Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Midweek NaNoPost

I am not going to jump on the bandwagon intent on running down this year's nominee for Biggest NaNoWriMo Basher. I had a choice this morning of reading this nitwit's opinion of me and all my fellow NaNo'ers, or making an apple pie for dessert tonight. The apple pie easily defeated the nitwit.

I love to think about story when I'm cooking, especially when I'm baking apple pie. The oven warms up the kitchen, and the apples add a nice tart scent to the air as I peel and slice them. I add cinnamon and get a little reckless with the nutmeg; I love the smell of nutmeg.

They should call it baker's cocaine, my protagonist tells me as she invites me to walk with her through her next scene. And as I'm rolling out the pie crust, I'm also standing in an orange grove with her spying on her nemesis, who is doing laps in his heated pool. We both hate him, but we also both think he's got a killer bod. The mix of her feelings stirs along with my spoon as I toss the apple slices and consider the outward/inward manner in which she'll react when half-naked Nemesis discovers her lurking around his place. In the process I learn something new about both characters.

Finally my pie is constructed, and I take a photo of it before I pop it in the oven. It's not going to win any pastry beauty contests, but the taste will be a luscious, not-too-sweet delight. I know from experience that my guy and our daughter will demolish at least half of it after dinner. They aren't expecting it, either, so it'll be a nice surprise. Now it's time to get back to writing; I'm relaxed, happy, and mentally ready to put this scene on the screen. I have a couple of hours to work, then it's off to do school pick-up, homework patrol and get dinner rolling. Right now I feel like I could wrestle a couple of bears, too.

That's how I work, and I couldn't do it if I was busy running around the internet reading trash written by bashers. I knew as soon as I heard about this disgruntled little soul that if I read the piece, I'd get offended and depressed and pissed off, and probably spend another hour trying to detox from it before I even tried to write. There would probably be a couple of TUMs involved in that process. I wouldn't feel like cooking, so no homemade apple pie for my family, and no time to spend with my protagonist or walk through the scene with her. I wouldn't have discovered anything new about my characters, and the chapter and the story would have suffered for it.

As important as your writing time is, what you do during your non-writing time also has an impact on the work. Baking a pie is work, but it's also magic. It's like creative alchemy; it gives back a dozen times what it requires in effort. Just the aromatherapy benefits alone (my house will smell wonderful all afternoon) are worth the trouble. It also gave me time to wonder, and relax, and indulge in some imaginary choreography. As busy as my life is, that kind of time is unbelievably precious.

Living the writing life means making a lot of choices. You can spend your non-writing time immersed in contempt, and hatred, and cleverly-worded tantrums, and waste your energy going after the people who live for that crap (who could care less what you think, btw.) You can let it sour you, make you bitter and discontented, and eventually burn up whatever talent you have feeding the high-octane engines of your perpetual anger.

Or you can shut it off, walk away from the wolves and the sheep, and use your non-writing time to accomplish something personal that has meaning to you. Something that fills you with warmth and satisfaction (we do call it refilling the well for a reason), boosts your self-esteem, renews your sense of creativity and makes you and those who share your life happy. Something that gives back more than what you brought to it.

I know which one makes me a better writer, how about you?


  1. The less time I spend on the internet, the happier I am.

  2. Sounds like a wonderfully satisfying way of using up your hands so your mind can wander. I'm not half so useful as I play video games while I ponder just how my characters are going to act, but so far so good. Reading silly people is not effective to my mind.

  3. I really wish I had read this post before reading said nitwits thought about I failed I guess.

    And I completely agree with you. What we do with our non-writing time affects the way we approach writing, or, for me...HOW I write. I am still so new to this that sometimes my emotions get in the way and I write something that doesn't come out the way it should. Oh well, that can be fixed in revision. Right now I just want to plow ahead otherwise I won't ever get any new words.

    In the future though I really want to try and not be so curious next time though, because, can anyone understand what being a writer is about if they are not one themselves? At least, that's how I look at it. And I am actually not angry like I thought I was going to be. More like doubting myself, and I actually think thats worse. :(

    Well, I'm progressing in Nano even after reading the bashers comments. It's raw, and it'll need a lot of revision afterwards...but they are my words, my story and NO ONE is going to make me stop writing. Ever. Even if this book never sees the light of day, even if I never get will I know until I try?

    Glad you made the apple pie, Lynn. It looks delicious.

  4. Have you been channelling Nigella again? I love the scent of apple pie; it has a sensuality all on it's own.

    I haven't been reading about any Nano bashers, but I've been writing instead of reading (although I will confess to a bad tempered comment about those who have been... less than truthful about their world counts).

    I'm hanging my head in shame now.

  5. It's a universal truth. Someone is always wrong on the internet.

    We could spend our time trying to set that person straight, which is futile, or we could set things straight in our story worlds, which delights ourselves and our readers.

    Please pass the pie.

  6. Your post and your pie are both awesome. Although I feel a little left out - I haven't read any NaNo bashing posts. If I had stumbled across one, though, I'd just ignore it. Life's too short to play with trolls. I hope everyone enjoyed the pie. =o)

  7. My grandmother gave me a great piece of advice: "Avoid people who make you unhappy." I find avoidance is pretty easy. All it takes is judgment and caller ID.

    I think your post points out that it is also important to avoid activities that make us unhappy. Feeding the soul (and stomach) is very important, and the quality of food with give it does matter.

    I'm slightly behind on NaNo, but the rest of my life's been a bit up in the air these last few weeks. I hope all is resolved today! I have the morning, as well, to work on my novel... and I will use it!

  8. I've been so disconnected that I didn't know there was a Nano basher nitwit.

  9. Have no idea about the bashing, but I really want to do some baking now : )

  10. Thank you. I really needed this one...

  11. Three cheers to you for taking the high road! A positive attitude is always always much more attractive. And I really think that apple pie looks scrumptious!

  12. Pie makes me the better writer, every time. (Especially the devouring it after dinner part.)

  13. Anonymous6:31 PM

    I'm going with the pie and the calm thoughts that go with it. Love the heart in the middle of your crust!


  14. If you need some motivation here's an article on classic books that were written in less than a month

  15. Beautiful pie! And thank you for the reminder about what is important. :)

  16. Oh that pie looks yummie!

    I'm avoiding the bashers, too. ALL the bashers. What a waste of time, theirs and ours.

    And I finished Writers Gone Wild today -- What a charming and funny book! Highly recommended. I'll hop over to Goodreads ASAP and 5-star it.

  17. I needed to read this last night before I got upset about an emotional topic bloggers and facebookers were debating on. I got all worked up, then sad, then angry, and my energy level plummeted. I'm at a part in my novel where I have to make some decisions on how to handle a crisis one of the characters has and that completely sidetracked me. Ugh. Thanks for the wonderful post.

  18. I'm so on my way over. YUM!!!

  19. Anonymous8:23 PM

    I'm with Carlene-I've spent close to zilch time on the net the last few months, and you know what? I love it. I'm happier, and I find these awesome things to tuck into sories because I'm conversing with people-actual people, and they're all kinda weird (as we all are in our own way).

    OK, I have to say, the first thing I thought about when I clicked on your bloggy was ...."Her stove is that clean?"

    Pie looks gorgeous.