of November Visits from those Fine Places

1. London 109,608
2. New York 53,280
3. Seattle 46,252
4. Los Angeles 44,234
5. Portland 39,124
6. San Francisco 38,047
7. Melbourne 33,916
8. Sydney 33,042
9. Denver 32,369
10. Chicago 32,237

Good showing, Portland, Oregon!

Monday, November 30, 2009

NaNoWriMo: final day

In honor of the end of NaNoWriMo 2009 (you still have 1 hour and 50 minute remaining, those of you who are on the West Coast and still madly typing away toward the last minute), I found a YouTube video - for all we have written this month, be it 50k, or 100k or 10k. We are leaving this month with that many more words of our stories written than we started it with.

Congratulations on whatever you have written or are still to write in the now, 1 hour and 47 minutes.

Way to go, everyone!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

NaNo-Marathon: lessons in acceptance

Well, I walked the half marathon this morning. I suppose I could say record time, since it's the first one I've ever done. But I didn't quite make my goal of 17 minute miles, but I was less than a minute off in miles per minute (3h 55m instead of 3h 47m). I'll take that time; I completed 13.1 miles when a week ago I wasn't sure I was even going to be able to do it at any pace.

It's like with my NaNoNovel - I made the 50k at 1:45 AM on Wednesday 11/27 and feel proud to have done that. But my goal this year was to have completed the story by midnight on November 30th. I will not do that. My story is a mystery about a relay walking team whose quest for personal bests becomes a quest for survival. At my current word count of about 51,500 words, the characters have just arrived in the town the day before the event. I estimate I'll need about another 20,000 or so words to complete the story. Even if I wrote from now until midnight tomorrow (which isn't going to happen), I don't think I could do it. It would be a pace I can't sustain, especially not when I'll probably go to bed early, being pooped from the half marathon this morning. Nope.

Aside from personal accomplishment, each activity also provided me with a great community of fellow travelers in the journeys.

For the Seattle Marathon, there was a great community of friends from the Miss Fit Dragons - Karen, Teri, Kathleen, and Tawna - who agreed to do the event. Everyone provided mutual support and encouragement. This morning, a cousin and a husband joined in the walking - Rob and Angie - and it was great to have them with us. Among our supporters and cheering section were other husbands and a daughter - Louie, Lindsay, and Bob. I also want to say a special thank you to Karen for walking with me and being my personal encourager today; she could have completed the 13.1 miles at least half an hour earlier on her own, but our conversation and her "c'mon, Dot"s helped me keep going when I thought I couldn't do it. And a special thanks to Teri, who showed me some awesome trails, hills, training spots in Portland that I never knew existed. To both of them - thank you for joining me on the 9+ mile walks. It helped. A lot.

For NaNoWriMo, my community of writers went beyond local friends. My writing community included many in the Portland area, and a few from places such as Egypt, Wisconsin, New York, Chicago, and Texas - emails and forum posts helped keep ideas percolating and helped keep me typing. I want to especially thank Jenny for the multiple writing meet-ups at various hours of the day and days of the week and her email support. She is an awesome writer and she is an awesome human being. A big thanks to Christi for all of her support and blog comments and words of encouragement and congratulations. And to Alexander who gave it a shot and met up with us a few times to write. He and I will be working on completing our novels in December - as will, I think, Jenny and Christi.

November was a challenge I took on with excitement and a willingness to try what some people said was impossible: NaNoWriMo and training for a half marathon simultaneously, while maintaining my regular work and teaching. Two major events completed. Personal goals not met, but the minimum requirements met.

I am humbled and on my way to acceptance.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

NaNoWriMo & Half Marathon

I am on the brink of the finish line for both events. Yes, I hit the 50k on my second nanonovel, but the sprinting continues and the story goes on. As of just before midnight yesterday, my current count is 51,549 words.

With the half marathon, that will be over about 24 hours from now. I picked up my bib and race pack yesterday. They included a chip! I hadn't planned on that, but I find myself with a little more excitement about my pace than I had been. I had almost given up the pace issue - well, accepted that I may not make my pace because of getting that lengthy cold (which is 90-95% gone). But now, with my cold nearly gone, the predicted excellent weather, and a timing chip - well, I may just be able to push myself a little more than I thought I could on Wednesday.

Today, is a "taking it easy" day all around. Stretched this morning. Showered late. Found the lovely Tillicum Place Cafe just a few blocks from the hotel for brunch (the hotel restaurant stops breakfast at 10:30 - on a Saturday?!?!) - where I got a simple, non-spicy, non-greasy, easy on the digestive system small (yay!) omelette, with simple potatoes, and a tasty fruit garnish, and a small pot of french press. Yummy, simple, yet flavorful - perfect for the protein, some carbs, not a huge portion, non challenging to my system, good fuel for tomorrow. Easy.

That's the goal for today: easy does it. I probably won't nano today, but I may work on a piece I'm thinking of submitting for a contest; if I do, the deadline is Monday. I will write a pre-first-half-marathon piece, as well. And strech some more. Walk to Buca di Beppo for dinner with my fitness friends at 5. Then, read, watch tv, take a bath - I don't know - rest. And to bed early because I'll be getting up about 5:30 AM so I'll have time for water and a carb-protein breakfast with time to digest it before the race.

Me, in Seattle, takin' it easy in preparation for my first half marathon and then the final write on my nanonovel. I at least want the novel's main event started before the end of NaNoWriMo.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, November 27, 2009

NaNoWriMo: day 27

I wrote a little bit today. Not a lot because I brought the train up to Seattle in preparation for my half marathon on Sunday. One reason I brought the train up was so I could use that time for writing. But I did not get much done for two reasons (1) lack of sleep necessitated a nap, and (2) my laptop battery has a really short life. Really. It went from 97% to 25% in about 35 minutes. Ouch.

Still, I did manage another 600+ words. I may do more in a little while. I spent the afternoon going to Blue C Sushi - my favorite Kaiten style sushi and the only one I know who has Gomasee (steamed spinach piles in a sesame soy sauce). Then I went to pick up my race packet: bib, timing chip (that may spurn me on to go for the time a little! as long as my lungs hold out), race shirt - and, of course, to walk the expo and look at things and pick up a few things. I love running/walking event expos - so much cool stuff to look at.

