Saturday, November 06, 2010

EndWeek NaNoPost

This first week of NaNoWriMo I felt like I'd gotten caught up in a secret conspiracy to keep me from writing. To give you the Reader's Digest version:

Monday: Go to scheduled doctor's visit, have unscheduled minor surgery, hobble home, write while ignoring new and mysterious jaw pain, pain results in sleepless night #1.

Tuesday: Go for emergency dentist visit, root canal not required (hooray) but if I don't stop stressing I may have to begin wearing a mouth guard to bed (whine), too wired to nap but manage a little more writing, stress over stressing results in sleepless night #2.

Wednesday: Protagonist #2 refuses to let me in his head, write three pages of utter crap, my voice fails, indulge in hours of more stressing over whether I've taken the wrong approach (but I didn't clench!), massive tension headache, sleepless night #3.

Thursday: Shift into "keep busy mode" while having mental knock-down drag-out with Protagonist #2, I win, try to nap but can't, later fall into temporary couch coma and sleep through my editing time, then can't sleep when I should, sleepless night #4.

Friday: Have to skip my morning writing to edit Thursday's pages, daughter decides to have emergency BFF sleepover, set aside writing again to get guest room ready, my guy takes a day off and wants to hang with me, set aside writing yet again, I consider moving to a hotel with internet access until Dec. 1st, imagine my guy making Thanksgiving dinner, cringe and decide to write this post until they all leave tonight for the football game (I'm staying home to write in what had better be complete peace and quiet.)

The unexpected hits all of us, and one thing I've learned as a person and a writer is not to let it burrow under my hide. Life is chaotic, stuff happens, and you deal with it until you can get back to the work. Or you don't and the work grows cold, gathers dust or is abandoned.

It's hard not to feel inadequate when we don't reach the goals we set for ourselves. Guilt and blame start to settle in and gnaw at us. We envy others who don't have to arm-wrestle minor surgery or jaw pain or sleepless nights on top of the work; it's tempting to hate those who are sailing merrily along while we flounder.

Stay out of that place, because it poisons you and the writing. Laugh at it, tell a friend about it, write a blog post about it. Treat yourself to a little first-week reward for having made it through because I assure you, you had it a hell of a lot tougher than all those merry sailors who effortlessly rapped out 20K. You didn't just write twenty pages this week, you probably fought twenty battles to write those pages this week.

I would have liked my first week of NaNo to go smoother and myself to be more productive, but it's done, it's past, and I have three more weeks to play. More than ever I am determined to have fun. Can't do that if I'm too busy being disappointed over what I now cannot change.

What was your biggest challenge this week? How did you deal with it? Let us know in comments.


  1. Pain, pain, Nano-ing kids, money worries, plus more pain.

    Kids are mostly settled into writing again, insurance kicked in, doctor and blood-drawing vampires were visited, and new non-groggy-making pain meds prescribed.

    The money worries are deal-with-able, so all that is left to wait on vampire results in a week... so might as well use writing as a distraction from stressing over that.

    Why does everything happen in November?

  2. I can sympathize on the stressful week, though mine was day job deadline stress (which I later found out was more of a, "oh I told them that day so they wouldn't wait until the last minute to work on it" great, wish I'd known that before day 3, I would have had a lot less stress then!) rather than medical/pain stress. Tonight I was about to strangle the step son who is now living with us, as having had the house all to himself all day long, suddenly decides when I'm about to get settled down to writing in some complete and blessed silence, to come downstairs and turn on the tv. I said "I wasn't going to watch tv right now" I thought that made my intentions pretty clear, but he says "Oh, I was just going to see what was on..." So he did, didn't find anything, and went back upstairs for his ipod, during which time I turned the tv back off. He comes back down, flops on the couch with his ipod, and adopts a dramatic "listening" pose, I didn't realize a pose was required to listed to audio books, but maybe it is. All the while I'm sitting here looking at him with an expression I think clearly says "really? did I not make my intentions clear already?" which he is completely oblivious to. Finally I say "look, if you're just going to listen to your ipod, then please do it in the other room, because it's really creepy to have you sitting here (I wanted to add in "in your dramatic listening pose" but figured I'd better not as I was actually trying not to be a complete witch) in silence, and if I decide to play Wii Fit (while thinking about what to write next) I don't want to do it in front of you." I would add that he's 23 and currently jobless, so I wasn't being nasty to a young kid, I swear. And I just really wanted some alone time!

    Okay, now that I've completely embarrassed myself, thank you for letting me vent, and you did ask... *giggle* so now I've managed 2,002 words today (after I finally got everyone to leave me alone) and I'm going to go curl up with Twilight Fall (yep, you know the one! ;) ) and fall asleep hopefully coming up with some ideas for what to write tomorrow!

  3. My original comment was too long and got erased! *wail* it was probably a sign that it was too much whining and no one wanted to hear it! ;) So, my biggest challenge, I write best with no one else around, and music on only if it's something I've chosen to help the writing mood, and I didn't get that at all this week, until tonight, and I had to fight for it then. Enough said!

