Thursday was a fun day. School went smoothly with Andy. There was nothing complicated about Ian and Tim’s work or lives that involved me driving all over town. I went to Aldi’s and picked up this Charlie Brown Christmas tree for $7.99.  It’s living on my desk right now and it makes me smile. I stayed up super late Thursday night and went to bed assured that I had passed 50,000 words on my terrible novel. By Thursday, it was all about hitting 50,000 words,  I don’t think this particular effort is savable in terms of being something worth reading.  But, there is so much to be learned trying to write so quickly in such a short period of time and I don’t regret doing any of the Nano challenges.

Woke up Friday am and tried to validate my novel on the official Nano Website. It’s kind of dumb really.  I know I wrote the words.  I know I made the effort.  But, getting the little winner’s logo is a bonus. The novel would NOT validate.  By around 5:00 pm, it was showing I still had 3500 words to write. I can write fast, but that’s a lot. Word counters on various programs can be different and, in the past, I always have tried to allow for a nice cushion.  This year was close and it was looking like I was screwed.

Poor Mike called on his way home only to get me nearly in tears and whining – no, I don’t think sleep deprivation had a thing to do with my mood.  I love Mike.  He listened.  He did not try to fix it.  He came home with these beautiful flowers and a plan for dinner that did not involve me. The flowers are extra awesome. My favorite movie is “It’s a Wonderful Life” and there’s a funny moment where a character is stuck in the hydrangea bushes. This bunch of flowers has two huge hydrangea “pods.” For all the times Mike doesn’t get me, when he does, he really gets me. I am very lucky in the husband department.

Around 11:57, after writing another 2000 words and finding another way to upload the novel, I WON!  I got my little logo – see it? Bask in it, if you like.  And now, I can resume my normally scheduled life.  Whew!

It’s like college finals!

As a rule, I’m not really a procrastinator.  I’m more of a give me the bad news first kind of gal. I don’t get on the computer until I’ve done everything that needs to be done each morning (which explains why I’m never on until lunch time), I eat my vegetables first at meals – not because I love them, but because they’re a necessary evil, you know, I’m that person. BUT . . . each November, I attempt to write a novel and each November, I find all kinds of reasons to put it off.  This year is no different.  I used to do the same thing in college when I had a big paper or a big test.  The house/apartment had to be spotless and all distractions had to be removed before I could get going.

Last year, the biggest foil to my writing was having to share space with Mike and the boys.  The house is small and the general living area contains the computer, the tv and, generally, 2-12 boys/men. I’m fairly adept at tuning out boy-noise, but NOT that adept.  The result was, I was not sitting down to write until midnight or after.  It was not pretty for any of us.  

Yesterday, I was talking/whining to Mike about this dilemma and he suggested moving our bookshelves to form a semi-wall between the living room and the office area.  I love Mike. Of course, this took FAR longer than either of us anticipated. Why are things that should be so simple so hard?  Mike and Andy finally moved  the shelves. After that, I was on my own. I had to replace books and fashion some kind of office.  And I did.  I even managed to save a wall for a strip of butcher paper and notes and all kinds of things I’ve always wanted to do in November.  It’s kind of fun to have my own little space.

(This is what is looks like if you crawl in on your side from the front door – sorry, I could not get it flipped!)

Today I got Andy up early and we did school and then I dragged him out to do monster grocery shopping. He was not thrilled, but he’s old enough that I can give him half of the list and the whole job gets done soooo much faster. The thing about the Nano writing is, I cannot relax until I know everything else is taken care of – well, mostly – for the month.  

Between stores, we stopped at a place called Back Yard Burgers for lunch.  As we were sitting in the beautiful 80 degree sunshine, shouting erupted inside the little building where they make the burgers.  At first we thought it was just the employees goofing around.  When we saw the tiny lady dressed in a security guard outfit who had been standing in line waiting for her food dive through the little pick up window, Andy and I realized no one was goofing around.  

I’m an idiot.  For someone who watches as much news as I do, I should have considered what was going on.  Instead, we cleaned up the remains of our lunch and meandered to the car as three police cars came screeching into the place and hauled a man out on his face/stomach. Andy and I got in to the car and it was only as I turned the ignition that I thought, “What if that man had had a gun?” GAH!!!!!  I just don’t generally jump to the bad conclusion first. Maybe I should change my thinking? That was scary.

In the meantime, enjoy the pics of my new “office-ish” (as we’re calling it).   Still no writing done, BUT the house is spotless, menus are made for the month, food is in the house, laundry is caught up, cinnamon rolls are ready to go for the morning and Mike and the kids are on board to take care of themselves from here on out. I hope to get a lot done this weekend.  All I need now is for a plot to drop out of the sky onto my head!  😉

It’s November!