And I've been back in my hotel for about and hour now, indulging in a little television (yeah, for Law and Order, and CSI). Think I'll write for a little while more then go to sleep.

Yawn. It feels great to be past the 50,000 and I do want to maintain momentum on this story. It would be a very difficult one to put down and pick back up after a month or two.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

NaNoWriMo: day 26 early morning

At 1:45 AM I became a winner. Yes, I passed the 50,000 mark (50,159 currently). My characters have arrived at their destination, although the event has yet to start.

I am a Winner!

Now, home to sleep so that I can get up and bake the turkey! I haven't done this in years, but am confident I'll remember how, with the help of a recipe. (Oh, look, my contractions are back! Yay)

Marathon Wish

On Sunday, November 29th, I will be participating in my first half marathon in Seattle. (Yes, I have been training for a half marathon and writing the draft of a 50,000+ word novel simultaneously, on top of my regular life.) I really really want it to NOT be raining. Please. So I am really happy to see the following weather prediction for Sunday for Seattle:

Seattle, WA

-Fri----- ---Sat---------Sun
Scattered Showers---- - Showers ----- Cloudy
48° | 42° -47° | 44°- --51° | 43°

All I am asking for is *no rain.* I can deal with the cold (layers that come off and go back on as needed) and a little wind. But, please, no rain. So: please pray or chant or sing or send out energy waves, or whatever you do that Sunday in Seattle there is no rain. I like the above prediction. That would be perfect. Just perfect.

Thank you. *grin*

(Back to the nanonovel; I am currently at 48,832. Almost at 50k. I will make it tonight (which is now the morning, but who's counting, right?))

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

nano nearing midnight update

With ten minutes to go until midnight, my word count on my 2009 nanonovel is 47,581.

NaNoWriMo: day 25

This is the day I was hoping to have the 50,000 done. I don't think I am going to make it, but I am close. And I am at one of my favorite writing spots - one of the few 24 hour joints with coffee and wifi and lighting in Portland. So I will see what I can do in the next 85 minutes. But, as of right now, my total word count is: 45,328.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

nano night notes

Today I spent a couple hours between an appointment, errands, and work doing what? Oh, writing! My evening word count - and perhaps my final number for the day - is:
(and it seems we are getting to the main event in the story - finally!)

illness and body parts and murder, oh my

so, i've been sick this week. not sick enough to miss work (or can't afford to stay home from work is most accurate). but my head has been stuffy and nose stuffy and weak and tired and yada yada. i've been writing bits here and there but it has felt stilted, stale, slow - sluggish. like me.

i whined a little. slept. whined, worked, napped, slept. oh, and ate a little. and drank coffee. whined. wrote.

was feeling a little blah about the story or that we have not gotten to the exciting part yet. everything feeling drawn out.

i let the one character be murdered instead of hurt and in a coma. oh well.

then a body part appeared in the hamper. weird. and that thread is going no where so far.
and. stale. ugh. sloshing through the muck.

then today, i was feeling better, had another eight hours of sleep (careful, this could become a habit). even got up and went for a two mile walk (i could not do the eight i was scheduled and was advised to not push my body that much). home. showered. went for breakfast (in true nano fashion, this "breakfast" was at 1:30 pm) at one of my writing spots, along with my laptop.
oooh. so i said the story was getting stale.

well, over breakfast and writing, they (the characters, of course) decided that someone would die. well, another one would die. and this was the dog. omg, i told them. no, not the dog. geesh, what do you want people to think?

then i went to work.

oh well. it is their story. and the dog is dead as i approach 40,000.

back to work.
originally posted at
The Nano Project
on 11/22/09
by Dot

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

NaNoWriMo: day 22

Time is flying. My fingers fly when I put them to the keyboard. I just need to make sure to get them TO the keyboard.

My word count so far today - which may BE my word count for today - is:

Oh - and I did get out for a two mile walk today. A quick normal pace, not a race pace. But a walk. Yay!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

NaNoWrMo: day 21

Another day of no writing, I fear. I am at work and it is steady and there are no more opportunities left. So mark this as day two of no writing. Not bad, when I think about it, to only have two days out of 21 with no writing this month. Hmmm - perspective.

Slept in (after staying up late working on something I won't write about in case a certain someone happens to come over here and look at what I've written before it disappears into the archives). It was nice to sleep in for a change. Sleep in with plenty of time before I had to go anywhere. Well, let me back up. Perspective, again. "Slept in" means I got 8 hours of sleep; I was up until 2:30AM - so I stayed in bed until 10:30 AM. My goal is to have 8 hours be the norm. And, normally, during NaNoWriMo I wouldn't worry about it so much.

But I do have the half marathon. I am determined to be there next Sunday. Which requires rest and recovery. Although I am going to try a few miles tomorrow; outside if it is not windy and rainy; and at the gym if it is. And that was another thing on my list of to-dos today - I had an appointment with my massage therapist, who did some body work that I think really helped me get some things lined up and will help, too.

So I worked; had the LMT appointment; then worked some more.

No writing.

Maybe after I get home from work - which will be very late.

And I want to get 8 hours of sleep again, tonight.

Friday, November 20, 2009

nano 20 update

My total word count through 11:59 pm on 11/20/09 is


I can now sleep well. I wrote. And I feel that there is some action about to happen; I was hoping for a bit of it to make an appearance tonight. But I think the characters are ready to move on now and get to the big event. Maybe.

NaNoWriMo: day 20

I am in a funk. I will not call it defeat nor will I call it depression. I have been sick all week. I have had to hold up on my final week of training for the half marathon (in Seattle on 11/29) before the taper next week; I will not be walking eight miles with my training buddies tomorrow or Sunday because I am still not over this head cold. Just walking from my car to the classroom where I teach this afternoon had me winded and increased fatigue. I want to do the half marathon and am getting as much rest as I can, as much sleep as I can, cutting out what I can, and still working - which I have to do.

And - no writing yesterday. A very long day on only six hours of sleep.

So far - no writing today. Here I am procrastinating when I could be writing in my nanonovel. I will write today. Period. I have to.

I will admit that I am losing interest in this story. Not because of the story, I think. But because I have not been working out (other than a divided up hour on two days this week) - which does not help my body or mind or spirit. And because I have been sick. The not walking, not doing strength training, and being sick are making me melancholy and question my overall goals.

