Beginning the Nano Month

For the past few years, November has meant writing projects. They could be blogging projects or, like last year, an attempt at novel writing. The point is to get people used to the schedule of writing, with the end product being either a blog or a manuscript.

I have no idea if I have time to be an official participant this year, but I’m doing Nano regardless. Towards that end, this month will have the theme of Balance. I’m going to blog about bring the various parts of my life (husband, civil servant, nerd, grad student, brother, nephew and curmudgeon) into balance.

I’ll also probably write a lot about politics and my frustrations as a liberal.


Somedays, words are pretty easy things to grab. Then there are the days where I cannot remember how to spell the word “the.” Today isn’t either one of those days. While the words aren’t easy for me to grab, I can at least spell the word that are coming to me. I figure this is something i just have to type through.

Typing through–working through–instance of difficult is what I’ve learned the most this month. NaNoWriMo isn’t about writing the best novel, its just about writing. It is more important that “aspiring writers” develop a routine than it is to generate 50k words in a month.

It’s kinda like practicing the Saxophone. I played one as a kid, you see, and I never developed a routine for practicing it. I used my asthma as an excuse. One of our band directors–a nice old man whose name I’ve forgotten–told me to “practice your finger positions when you can’t breath but its practice time.” I did it once, and i felt so stupid, I stopped. If I had shown any dedication to that instrument, I would have stuck with it. I played that instrument until the end of my freshman year. After I got my “Art Credit” I quit the band and went on to “cooler things,” like playing D&D with my buddy Bill.

I am still learning to write. I’ve given up on being ashamed of it. Now I’m just starting to appreciate the routine of writing, even when the words don’t come as quickly as they should.

Official Nano Update

Here is a graph representing the official Nano Progress thus far:

Now, before you roll your eyes, keep in mind that I have 30 more pages of hand written stuff that I am transcribing. While I am still woefully behind, I do a ton left to transcribe. What I have learned thus far is this:

1) I do get cranky if I do not write at least a few hundred words a day
2) I enjoy writing about my parents
3) I may never get published, and I am no where near as good as some of my friends, but I can write something.

Those three lessons are far more important than 50k words in 30 days.

Now if you will excuse me, I am going to drink a delicious beer from New Glarus, Wisconsin. Here is the brass kettle where my beer was brewed:
This is where the magic happens

Nano breakthrough?

For my first attemptat Nano, I’m fictionalizing my first job: working at a residential home. I’m adding cthonic monsters to the mix of staff and clients. Given that people ask me, “How can you work with those monsters! What they do is unthinkable!” I figured I should add real, “unthinkable” monsters.

The breakthrough came to me while I was walking to the Pink Line. When I asked about the theory behind the methodology at my interview all those years ago, I was told Psychodynamic–but when my interviewer explained further, the program sounded more Cognitive Behavioral. Psychodynamism falls squarely within the Cthullu mythos, and gives the treatment modality a creepy bent.

The writing will begin when I get my first cup of coffee.

A few thoughs on November

I have surrounded myself with people who I consider artists.  Some of my friends, like Will, are multi-talented artists who can write, draw and design.  Others, like Shannon, Saraq, Lauren and Hill tend to focus on one craft more than others. Given that I have been writing fairly consistently for about three years now, I’m going to try this whole Nano thing with a few other friends.

I came to this conclusion when an old memory came back to me. This memory–the first question I was asked in my interview at my old job–screamed “that’s how you could write about your job.” Last night, at dinner with Shannon, I said, “Well, since most people think I work with monsters why I don’t I put the monsters there.”

Do I expect this to go anywhere? No. I really don’t. It is simply something I want to try.

During the dinner I just mentioned, I also realized that if I stay to to the setting, I would also have to write about very unsavory, but perfectly natural, teenage behaviors. Of course, at Dinner, I was significantly less composed about this realization.

For NaBloMo, I’ll post updates and snippets on my progress daily.