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Week three of National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo) started today, and I’m back in business after a rocky week two.
The past week was going great right through Wednesday, when I hit 33, 410 words. Then my week fell apart. Thursday started with an interesting conference about support services metrics hosted by EDUCAUSE-NERCOMP. But, as I concentrated on slides and speakers, cuddled in my heavy sweater, scarf. and winter coat, I was incubating a down-for-the-count illness.
Luckily, my friends took care of me, I didn’t have to drive in the Boston traffic, and I arrived home in time to go to the walk-in clinic where my fever was kind enough to spike up to a hefty 102.9. A course of antibiotics prescribed and ibuprofen at my fingertips got me through the next 24 hours. But ultimately I missed three days of writing and my daily word average plummeted.
As my head traveled from fogland back to reality, I had to reflect on whether I was pushing myself too hard. No, I decided. I’ve been trying to take care of myself. This was just the typical cold that worked its way into my head. It has happen at least once a year for as long as I can remember. It was bound to happen this Autumn. It’s just a shame it happened this month.
When I made the commitment to participate in NaNoWriMo, I knew I had to make big changes in my life to support my decision. Family and full-time work remained my top priorities, so other things had to go to make room for writing. Below are the changes I made in my life that have contributed to my word count:
- I’m not reading. Not one book. Not one magazine. And how I miss it. There’s a pile stacking up for December. It starts with Live Free of Die by Jessie Crockett (Mystery) and Equilibrium by Lorrie Thomson (@LorrieThomson).
- I’m not cleaning, and I’m doing my best to not look at the leaves on the floor, the dog hair rolling like tumbleweed across my tile floors, and a layer of dust on top of cabinets that even Miss Havisham would envy. Blinders. That’s what I need. Blinders.
- Because I’m not cleaning, I’m not listening to any books either. The other day I did a little leaf-blowing and I listened to Innocence by Dean Koontz, but I had to set it aside because it triggered my ‘your not good enough’ thoughts. Thanks Dean Koontz.
I don’t remember the last time I grocery shopped. There are still some graham crackers, Hershey bars, and marshmallows in the cabinet. That’s got to cover at least two food groups.
- I miss my friends. I so need a Saturday morning breakfast at the diner!
- Two meetings a week this November. That’s it. All other nights are for writing or rest.
- My other novel, which had been going strong, has been set aside. Hopefully for only a month and not for three years like the last time.
- I’m not Tweeting. If you are seeing my tweets, it’s because I scheduled them last month, or it’s a re-tweet, or the tweet is announcing my latest post.
- Exercise is down from seven days to three. I miss my daily walk. But this month I’m using two of my lunch hours to write.
- TV is a luxury, not a nightly activity. Added benefit: I don’t eat ice cream when I write.
Today week three started, and I’m writing again. It’s nice to be catching up with my characters. I think they missed me. Turns out they didn’t do anything while I was gone.
The best part? With my Scrivener outline in place, I was able to start writing exactly where I left off. As of minutes ago, my word count had ratcheted up to 38,075 and I’m back on target to hit 50,000 before the holiday.