Also, my online writing group has ended and I am not doing the next session because of work conflicts and the timing of the workshop.

Sad. That's it. I'm sad.

Then tonight a person who contacted me sent out a post on a NaNo forum. She is behind on her word count and put out a challenge to others who are behind to hang in there and keep it up and get writing. That inspired me.

And my good friend Jenny is about to catch up to me in the number of words. Christi is coming along, too. And I see that Alexander has entered another chunk of words into his novel, too. Thank you.

So, thank you Debil and Jenny and Christi and Alexander for your boosts. All I have to do is press one keystroke, then another, then another. Right?

I .... will .... not .... give .... up..... (on nano or the marathon)....

Here I go - let's see what I can do in, uh, 50 minutes.

Go, Dot, go.

NaNoWriMo: day 19

Oops. Today was a big ol' -0- on the word count. I was planning to write after getting home at 10pm after a very long day, returning the rental car I had because my car wouldn't start when I went back out after getting a sandwich. It had to be towed. I had to get to work then work today. Alas, internet connection was down again (wind storms are causing outages) - the one down side to having novel in google docs. Oh well. I'm still ahead on words and maybe my story will move along after a break. Like needing to rest with this darn cold so I can get well and do the half marathon on the 29th. Life is not cooperating with my noveling.

But here's hoping I can get in some good hours of writing this weekend between walks (indoors; I need to get and keep well!) and work gigs.

I can't check my word count, either. I bet Jenny has caught up to me by now! Christi is not too far back there, either. And I think Alexander is holding out on us.

Off to bed now. I have an early day tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

NaNoWriMo: day 17

Oh, boy. Definitely at the slo-mo time in the process. I left in the early morning for a personal appointment, then work and work and work; arrived home at 10 pm (the last gig went late tonight - of course). I hadn't eaten dinner yet - thank goodness for boxed Imagine soups! Yummy Latin black bean soup.

Then, finally, I sat down to write. Not many words today, but more than it was looking like at 11:10 pm -- which was a big, round -0-.

Final word count today is 35,035. Not stellar and I think what I wrote is pretty boring. But the story is moving. I'm not quite sure what will happen next, because they're not quite ready to get to the big event. Although I could write that and then go back and fill in later.

As Christi pointed out on Writing Under Pressure, this novel does not necessarily have to be written in the order in which it will appear or even chronologically. So I could decide to skip ahead in the time line.

Or I can just continue to follow the characters and see what they want to do next. Although I do feel like they are avoiding something. We'll see. There's only been one death, so far. Maybe two, I'm not sure if the disembodied foot came from a dead body or is part of a med students exam or what. But - there is something the characters don't want to do.

Monday, November 16, 2009

NaNoWriMo: day 16

No, being home sick all day did not mean that I got to write my brains out and get to 50,000. Definitely not.

It was a hard decision to stay home. And it is not because it's the "piggy" sick, as my friend said. It was hard because it was the last session of the Write Around Portland group I was facilitating. I have a cold and was (am, admit it, it's not gone yet!) stuffy and blowing my nose and a sore throat. But I could have gone if it were just for me. But it would not have been fair or healthy for the participants. So I didn't go and, after talking with the staff, the decision was made to just cancel it rather than send a stranger for the final group.

So I did spend some time making up little envelopes stuffed with the things I was going to give them today. That was fun and took some time - but time I was happy to spend that way.

Then I had to deal with health insurance. What a pain. TMI so I'll stop on that topic now.

And picked up supplements from my naturopath to help get me through this - quickly, I hope. I still have some training days for the half marathon!! Help!

Otherwise, home. Home and taking care of business. And a nap.

But I did manage to sit down tonight and get some writing in; I thought I was going to have a -0- day. But, no, I actually managed to hit...

33,925 just over the minimum daily average needed: 50k, here I come!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

NaNoWriMo: day 15

I don't think I'll have an opportunity to do any more writing tonight. So here is my official word count at the end of the midway day:



nano midday update for day 15 - hump day

Oh, I am slogging this morning. Slogging mentally due to waking up with the feeling that someone had stomped on my head in the middle of the night, leaving me with cotton stuffed in every space between my brain and the rest of my body and my nose threatening to never take another breath.


A shower alleviated most of the nose and frontal sinus issues. But I still have that cotton-ness between my ears and my brain. Or something. I hear sounds, but there is an ocean in there and voices carry through the thick fog, yet listening is difficult and hearing is harder. Though I do hear; it is weird. This is not a good omen for how my work will go tonight. Hoping for relief from that or that the focused nature of the work to come will help me be able to understand the words I see and hear.

I met with Jenny and we wrote for a bit. I was slow to arrive but could not push myself to go faster. And I was slow to get started with the nano story, but I did, but the ideas did not flow in the same smooth way of this last week.

No worries. I am still making my minimum word count for today; just not much more.

Slogging. One keystroke in front of the other.

As of right now, my word count is 31,631 - not quite at the daily minimum, but I will see if I can squeeze out a few more progressions in the story before the day is done. I have just ended one chapter (they are not really chapters, yet - more like sections; but "chapter" has a common definition that indicates, to me at least, moving from one scene to another - or is one way of moving from one scene to another). This is a good time to pause and get closer to work and then see what I can do in terms of word numbers.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

NaNoWriMo: day 14

It has been an amazing day. Full of fitness and friends and team and fun; ending with some work. And I still managed to get in some writing!

I started with a 12 mile training walk with two of my Seattle half marathon friends. We were lucky to have a clear and sunny - although cold - morning; and no rain. Yay for no rain; after I felt like I was going to freeze last weekend with the rain, I have definitely decided that I am putting in my order for no rain on November 29th in Seattle. I'll take the cold (a friend and I did a 10k in early January and there was ice on the ground; I can layer and bundle for that). Please no rain. One friend took off at her faster pace at about 3 1/2 miles, which is fine; my fast is her stroll - and her fast is about 4 minutes per mile faster than mine. But the other friend and I kept up our pace and we made okay time. About mile 9 I started to hurt a little; about mile 10 I was knowing I could do the half marathon but "knew" I couldn't do a full marathon and why would I even try; at mile 11 I saw the end ahead and was driven toward that. We reached our cars, I stretched a little and rushed home to shower and change and drive to the shoe store, where...