    Now I'm going to go curl up in bed with Twilight Fall and hopefully think up some ideas for tomorrow's writing as I'm falling asleep!

  4. Hugs, I hope you get a very good night's sleep tonight! What a week you've had! Mine has been quiet in comparison, at least as quiet as having three monsters underfoot and a full-time day job can be. However, I think the hardest thing all week was actually the best--finally finishing the wip I started NaNoWriMo with. (Yes, I know they recommend starting new projects, but I HAD to finish my current projects first to even think about participating.) That bliss of finishing after laboring on this book for months just about did me in. I immediately switched to the next project (also wip) but it's going to take me awhile to gain any momentum.

  5. OMG I'm weirdly creepily glad I'm not the only one with a horrible dentist's visit this week (jury's still out on the root canal, though...).

    I'm also moving house - perfect during NaNo. My desk is divided between two places at the moment and I have to shlep my laptop everywhere. *sigh*

    But I've kept up with my wordcount, so yay!

  6. Wednesday: physiotherapist for a damaged knee - take painkillers and write weird stuff. Keyboard offended.

    Thursday: drive half an hour to an appointment and wait an hour for a five minute chat. Get home and kill people on paper.

    Friday: wake up and run to the bathroom to puke from something nasty I ate the night before, lie on the couch, write a few words then nap; wash, rinse repeat. Keyboard cringes.

    Today: feel much better and regret the death of people on Thursday, but pound out 8k with sister visiting. Keyboard beginning to hate me.

    Tomorrow: Insurrection! Hah! Major mayhem to write. Glee! Keyboard plotting my downfall.

    Hope you get some sleep. It's the weekend and it's time for protagonists to play!

  7. Between viruses and business stuff this was a week of pure crazy. However, I have more pages than I had when I started and I've had time to think through story details. Also, when we took a walk the other day seals were resting on the beach and a pod of whales was passing. That moment made up for a lot. Being a mom has taught me to always take advantage of good writing days, accept that some will be bad and some will be impossible. The important thing is to keep coming back to it.

  8. Ack. Sorry to hear about your week. My big challenge was a chest/sinus thingie that hit Monday night and has lingered all week. Nothing like trying to NaNo with a case of medicine-head.

    I did the best I could this week and tried to write as much as I could before the couch called me again. I'm not that far behind, and hey, like you said, we have three weeks left. =o)

  9. Great advice to stay out of the envy place. "Why does everyone else get time to write but me?" can all too easily translate into "I have no time so I won't write." Everyone has lives packed to the brim. We all do the best we can. Thanks for being such a great example to those of us in the trenches.

  10. Sinus cold, funeral, funeral-related dinners and visits, further stress-induced sickness.

    Perversely I've managed to get ahead in my word count. Snapping awake hours early in the morning and being unable to fall back asleep (even though you really, really want to) can be channeled into gloriously distracting writing.

  11. Wow, what a week! Hope you feel better soon and get a good night's sleep!

    Other than juggling the usual, 4 crazy boys, and hubby's sudden desire to ebay a ton of stuff, almost a full-time job, my week's been pretty good though no more dark & early writing till I can replace the coffee pot a kiddo broke this morning, LOL

  12. Surprise surgery. Ouch!

    My auntie has recently been diagnosed with cancer and I spent a big chunk of the writing week researching good resources, helping her find a new doctor, etc. I don't regret doing it. (I'm a librarian, so I'm sort of the family researcher.)

    I got only 200 words on day one, 700 the next, skipped a day entirely, but yesterday I made my pages and then got an extra 1600 on top of that. I plan to do that today and tomorrow and sail into next week A-OK.

    It's rough trying to write when life tosses stuff at us, but when I know I can't write, I try to be glad that I've got family who I love so much (or whatever) and know the pages will be there when I crawl into bed two hours late and sneak onto the laptop.

  13. Neck pain, "female problems", packing for a move on the 15th. Got a little over 5k, but still behind.

    Oh, & sleeping with a mouth guard isn't half as bad as it sounds. I've had problems w/ my TMJ for years & sleep w/ a mouth guard every night. It takes a night or 2 to get used to, but trust me after a while you don't even feel it.

  14. I suppose I should feel better that I was not alone in having a crap week. Honestly, I haven't had so many weird things happen--in just a few short days--since, I don't know when.

    Every attempt for some quiet writing time was thwarted; then I lost two whole days where I only managed 500 words on Thursday--due to major plot change that took over my story against my will--and ZERO words yesterday due to house painting, a broken screen door requring numerous trips to Home Depot, a sick dog and...400 other problems.

    It's really frustrating for me when I try to plan things out, and everything but the kitchen sink gets in the way. Oh, no, wait, the kitchen sink DID get in the way, along with the garbage disposal.

    Let's hope the next three weeks are less complicated and stressful, and way, way more fun.

