Monday, November 11, 2013

NaNoWriMo: End of Week 1 Update

I'm about to start the second full week of National Novel Writing Month, the goal of which is to write a 50,000 word rough draft of a novel. I'm coming in at around 8,000--which is about half of where I should be. But I'm trying not to stress out about it and just enjoy the process of writing.

Ah, I just said the magic phrase. "The process of writing." When I was younger, that meant holing up in my comfy green chair with a five pound bag of animal crackers, a liter of Pepsi and a stack of notebook paper. I'd spend hours that way. These days, the process is sitting in front of my laptop, praying to the muses to get into some rhythm before toddler interuptus. I would much rather write with a pen and paper, but who has time to go back and type everything? Not this girl.

I'm learning a lot about myself during this process. The first is that I have the attention span of--hey, is that a butterfly? Maybe I was a better writer when I was a teenager because we only had 30 channels on TV, the phone was attached to the wall and it took me 10 minutes to dial on to the Internet. I have instituted the following things to help keep me on task:

1. I adjusted Little Man's beloved Netflix time to when I want to write. I settle him in the living room with the PS3 controller, because yes, he knows how to change the shows.
2. I physically unplug the Internet from the desktop computer. There shall be no reading blogs, checking of Facebook/twitter/instagram, or anything else during writing time.
3. I set the timer on my phone, then climb a ladder and put it in the cabinet above the fridge. I then put the ladder in the closet.

These may seem like drastic measures, but after three days of getting a paragraph done in an hour I had to do something. Sure, Little Man still comes to check in on me ("how's the writing, mom? Are you writing good words?") but he is starting to understand that writing time means Mommy does not get up until the timer goes off.

I also think I'm struggling because I'm writing about my father. It's extremely emotional for me. It's why I chose to write in the morning and not at night--if I have to write a particularly hard section, I can shake it off by dancing around the living room while Little Man sings Thomas the Train songs instead of taking the sadness to bed with me.

I'm also learning that taking that hour for writing means an hour gets taken away from something else (you mean I don't get an extra hour to write? Whaaat? It's nonsense, I know).

Taking a full hour just to myself is something I struggle with as a mother. So when I use that hour writing, it means I don't get to read other blogs as much, or participate in online discussions, or get my writing boot camp done. And that's okay, for the most part. But one of the reasons I was excited about NaNoWriMo was the virtual camaraderie--the one I've had zilch time to be involved in, because I'm busy writing.

So as this second full week begins, I'm going to work on my time management. I know there are people who are much busier who get much  more done than I do. If you're one of them, don't be shy. Speak up and tell me your secrets!

In the mean time, here's a little blurb I wrote this week. I'm pretty happy with it.

Right after his death, I prayed to dream about my father. I would lay in bed, thinking hard about him, until I drifted off to sleep. But the dreams about him didn’t come for 2 years.

            I did, however, hallucinate about him once, about a year after. Or maybe it wasn’t a hallucination—I still haven’t decided. I was having all of my wisdom teeth removed, and I was scared to death about the anesthesia that would be used to put me under. I was terrified I wouldn’t wake up—so terrified, in fact, that I had a very serious discussion with my doctor about staying awake through the procedure. I didn’t decide until the morning of the surgery to go ahead with the anesthesia.

            That doesn’t mean that I didn’t fight it. Of course, there is only so much fighting you can do against that stuff—but I did it hard enough that my doctor’s brow furrowed. “Relax, Allyson,” he told me as he fiddled with a dial. “Tell me about your husband. What does he do?”

            As I went into a detailed description of John’s new job at the theater, I fought to keep my eyes open. And then, sitting behind the doctor and nurse, on one of those little rolling stools, was my father.

            “And does John enjoy his work?” The doctor was asking me.

            “Um…” I said. “Yes, he likes using the creative and business sides of his brain simultaneously.”

            The doctor chuckled, and said something else, but I was distracted.

            My father smiled at me. He sat with his feet on the wheels, hands resting on his lap. He was wearing khaki shorts, the old high top sneakers from when I was little, and a shirt with an Aztec-like print on it. I recognized it from my childhood. 

            “It’s okay,” he told me, still smiling. “You’re safe, I’m here.”

            And then I went to sleep.
When I was pregnant, I dreamt about him all the time. In one dream, we sat at the kitchen table and ate cherry pie. I don't even like cherry pie.
“You’re pregnant, you should be allowed to eat all the pie you want,” he told me. The next morning I went to the grocery store, bought an entire pie and devoured the whole thing sitting on the living room floor.
And I was so happy.

1 comment:

  1. Wow I wanna read it!! PS You need to make that font bigger. I actually had to copy and paste it into word and make it bigger lol.