The 2010 relay walking team I'm captain of was meeting for shoe fitting and trying on shoes. Seven of us made it there - it was fun and the staff was great. The last of us (which included me) left 3 hours after our arrival. With shoes. And inserts. And socks.

Then I stopped for sushi.

Then I went to a coffee shop with wifi where I proceeded to make more progress on my nanonovel. I saw myself nearing 30k, just as I'd seen us approaching 12 miles, and I thought, I *can* do this before I have to leave for work (which was just 10 minutes away). So I typed and I typed and what do you know!?!?! I did it!

My ending word count for today is 30,104. And the story is still progressing - yay. I hated to stop because I was getting on a roll (though not as good as last night's roll when I had to stop for sleep due to the walk this morning). Oh well, I get to meet with my nanowritingbuddies tomorrow! Yay.

(I may or may not stop by the all night write-in tonight. Will have to see how I'm feeling when I get done with work.)

p.s. - I probably am going to sign up for the marathon training, after all. The first meeting is in December, with biweekly training walks/runs. After I push through those final 3 or 4 miles, I feel good. Kind of like NaNoWriMo!

Friday, November 13, 2009

NaNoWriMo: day 13

Yay - I made it through the dreaded second week.... almost. Another day to go, but I'm feeling great about my word count. And the story gained a little momentum.

It's interesting. Tonight my partner was working, so I had the whole house to myself. Which is not a common event, given our disparate work schedules. But I did. And I decided, since I have a twelve mile walk tomorrow morning (the marathon is just fifteen days away! - yikes - ) that I needed some carbo loading tonight. It's okay - I can do this once in a while. I will not be pushing myself as hard as I will be for the half marathon in Seattle - but it is still walking twelve miles.

So I found a new to me place to go and I did. With my college ruled spiral bound notebook in hand and a pen. While I waited in line, I continued with the chapter I started last night. My whole day had been full of work, so I had not written anything today. But, standing at the little bar, I started writing. The maitre'd' guy (I think that wearing a plaid shirt and blue jeans allows me to call him this and not even bother to look up how to spell it correctly) told me politely that there was a table for me by the front window.

"Perfect," I said and put down a couple more words to complete the thought as I walked over there, with one eye on the aisle so I didn't run into anyone.

I sat down and quickly decided what I wanted to eat. For any of my friends who read this, they will scoff because I tend to not be a fast decision maker when it comes to ordering food. But, believe it or not, I decided what I wanted in about three minutes. And got right back to writing down my story. The waitress came, I ordered, my Merlot arrived and my beets, walnut, and goronzola on mixed greens salad.

I tried to eat left handed since I knew that writing left handed would be abysmal and I would only get five or six words down. Gave up. Ate right handed, put the last bite of greens and chunk of beets into my mouth and was back at writing. I can drink left handed and write at the same time. Which I did.

Then came the penne with lemon butter sauce, green onions, salmon, and halibut - oh, and artichoke hearts. Dang, I had to put down the pen to eat. But it was worth it and I have an entire second meal waiting for me in my refrigerator downstairs right now.

So back to the writing. Then came the check. And I kept writing. There was only a short line in the restaurant now and I couldn't stop. The story was flowing - although in a different direction that I thought it would but my hand was literally moving faster than I could think and I could not stop it.

Well, I had to stop it after a few minutes. To get home. Then get sidetracked by an email and then a phone call. And it was all good. Because when I did finally get back to my story, I discovered - again - that my by hand word count and the story it contained were not bad at all. And I liked it.

So, second week, hah! Who cares! I did it. And I faced interruptions (oh, life). And still I ended today with a new word count of, ta da ....


...that is 2,092 words by hand in the space of about 80 minutes, which included ordering and eating!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

NaNoWriMo: day 12

Another quick update: a pretty unproductive day in terms of writing. Once in a while I just have to pay attention to the rest of my life and there was a lot of it today.

Still, I did manage a few words: my ending total today is 25,913.

Not stellar, but keeping it moving!


quick update before my head hits the pillow: I have passed the halfway point!

25,118 words

night night

...z z z z z...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NaNoWriMo: day 11

In true second week fashion, things have slowed. True, I had a great day yesterday by hand. Given my schedule - I felt lucky to get anything written. But I did and it was pretty much on track in terms of average number of words. It was also pretty cool that, today, when I finally was able to get it all typed in to my master document, my estimated word count was only 12 words off from the actual! Not bad.

Then there was this thing I had to do, and that thing I had to do, and phone calls, walking up and down the hill for training, couple's therapy, emails to respond to. And, finally, a little bit of time to write before I have to get to bed.

Week two is notorious for blocks from life and blocks in the story surfacing. I thought I was going to escape that, but no. I hit them today. I had hoped, since it was a day "off" from work (which means I did not have to go anywhere and do the thing that I do to earn money) that I would write more. However, many of those phone calls and emails were about work. So I was not technically off.

But enough excuses.

I did write. And when I saw how close I was to that official halfway point I tried to push it but did not quite make it. My ending word count for today is 24,572 . A gain of 1,550 - so just short of the average. I'll take it.

NaNoWriMo synchronicity

Lynda Barry was the guest cheerleader for Tuesday's pep talk. And what a great one it was.

Seems that she and I have something in common.

Writing with pen and paper. It's great. I'm cool 'cuz I wrote like Lynda Barry. Uh huh.

(Sorry, nanoness is eating my brain. Gonna go walk up and down the hill in the rain. No - really, I am; training for the half marathon in Seattle at the end of this month. But I'll blame it on NaNoWriMo if anyone asks why I'd agree to do such a thing.)

Read Lynda Barry's pep talk here.

Visit Lynda Barry's website (which is where this picture is linked from - it's hers, not mine, in case you didn't know!).

After I return from getting soaked in the rain and sweating under the rain coat I'm going to try, I'll change and wrap up warmly and settle in with a cup of hot something and make some more progress on my story. I just finished adding in the hand-written material and am ready to progress toward the big event. First, I walk.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

NaNoWriMo: day 10

Today I had some down time on a job. No laptop. No wireless access even if I did (which means no access to my novel, since I'm using Google Docs for writing it). But I had pen and paper. So while the clients were involved in individual activities for an extended time, I went back to pen and paper and wrote. And wrote - always keeping one ear and one eye on the room, listening and surveying in case I was needed.