  15. I'm sick. Can't sleep, can't think, can barely see straight so if there's mispellings in this comment, I wouldn't be surprised. I've been running a fever on and off, have chills and the sweats, can't breathe through my nose, my throat is really sore, I'm coughing... I could do on but basically, the lack of sleep and not being able to concentrate means that working on my nan story is a no-go right now. I'm not worried yet because I can write 3K on a good day, 5K on a great day. Right now, it's more important that I get better and that my kids don't get sick.

  16. Anonymous1:16 PM

    Hi all frustrated Nanoers!

    Monday - worked very hard teaching, didn't make wordcount Monday night but was philosophical.

    Tuesday - had a great day of writing, but didn't catch up all the way. Status: Philosophical and excited.

    Wednesday - Taught, worked in the writing lab (almost was able to finish lunch between students), taught, came home to cook and chauffer kids, and try to help middle kid with graphing and math which took the WHOLE evening, found out the math book has online help, and in total had only two opportunities all day for alone time, which I spend in the WC. 10 minutes tops to myself. Status: guardedly optomistic.

    Thursday, I had kids home at the half day, a parent teacher conference, extra kids to help a mom soloing while her husband. is deployed and cooked a turkey that I forgot to thaw last week. Oh, and more chauffering. End result, I crashed and burned before the late dinner and went to bed with a sick stomach. I slept 12 hours. Status: too sick to be coherent

    Friday - After missing half the morning, tried to regroup and spent the day constantly surprised at the time. Found out that I will probably start substitute teaching starting next week, rather than after Thanksgiving as planned. Babies tend to do that. Status: Philosopical. I mean, really, there will be a new baby after all her hard work. And, I'll probably still get some more words, even if I don't win. :)


  17. Oww on the unscheduled surgery! It wipes out all my whining about the munchkin dropping her sweatshirt into the washer with her watch in one pocket and a kleenex in the other.

  18. oops, guess it did post both of them, after it told me that it couldn't! Sorry about that! *blush*

  19. I had a few big challenges this week. The first is I started classes that will get me ready for VT (Vocational Training) and that REALLY cut into the time I usually like to write. Plus, I'm not used to leaving my kidlet so it made that situation much worse. By the time I'd get home from said classes I no longer have anyone willing to watch my son so I try to stay up late and write after he goes to bed...but he stays up all night:( Those were the big things.

    I've tried getting up earlier, but when you already only get four or five hours of sleep thats really hard. So I tried writing at my class (oops, not a good idea) and...well, that didn't go over very well. So I'm just trying to scavange time. It's hard, but I'm only about a day behind. I think I can get caught up by tonight because hubby has agreed to give me time to write.

    Sorry if this post is worded funny or just doesn't make sense. I am extremely tired.

    Off to write more words and hopefully reach 10k by tonight!

  20. Your first sentence totally summed up my feelings this week! My work is great and amazing and three hours before leaving on Friday they said, You'll fly out to sister site on Nov. 1!

    What an adventure! Hey, isn't there something special about Nov. 1?

    (This makes the third flight out to the east coast in as many weeks) I've been working 11 hour days all week with about 1/2 hour between getting back to the hotel and totally crashing. I am so glad I'm not alone in Nano-thwartation.

  21. Thank you for the encouragement. I've been feeling really bad about how far behind I've gotten this week, but it couldn't be helped. I did the best I could and was glad each day to at least get something. Thanks for reminding me I have three weeks yet. I hope they go better for all of us.

  22. Hugs on the surgery and the jaw. I had one of those special guards for a while and I have one of the relatively ($20 rather than $500) drug store varieties now for the bad days.

    My week one has been a condensed version of my normal NaNo.

    1) Monday - Started off strong with over 2k.
    2) Tuesday - Started slowing down but still above minimum.
    3) Wednesday - Doc appointment. Did a little writing in the waiting room, and everything after was a knockdown drag out fight. Recognized I didn't know my story so wrote an initial synopsis for 2104 words that didn't count *sob*.
    4) Thursday - Synopsis wasn't enough so outlined said novel for an additional 1k of non-countingness, but pulled out a reasonable writing day.
    5) Friday - Just couldn't write all day no matter how much I tried. Managed to get just under the minimum between 10pm and 11pm.
    6) Saturday - Managed 800 early in the day, then died out to come far under the minimum.
    7) Sunday - I'm sitting on 600 words, looking at all the emails that have backed up and screaming inside :).

    What I'm trying to do is get back on track. There's enough time left that if I can get into the swing of 1667 a day from now on, there WILL be good days, enough to build up a cushion for those later bad days. I just have to get out of the bad first. Which is what I'm headed over to do right now.

    Good luck everyone. Time is on our side. Even as simple as 50 extra words a day has time to build up.

  23. Unlike other nano-years, this year I'm also committed to riding at least 20km (14-15 miles) per day for exercise.
    That can take an hour or more out of each day, which is sorely missed when I'm trying to keep the word count up...

  24. All I can offer is hugs for last week and hope this week is better for you.

    If my brain was working, I might manage more than two dozen words a day.

    But it's not.

    And I'm not.



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