It really is November! You know what that means . . . Nano novel-writing time. I’ve managed to complete six of my seven attempts at writing a novel in one month. I guess I am going to try for an eighth time. There’s a slight problem, though. I have NOT ONE CLUE what I want to write about. I need to get with the program. Anyone have any thoughts? Random is good. Character names? I just need something to get me started . . . HELP!!!!!!!!!!

Home inspections . . .

I am dying trying to write this silly novel.  My house is clean, clean, clean.  The laundry is completely caught up.  The garden is weeded.  The pantry is stocked.  Meals are being made and served pretty close to a normal dinner time.  The schoolwork is graded and planned for the next couple of weeks.  Wait!  I’m not done.  My toe nails are painted.  Things are plucked, shaved or whatever they need.  Emails are answered.  Bills are paid.  And, still I procrastinate – I never procrastinated when I was young. I hate getting old.

As I procrastinate (and consider going to the street behind our house to set the dog that has been barking for two hours straight free), I’ve been wondering what Nora Roberts or Stephen King or Maeve Binchy’s  or other prolific writer’s houses look like (pre-making-the-millions)?  Maybe this is something normal???

Okay, I AM going to set that poor dog free. If you’re going to have a dog in  neighborhood of small lots, you have to let the dog in the house.  Crate training is a good thing.  If you do not have acres and acres and acres surrounding your house, you simply cannot leave a dog trapped in a small space all night long and ignore its barking.  (And, yes, I did let my kids cry themselves to sleep sometimes.) This poor little dog (based on its bark) is frantic.

Home again, home again . . .

The convention is over (Ian got to meet and talk to the guy in the picture,Marc Wilson, who is now 81.  Ian thought he was great – funny, smart and very knowledgable).  

Those of you on Facebook know that I lost about 4000 words of my novel  on Saturday due to my own stupidity (save, save, save, stupid) and a blip with my power source.  I went to bed Friday night with 6200 words.  I wrote another 2200 or so that morning.  GAH. The set back was  frustrating.  The upside was, it was frustrating and I was on my own.  Ian was happily occupied.  I had no one to feed, no laundry to do, no dog to take care of  … it was just me and my frustration.  I bundled up – this is so sad, there were people on the beach in their bikinis – in a long sleeved t-shirt, my giant fleecy sweatshirt, jeans, sturdy shoes and even socks (I never wear socks) and hit the beach for a long, long walk.  It was a wonderful thing to be able to do.  I put my hood up and marched to the pier and back.  Maybe 4-6 miles. In the freezing sand.  Uphill both ways. 

When I reached the hotel I was fuh-reezing, but happy.  I’m sure the people I passed on the beach thought I was nuts as I indulged in my aloneness and held my usual mental conversations aloud as I walked, but oh well.  It helped me and gave them fodder for dinner conversation I’m sure.  When I got back to the hotel, I fixed some hot chocolate, a snack, climbed into my big comfy bed and turned on a stupid movie and was promptly asleep.  Ian arrived about an hour later to check in and grab something to eat.  

I got up and got back to writing until dinner.  Ian and I went to Steak and Shake for dinner, I dropped him at the arts center where there was a giant magic show going on and headed back to the hotel for a few hours.  Picked Ian up.  It is so beyond rare that I have ever spent this kind of time one-on-one with any of my kids.  We headed back to the hotel and Ian filled me in on the show.  It was about 10 pm.  Ian went back to the dealer’s suite – tons of magic stuff for sale and everyone hanging out.  I went back to typing and writing.  Around midnight, Ian came back to the room for good.  

We talked magic (more I listened magic), we talked about my novel and Ian gave me some interesting plot solutions/ideas.  Then he went to read the books he’d picked up over the weekend and I went back to writing.  We turned the clocks back around 1 am.  Ian went to bed.  I’m easily fooled so I stayed up and wrote some more thinking to myself, it’s an hour earlier.  Sheesh – some day I am going to pick up on this trick.  

I’ve been fighting off a cold for about 7 days now.  Today my body caved. Ian left the room early, early.  I crawled out of bed feeling like I’d been hit by a great big sinus/sore throat stick.  I was so happy to realize there were only two of us and picking up the room and packing up the car was a breeze.  I’m used to the six of us going places and we usually just get a valet cart to haul all of our stuff.  We drove home, only about an hour, and I crashed on the couch.  Colds are stupid.  It’s not like you’re sick-sick, you’re just a little sick and that’s not enough to allow you to skip life.  Well, only for a little bit.  

What a great weekend.  I’m so proud of Ian – who won second place in the Junior stage competition – the kid who won used his baby brother as a prop – who can compete against a baby????  I’m so happy to have had this time to spend with him.  Happy and weepy – not many more magic conventions in our future – well, I guess there could be, I’m just talking about conventions we’ll go to together before it gets creepy..  