For 35 minutes, I wrote longhand. I filled 10 pages of lined notebook paper. I did an estimated count of 1,650 words!

This brings my approximate total to 23,035. [update: the official count once I typed in the handwritten material was 23,023.]

I also noticed that my longhand word count was just as quick as my typing word count for a similar time. Interesting. Except that now I'm trying to type in all those words I wrote and I'm noticing that it is actually taking me longer to type in what I wrote than if I was creating and typing at the same time.

What does it mean?

Nothing, I guess. Except: hmmm, interesting!

Monday, November 9, 2009

NaNo end of day 9

Oh, what a great day! A couple hours with Jenny at Urban Grind, another 3o minutes alone and a greatly increased word count. Then writing with the members of the Write Around Portland groups (some of which was for the novel - but I haven't added it in yet!).

Then home for dinner and to catch up on grading my PCC student's homework. Well, at least the written part - I wasn't able to get to feedback on the videos, yet.

Then a few minutes of playing Feeding Frenzy.

Topped off with more writing - about 1000 words worth.

So tonight I ended with a grand total of : 21, 385 ....

NaNoWriMo: day 9 midday update

I was curious about the total authors this year (or authors so far - people can still join in; but most of the participants are already involved) - so I popped on over to the Twitter site during a nanomaintenance site down -- and here's what I found

2009 Tally: 157,425 authors signed up with 676,900,348 combined words (from the Office of Letters and Light, the NaNoWriMo headquarters).

As for me, I passed the 20,000 mark just a few minutes ago. Which is why I'm taking a short procrastination break from my novel. Which is still plodding along, although I feel there is a little movement in there now. We'll see. One of my main characters is taking a little diversion down memory lane, which had me a little irritated because I felt like we were finally starting to head towards the actual plot. But no, she had to go back to a recent event, a recent personal discovery.

So, I followed. Then I hit 20,031 and she said I could rest a bit, to check in with the rest of my life.

I have a little bit of time left to write, then I get to go facilitate the Write Around Portland workshop I'm doing this session. Only two more of those left. I will miss them - they have been a great group and awesome writers, spectacularly strong and brave human beings, and so supportive of each other. And I will be glad to have those three hours on Monday afternoons back for the rest of November. I have set them aside for writing.

Okay, my main character says, time's up. If I need to go to the bathroom, now is the time because there is only 30 minutes left and I have more to tell you.

Gotta go - my novel is calling!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

murder in nanoland: day 8

Word count update: 17,478 ...

The following was originally posted at
The NaNo Project blog
by Dot.

I was typing away, blissful in the productivity I was able to attain once I actually got to the writing meet-up with my buddy this morning. (It took a while, we were both late, but we did eventually make it.)

Then, all of a sudden, from out of the blue, it happened.

The story wants one of my characters dead.

I'm not ready to kill someone off, yet. And not this character. She was going to be one of the primaries once I get to the exciting part of this plot. But, no - they want her dead. I'm currently deciding whether to overrule with my author's privilege and just have her be injured and taken to the hospital - I'll even give them a coma if they want. But I don't want her dead. No.

Who wins? The characters or me? What will I lose later if I try to play god in my story now? Or am I already god and this is their way of rebelling?

Oh, a NaNo dilemma.

I don't mind killing off a character. Really. And it - to be totally, brutally, honest with myself - is about time something exciting happened; I will give them that one. This plot needs to move along. Although I suppose that slow and plodding has its benefits during NaNo. But still.

Oh, what to do?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

NaNoWriMo: day 7

originally posted at
by Dot

Today has been stormy. I overslept. Which is to say that I slept. A full 8 hours - no, not 8 hours all together - 6 hours, woke up, back to sleep within 20 or 30 minutes for another 2 hours. I still had just enough time to go for my 10 miles walk and get back in time for the next thing. But I did not make it 10 miles - only 6 and with 4 legs of hills. I have run a little low on sleep until last night (only 12 hours total for the previous 3 days) - and my body said no way was it going 10 miles. Plus it started to rain a lot heavier than I was dressed for. I was dressed for rain - layers, a waterproof rain jacket - but not the downpour that started, so I headed home, 2 miles away from the house. By the time I got home it was torrential; truly. About 5 minutes later there was a lot of thunder and the rain kept pouring. Later there was a rainbow and I was wet and still cold to the bone; a phrase I don't often use because I have not experienced that feeling until now.

But you know what? Guess what started to come out in the next chapter of my novel. One of my characters decided to go for a training walk and it started to rain! Woo hoo. She is talking herself through it now -- or was when I had to stop to get to work.

I had a massage after a hot shower (I didn't plan to get soaked before the massage, but she has a table warmer so it was actually perfect!), went out for a quick dinner with my partner, then to a friend's art opening and sale.

Then, finally, to SE Grind for a couple hours of writing. And after a few minutes, the story started to unfold about one of my main characters heading out for a training walk, in the rain, and all she wanted to do was go home...

The Art of NaNoWriMo - imitating life.

Current word count is 16,597.

Friday, November 6, 2009

NaNoWriMo: day 6

An extremely sleep deprived day. I did not get to sleep immediately upon arriving home from work in the week hours of the morning today. Right now I cannot even remember what it was that was so important to do when I got home - but it was, I swear! I did it quickly, but it still delayed getting to bed for an hour. Then I had a very early job so that my number of hours I had to sleep was absolutely horrible. I did squeeze in two 10 minute naps today - which helps.

I came up with a new metaphor. These last two days have felt like the "old days" when you scrounged through the sofa and the car seats, collecting whatever coins you could so you could drive to the gas station and buy 5o cents or 75 cents of gas to get you around for a couple of days.

I've been scrambling around in search of long enough blocks of time to take a nap: 10 here, 15 there, another 10, and even a 30 last night. Just long enough for me to catch a little down time, eyes shut, lessening the chatter in my brain, to make it do-able to get through the next stretch of work.

But tonight - I will go to bed and I will sleep. I can't sleep as long as I want, since I have to do a 10 mile pace walk tomorrow. But, if I can wrap this post up and get to bed right now, I should be able to get a full 8 hours before I walk.

My reward will be a massage in the early afternoon.


Oh, and my current word count? Give it up for me, who has passed another major milestone: 15,608 ! Yay.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

NaNoWriMo: day 5

I've hit the sleep wall a little too early in the process. Ouch. I did manage one 15-minute nap, one 10-minute nap, and one 30-minute nap today; amazing for a person who doesn't generally take naps! But they were severely needed.

A couple more hours of writing tonight between work gigs, and about 45 minutes or an hour with Jenny. She is awesome and a wonderful writing partner and friendly competitor. It's nice to have someone you can truly mutually inspire and be inspired by, as well as have all in good fun rivalry!

My new word count is 12,472. Woo - the words are moving along nicely, even if the story seems to be taking a while to get to the synopsis I wrote. Oh well, the characters have a bit to say, I guess, before we get there.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

NaNoWriMo: day 4

Today was a day off. By which I mean a day off from my regular income producing work. Because it was not "off" from my life nor "off" from appointments; on the contrary, it was full of appointments and meetings, almost straight through from 10:00 AM until, well, now.

Right now it is just past 11:30 PM and I am sitting in the cafe with Alexander. Jenny was here earlier; she left about half an hour ago. I'm done with my goal for today (exceeded it actually, which is cool) and so am doing a quick scan of emails and Facebook, but think I'll skip Twitter tonight.

Alexander is just wrapping up his story for the night, too. This was his first time joining us for the nanowrite. I gave him a block buster tool which I made from the one I received a few months ago from Ariel Gore. It's great to have another friend in this experience with me.

So, as I close up my writing shop for the night, I leave the story at 10,103 words!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NaNoWriMo: day 3

Today is a lower word count - as I knew it would be. The day has been full of work with minimal time in between. Luckily there was a good 30 minutes of down time in one job and I managed to hand write about 500 words.

Then one assignment ended about 30 minutes early, which gave me enough time to run by my PO Box and - yes, there was a check. Thank you, universe! Deposit it, stop by a cafe with free wi-fi between post office, bank, final job of the day. Where I ate dinner while typing up those 500 words and adding a few more. Type a paragraph - take a bite - sip some coffee; repeat.

My ending word count for today is 7436 (or right about there; I know it's 7,40o plus a few).

And I just had another two characters show up. Sheesh, this novel is getting crowded. Wait. I did say a team of eight plus two drivers. Oh, right. I'll still have to pick up a few more along the way somewhere, because two of the characters so far have refused to do the relay.

Speaking of which: tomorrow night is the second meeting of the walking relay team. I am printing out a handy dandy checklist for team members tomorrow, which goes with the clinic we'll be having (thank you, Nikki!) and with our field trip to a giant shoe store weekend after next.

Life is good.

Monday, November 2, 2009

NaNo note for November 2nd

I arrived at the designated cafe about 20 minutes ago to meet up with Jenny and write. I was a little later than I'd hoped, since today was my pace training day and not a short one at that. I was scheduled to do five miles, fast - or fast pace - something, whatever, language escapes me at this moment, which is not a good thing.

So I was supposed to do five miles - and I did five miles. After talking myself into getting out there to do it. "Skip it," I taunted myself. "No," I replied. "Yes, one day won't hurt. Go write. You know you want to." I almost caved. Then I thought that I really can't skip at this point because - well, the half marathon is only 27 days away (now if this was in my nanonovel I would have written twenty seven days because that gives me a word count of three instead of two - but I'm not so you get the contractions and the digits normally).

I did the five miles at a decent pace. And ran into construction on the way here - typical of Portland in the fall.

And now I have food and coffee and water and my laptop open, with Jenny in front of me.

Distracting myself.

Her I go, back to nanoland. My beginning word count for today is 3,956. I'll let you know where I land when I have to rush off the get to the trainers. Before the Write Around Portland group. And then end with a stint of work.

Procrastination is ending now.

NaNo - ho!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

NaNoWriMo: 1 hr 30 min

...updated word count is 2151 words...

(I promise I will not be posting updates every hour or two from here on out)

NaNoWriMo - the first 30 minutes to a good start: my goal for this first write-in was 1500 words in 2 hours...

...first 30 minutes just passed and I already have 1326 words...


Saturday, October 31, 2009

...and I'm off...

Going to change into my 2009 NaNoWriMo shirt now. Put on my most comfy shoes (my feet aren't bad, but are a little achey from the 11 miles this morning and then the dancing tonight - so need the totally comfortable shoes). And then I will head off to the midnight write-in spot for the official beginning of NaNoWriMo for Pacific Standard Time. All other USA time zones have already started - except Hawaii, of course!

Christi - I hope your 30 minutes went well and that you are either deeply engrossed in your novel or are tucked warmly and comfortably in bed, dozing off to a well-earned sleep! Will watch for your update tomorrow?

Jenny - see you at the not-so-secret meeting place soon! I'll save you a seat if I get there first.

In just seven hours

I will have been working on my new, 2009 NaNoWriMo novel for 6 minutes. I will have six minutes of ...


...something. I will be there at the midnight write-in, with my friend, Jenny, and the 20 or 40 or 60 or more people gathered in east Portland to kick off this thing called NaNoWriMo.

My next post will be after midnight, after the fun begins, after I know where my novel starts. I have a summary - that you can read on my NaNoWriMo author's page (username is dot.). The working title of my new novel is "Cascade Lakes Footnotes." Other than the summary (which I already posted here on my website), I don't know what's going to happen or who will be there or who the guilty parties are. I've been promised a "struggle for survival" - so there does seem to be a bit of a mystery and at least the threat of death, if not one or more actual deaths. We'll see!

I've had to forego the nap I thought would be a good idea since I am excited and there's no way I'd sleep. I thought the 11 miles walk with half-marathon partners this morning would help with the napping - but, no. Now my partner and I are headed off to a dance for a couple hours. Then back home to change into the 2009 NaNoShirt I've had hanging on the wall since it arrived a couple weeks ago. NaNoNerd that I am, I promised myself I'd not wear it until....tonight! Now the only question is: which one? The official 2009 NaNoShirt or the official Camp NaNoWriMo shirt?


It's nearly NaNoTime!

Friday, October 30, 2009

NaNoWriMo: the excitement mounts

In 24 hours I will be at the midnight write-in for NaNoWriMo. No, we won't be writing, yet - but I will be there in order to get a seat and a place at the electrical strip! We will be meeting and greeting, challenging and chatting, playing and - well, I don't really know. Last year I slid in at about 11:54 pm and did, luckily, get a place to sit and a place to plug in. But this is a new place.