And, to top it off, I surpassed my goal getting 10,000 words written this weekend.  If I hadn’t lost the 4000 words (and the time that cost me) I would have been closer to 20,000.  But 10,000 puts me in the running for making 50,000 by the end of the month.  And, with Ian’s astute suggestions, the book might actually make sense when it’s done.  We’ll see.

I don’t want to procrastinate, and, yet, I do . . .

I have less than two days to finish my novel.  I know this.  Yet, I have found every excuse NOT to finish.  Why do people procrastinate? Why do I procrastinate? The ideas are there, the words are there, but I have found every excuse in the book NOT to finish. Why am I sabotaging myself, when it’s only myself that loses?  Gah … 

I have a clean, beautifully (if I do say so myself) decorated holiday-ish house.  Like that could not have awaited until December 1 or beyond? 

OK – just had to come clean.  I’m off to try and finish this novel . . .

I’m just a poor boy . . .

Though I have abandoned you for now, I haven’t really abandoned you.  I’m on a mission to provide you with interesting, useful youtube content until I finish this hellacious novel.  Yes!  I’m still having fundammit.  Yes! I will finish. 

Can I ask a favor?

I know many of you think the whole Nano thing is a weird way to spend a month of your life. But, I really love it. For me, it’s a chance to do something I love, even if I’m not that skilled, and when it’s done, it’s done and it’s mine and it’s not related to anything or anyone else. I think after so many years of homeschooling, it’s time I reclaim some things just for me.

So, in addition to this being important to me personally, I’ve also learned a lot about myself over the past three Novembers. One, I cannot think clearly when my family is floating around the house. I just can’t do it. Two, I will find whatever distraction I can to avoid sitting down to write, even when what I really want to do is sit down and write. It’s crazy. The house has to be picked up, the dishes done (or at least out of sight), the laundry going . . . I think it’s a form of mental illness, actually. A normal person can ignore a sink of dirty dishes every now and then, right? Three, my weirdness is dragging me down – I’m behind on my writing this week because of my insane need to get everything else done first. Dan and Ian are camping all weekend. I’m hoping with half of the kids gone, I can get a lot done this weekend – half the drama, half the noise, half the laundry and no need to find a vegetarian option for dinner – that’s several hours right there. Which leads me to my question for you?

For those of you who have blogs, may I browse your comments and borrow from them? If you have a blog that you’re hiding from me will you please share it with the group?
I won’t use any comments word-for-word or even in context and I certainly won’t use names, real or online – I think I’m incapable of doing that anyway, but here’s my promise. My book involves a blog and I’m hoping to use the comment section of the blog part of the book to boost my word count. It feels wrong to go to the many blogs I read to scan them for inspiration from the comment sections without asking permission. And, this book is going nowhere, it’s just something I want to do. If you have objections OR if it’s okay with you, please let me know via email ( or in the comment section.

Working title for the book? Split-Life Crisis. (But that’s just for today, it changes daily.)

My great husband, writing, computers and other random observations

Mike is the best husband. Having three older teens in the house and trying to keep track of them and keep them on track is wearing me far thinner than I would have thought possible . . . Mike, while he’s not here a lot, is not stoopid. He knows, I don’t think he understands, how much I love November and the whole NanoWriMo thing. Sure, it’s not for everyone, but it’s something that I’ve grown to love.

As I was typing last night, I thought about how much faster I type on a keyboard than I did back in 8th and 9th grade when I was learning to type on a manual typewriter. It’s a wonder books got written at all … I have consigned myself to a sub-par class of wimps who would rather eat their own livers than write out a book long-hand or on a manual typewriter. As I was thinking about the manual typewriters, I was also thinking about how much time I can and do waste on the internet. I enjoy this time and maybe I come away marginally more informed, but dang, it’s a lot of time just gone.

Mike stepped in this weekend to handle the cooking and basic laundry essentials while I wrote. I managed 5000+ words yesterday and, while they may not be the content of the next great American novel, I had a lot of fun. Today, Mike took the boys to Downtown Disney for a Lego thing. Dan refused to go, but apparently Mike left him with instructions not to bother me either.

I confess, I didn’t write much. I moved things around and cleaned things that have been making me crazy for at least a year. I cleaned the bathrooms. I considered mopping, that counts, right? BUT, as I did these things, unencumbered by family, I was able to think things through and kind of make sense of them. Emphasis on “kind of.”

We’ll see, I’m off to type for an hour or so. I think it will make sense when all is said and done, but no promises.


I feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick the stupid football!

I just wrote about 5000 words for my novel – they are gone. Gone! Poof! Like they never existed. I’m so depressed right now – they were pretty good words, too. It’s too late, even for me, to start over. Tomorrow is a new day, right?