Who knows, there may be singing and dancing! I know writers will be appearing in costumes and pajamas and work clothes and whatever is clean clothes. It's all okay. We will be there to begin another year of NaNo-noveling.

So, on the Twitter site, I just saw the stats of participants as of noon or so today:

2009 Tally: 100,335 authors signed up. WOW! $116,887 on the fundometer.

That is really awesome. And there will be more registering tomorrow and Sunday - and even a few beyond that.

Now to sleep, so that I can get up early and go walk 11 miles with two of my half-marathon friends. In the rain. Early. It's all good and will get us ready for the wind and rain and cold we'll be facing in Seattle at the end of November.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

NaNoWriMo: stat update

Go, Portland! We are ranked 7th in the world for visits to the NaNoWriMo website, so far.

Actually us Pacific Northwesterners in Portland do pretty well on the overall stats. We're right up there in average word counts and total word counts. And now we're high on the list for visits to the headquarters.

Two days from now I will be sitting at the kick-off write-in spot, waiting for the big 12:01 AM on November 1st, "GO"... and the noveling will begin. Jenny and I will both be there at the start line; Alexander will join us a couple days later. We have plotted out some compatible writing times - catching pieces here and there. Hours to boost each other up or commiserate or just be two or three bodies with our laptops and our in progress novels, typing away.

We are Portland NaNoWriMos and proud of it!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

writing tools

I think my aching middle finger and ring finger on my right hand are just about recovered from bowling 10 days ago. Sheesh. I haven't bowled in many years - partly due to being an interpreter. Bowling - interpreting, did not seem like a good match; so I didn't. I had a blast, but the middle knuckles on those two fingers were sore right above the joints and stiff and swollen. Could be the ball holes were the wrong size or I was holding it wrong - or the ball was too heavy for the knuckles (but my hand, wrist, arm, shoulders, etc were all fine with it) . I don't know. All I do know is that the middle finger stopped hurting about 4 days ago; the ring finger is still a bit sore, especially when bumped or with a strong bend in it (like producing the letter E) - it's better but achey. It will be fine, I think. But it was a little disconcerting to have them still aching so much later - in my opinion - and with the month of typing insanity called NaNoWriMo on the next block.

I think I can. {strike that} I can.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

NaNoWriMo: numbers update

From Chris Baty (the founder of the madness) at The Office of Letters and Light:

We just added author number 86,724 to the Roster of Champions, and signed up our 1,100th Young Writers Program classroom!

Look at those numbers climb. There is a thread in the forums with estimates for the total number of writers for 2009, which range from 120,000 (a little low, I think, with how many there are so far) to something like 250,000 (a little high, I think - but wouldn't it be fun to be wrong).

Monday, October 26, 2009

countdown: 5 days, 4 hours

...but who's counting? oh, me... right... and thousands of other hopefuls.

And so I've entered the final week before NaNoWriMo. Am I prepared? Maybe. Am I ready to jump into this novel? Yes, definitely.

Maybe I should be making lists. What I need and when and where. Or maybe not. Life has been hitting me from right and left these last two weeks and I feel like I've been in a battleground. I won't bore you with the details nor expose personal garbage by spilling it here *grin. So the one thing I have done is put out a request to the universe to stop with the messes and get those stars aligned because I am going to write another novel beginning at midnight:01 on November 1st. And I need a little help getting things straightened out before that time.

Despite all the drama and the too many things to do in too little time, I am excited. I am excited to see where this idea leads me. All you see in my last post is what I know. I don't have specific characters in mind nor specific incidents. I don't know if what I wrote as a synopsis will be a scene, the start, or the setting in general.

But it will happen. It will go somewhere. It will be completed. As I work, and teach (which is work, yes) , and finish out the last three weeks of the writing group I'm facilitating, and wrap up the final two weeks of the writing workshop I'm taking, and train for and walk my first half marathon. I can.

Friday, October 23, 2009

NaNoWriMo: 10 days to go and I have....

...a title and a synopsis. This is far more than I had last year at this time - and I will have no more until 12:01 AM on November 1st. No - no outline for me. No cast of characters other than the basic few mentioned below. I will wait to see who shows up on my page as I type and where they take us. But, for now, I have a spark of an idea for the setting and I do have a working title.

Welcome to my 2009 NaNoWriMo Novel:

"Cascade Lakes Footnotes"

Eight women walkers, their two drivers, in two vans, encounter more challenges than they expected in the Cascade Mountains in central Oregon.

The members of Mighty Maude's Marauders are new found friends who decide to take on the challenges of the 132.4 mile walking section of the Cascade Lakes Relay. They joined the event with fitness in mind and each with a personal goal. As the race continues, they discover that at least one of their members has some well-hidden secrets.

Join the Might Maudes as they traverse through the blaring sun and thunderstorms, walk up breath stealing inclines and down I.T. Band crunching declines, and climb higher and higher on the Cascade Lakes Highway. The excitement they stepped off with at Silver Lakes out past LaPine is replaced by fear as they cross over the base of Mount Bachelor and head toward the final miles into Bend. The quest for new personal bests is replaced by the quest for survival.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

the countdown is official

Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo, sent out a message today that there are 11 days and counting until the fun begins. The fun. The sweat. The caffeine. The spontaneous competitions. The write-ins. The hair pulling. The sleep minimizing writerly pursuit of 50,000 words in 30 days.

Yes, we can.

Yes, we will.

da da da dum. Here come the wrimos. In the mid-eighties in Salem we sang, "here come the leaping lesbians" (yes, that was actually a song; now I have to go look up who it was because I forgot). But now I'm humming, "here come the wrimos, the furiously typing wrimos". Okay, I made that one up.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

CLR 2009 video contest

My team is having our first meeting for the 2010 Cascade Lakes Relay this week. I'm excited to get together with everyone and excited that we are going again. This week CLR announced the winners of this year's video contest (I'm hoping we'll have our own entry next year). This is the second place winner, from the team Out Chasing Booty. Watching all the entries has me totally jazzed to do it, again. And I needed a little jazzing about right now - the 9-10 mile walks sometimes get boring when I'm going it alone.


Thursday, October 15, 2009


I will admit I reached overload this past week. A couple of things had situations come up which necessitated additional attention. And time. Time I didn't have and didn't allow for. Nothing major or serious. But I found myself only being able to deal with things from most critical to least and in order of deadlines - triage. I hate it when things get that busy.

Choices. I made choices.

And I made another choice today to take the next Wayward Writers online workshop-course with Ariel Gore. It will begin a month after the first meeting of the 2010 Cascade Lakes Relay team, which is a month before the first training meeting of the MissFit Dragons which will be two to three days a week. I'm captain of the relay team and tiller for the dragon boat team - I'll be there. And I'll still be writing.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I remember...

The NaNo posts are multiplying. Strategies being exchanged. Challenges thrown down. Parties and meet-ups and write-ins planned.

And I remember last year, about this same time, questioning my decision to go with the flow. Or should I plot and plan and outline? And it resurfaces from time to time.

Until I remember that I did it last year with a totally blank slate and it was great.

I'll try the proven - for me - approach again. Although I will admit to having a very bare idea of a setting which may prove to be only a scene!

Monday, October 5, 2009

NaNo-ers to date

Okay, so I'm not going to wait until November to start the NaNoWriMo posting. I thought I would. But I've already started here and there, so let the real NaNo blogging begin - shamelessly and boldly and unapologetically.

The once annoying number of forum posts to which I subscribe (three) kept growing beginning October 1st (there were a few before - but very few). Now that the boards were wiped clean on October 1st and the new threads begun, I have many arriving everyday. Mostly I get them from the Portland region - my choice; I get a smattering of posts from Vancouver and Newport (I only have limited permission granted for those regions).

But now - the posts are helping spurn me on towards the start of the actual event. Instead of annoying, they are inspiring! Part of me says this is a stupid endeavor; I'm already stretched beyond the max - what do I think I'm doing. For example, today I had to make a decision between lunch and a nap. Really, it wasn't a choice. I had less than minimal sleep last night, then an out of town job this morning which necessitated leaving pretty early, a short 2 hour break after getting back to town before the writing group during which I had to get the snacks for today's group and could either (a) sleep or (b) eat because after the group, I would meet with my organizational liason, and then off to work until 1 am ... So it was a no brainer even though I considered it. So a nap (and I actually DID sleep - miracle - and it helped)! Then an apple and a protein bar on the drive to the group.

So, why am I taking on NaNoWriMo again?


It's a challenge, fun, exciting, and I want to. I'm a writer and this stretches me and I have some really good stuff to work with when I'm done. And a bunch of stuff to just toss - but it's fun. And when I'm done - what an accomplishment!

So, in the nanoworld news: Today from the OLL (Office of Letters and Light) - here is the number of NaNo-ers signed up to go across that start line at 12:01 AM on 11/01/09:

After four days of sign-ups, we have 15,363 brave and crazy souls dedicating their Novembers to the high-velocity noveling arts.

If you're ever curious about the current population of NaNoLand, you can just sign in to the site, and head to the Authors Search page. Leave all those fields blank, and click on the "Search" button. Presto! You'll see a list of everyone who has signed up.
Hanging out on the Author Search page is sadly one of my greatest hobbies in October and November. I just searched again, and we're now up to 15,421 participants.

Thanks to some search magic implemented by Dan this year, you can also get a list of people writing in your genre who also live in your home region, find all the Wrimos in your age group writing this year, and discover exactly how many people joined JediDiplomat in listing James and the Giant Peach as one of their favorite novels. (Answer: 334.)

The Author Search will get even cooler on November 1, when we add word count!

Now at 15,709 participants ....

Sunday, October 4, 2009

update: today's Mayor's Walk results

originally posted at "Run Around for Write Around Portland" - reprinted with permission from the author. wait. that's me.

I set a new personal record today for walking the 10k. I shaved about 3/4 of a minute per mile off my record time, which I set mid-July at the Smith Rock Sunrise Classic. I also looked back at my time last year for this event - which was with a friend and the early stages of getting fit - and I bit off a huge chunk of time from that: I finished 24 minutes earlier today than I did just a year ago. Things are looking up.

And that's a great number of funds raised for Write Around Portland. I'm leaving my donation widget up on my website, The Writing Vein, for another month so people can still donate if they find some extra cash lying around and they want to give it to an awesome cause.

Thanks, everyone! For being you, for being Write Around Portland, for the financial support to the organization and the personal support to those of us who participated in our various ways in the event.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

tomorrow I walk

This morning I picked up my bib and goodies bag, information for other events, some new socks (same kind of socks, just new ones! which I will not wear tomorrow but will get them broken in for Seattle in November), and other stuff.

I ate breakfast.

I ate lunch.

I wrote some feedback to a writer in the online class I'm doing with Ariel Gore.

I took a nap. Woke up and stretched.

I drank some electrolytes.

I'm going to eat dinner soon.

And the plan is to be in bed by 8:00 pm. Notice I didn't say *asleep* - just in bed. We'll see how that goes. My night is usually just getting started at 8 pm - but tomorrow I have the Mayor's Walk. Yesterday I said, "but it's only 10k" to a couple of people - who looked at me with that are-you-kidding-me face or in the tone of their voice. A year ago the 10k was a really big deal and walking 6.2 miles is not "nothing."

I am planning on walking it fast (for me). It'll be my pace day for the week. My Achilles is taped up by my chiropractor and all will be well. I realized about an hour ago the one thing I didn't plan for was cold hands. I'm heading off to look for gloves now - I have some somewhere in the house. It's time to dig them out, anyway - I just need them a little earlier this year and for a different reason.

Being downtown by 7:00 am to get a parking place and hop the shuttle to go to the start of the walk. It's predicted to be only 45 degrees at 8:00 AM when I plan to step off and head back downtown. Brrr. So - gloves needed. My attire is otherwise laid out and ready to go, my breakfast planned, electrolytes for during the walk ready to be put into water when I get up, and carbs in the Camelbak.

It's only 10k, I think, again. But I'm not going for a stroll, I remind myself. It IS 10k and that's good.

Then tomorrow afternoon and night it's back to work. And back to writing and feedback and making final preparations for my Write Around Portland group on Monday.

Which reminds me: thank you to everyone who has donated to this awesome organization. And you can still give a little if you want; I'll leave the link up for a while - the FirstGiving website will be active for a month after the event. Thank you!