BURNED OUT, BLOCKED & BUMMED: MY MONTH AS A NANOWRIMO MANIAC
by Honeydew Zubari
I spent the month of November frantically pounding out a book for the Nanowrimo contest. I crawled gasping over the finish line on the 28th with a whomping manuscript of 50,405 words. Thank you very much! And congrats to my writing/griping/cheerleading buddy and the only taker to the challenge I issued—Ian of the outback, the fastest one-fingered typer in Australia.
Monday, November 1 - the contest started at midnight, but I decided to get a good night’s sleep and start fresh. My furry alarm clock named Saki woke me at 5:30, earlier than I’d planned, but good enough. I decided to keep this journal and see how I progress as the month goes. Word number one, here I come! This is too exciting.
Tuesday, November 2 - took the morning off to vote. Back to typing right away, see how diligent I am? I can’t type fast enough to get all the ideas down. WC 7,221, not bad for a day and a half of writing!
Wednesday, November 3 - the Nanowrimo t-shirts came today. Spiff! I got my support team (Jim) one that says, “I’m a lover, not a writer.” He wore it to the grocery store and a bagger read his shirt and said, “You’re a writer? Cool! I always wanted to try doing that.” I would have told him to learn to read first. Good deal, now I’ve got my comfy huge tee, and my diet Coke, and I’m ready to dive back into my book-in-progress.
Oh… the less said about the elections the better, or I’ll be writing a book on them right here. It looks like Bush is going to be our president again. I can’t stand it! Are people in America morons? Well, obviously they are- we’re the dumbest nation in the world. But I thought they’d at least have their eyes opened by what’s happening in Iraq.
Saturday, November 5 - 4:00 a.m., writing like crazy!! The book is moving right along, some parts actually write themselves, which is wonderful. When that happens the prose is always true to itself, no fakeness or sounding forced.
Monday, November 8 - Week #2! - Of all the ***ing times to pick up a ****ing computer virus! I was doing some research when something downloaded itself. Uh-oh. I had to buy a spyware program and my support team managed to turn back the computer and clean it up, so after a delay of a mere seven hours I was up and running again. Talk about gnawing my fingers to the bone! I just knew all my files would be fine except for the book. WC of the day-12,306.
Wednesday, November 10 - into the double-digit days now. Life sucks. It’s gorgeous outside and I have to stay here staring at the screen and the walls and the floor. Good cripes, when was the last time I vacuumed? Writer’s block has set in already. I’m doomed. Seven chapters have been roughed out and now I’m stuck. Can I kill everyone off and start with a fresh cast in the middle of the book? Wouldn’t that be like…what’s the word…great, now my mind has gone. WC accomplished today: 5 - only because I wrote the same word down and deleted it three times, otherwise it wouldn’t be that high. Grrrr, this writing gig stinks. Speaking of, maybe it’s time I took a shower. Even the cats won’t come near me now.
Saturday, Nov. 13 -Sabotague! It has to be. The normally silent woman upstairs started blasting music this morning at 9:00. The bass vibrated the pictures on my walls and made the monitor dance around in an irritating way. Just when I thought I’d have to pull out my rocket launcher, it stopped. Blessed peace! I typed merrily away for a full five minutes, until a basketball game broke out up there. What the…? Nerves frazzled, no sleep, over caffeinated, jumpy- I called my support team and screamed for him to get over here and take care of the situation before I did. He broke every speed law his 12-year-old car can still break and arrived bearing cookies. He explained to the woman that while normally I’m the picture of patience and wouldn’t complain if she decided to teach elephants to use pogo sticks, just now might be a bad time to drop a Kleenex on the floor.
Monday, November 15- Week three. Enough said. WC a joke.
Friday, November 19 - today the sinks backed up. I was eating my breakfast banana when an ominous gurgling-glubbing-glugging came from far away and got louder and louder until Old Faithful erupted in my kitchen. Not knowing what to do, I left it to the cats and came in here and typed. I have more important things to worry about, at least until the water gets ankle deep. Then I’ll switch over to the laptop and sit on top of the dining room table.
Saturday, November 20- had to take time away for some housecleaning-laundry, dishes, etc. Didn’t have a choice, really- Saki took up residence on my right hand, trying to get me to stop typing and pay attention to her. I wonder if I could bribe her to finish this stupid book? Need to empty the trash in here anyway, it’s full to brimming with soda cans. I cleaned the litterbox this morning, the cats must have been shocked. Monday November 22- start of week four. Hmpf.
Thursday, November 25- Happy Thanksgiving. I can’t believe my sister is threatening to disown me if I don’t show up at her house for dinner. She has no priorities. I guess I’ll have to take time away, although the minutes are becoming more precious by the, er, minute. Only five days left. WC so far- 42,011.
Friday, November 26 - bloated on turkey and fixings. Gag. Couldn’t work last night, the third slice of pumpkin pie did me in. Crawled into the house, slept on the foyer. Woke up this morning with the cats eyeing me, wondering if I was edible. Got…to…work…on,,,story.
Ian finished. He types with one finger and he beats me. Hmpf. The booger. Of course he doesn’t goof off near as much as I do, which is probably why.
Sat. 27th- 48,861 words, give or take a few. Haven’t slept in 24 hours. I think I have thumb cancer. Must be strong and not succumb until the month is over and I’ve won this bloomin’ contest.
Sunday November 28- Turned the book in today and nearly cried when “You’ve won!” flashed on the screen. Well, I did it. In less than a month, 28 days to be exact, I wrote a novel from the ground up. And now I just want to rest my weary brain and the rest of me-detox from too much caffeine and learn how to sleep through the night again without waking up in a screaming panic that the contest is ending tomorrow and I still have 30,000 words left to type. No more fears that my computer will crash before I can submit my book, or the power will fail, not coming on again until December 1st. It’s done, recorded; I started with an idea and have a finished book. Wahoo!
Monday, November 29 - now what do I do? I’ve spent the month worrying and pounding on the keyboard until my fingers are twisted into shapes nature never meant them to be in, and are a good inch shorter than when I began my quest. I threw artistic tantrums and my support team made me cookies and fussed over me.
It’s kind of like being a kid and waiting for Christmas to come from the minute Halloween ends. Christmas Eve is endless, each second an agony, taking ten hours to tick past. Then finally, at last, it’s morning and time to see what Santa left under the tree. There’s frantic unwrapping and laughing and sharing, and breakfast and then Dad’s cleaned up the mess, “to clear a fire aisle,” and it’s over. Even though there’s grandparents and friends to visit and bunches of neat new stuff to play with, there’s still a sort of lost, achy, it’s over until next year feeling and you want the clock to turn back so you can start all over again.
Tuesday, November 30- End of the month already? Fried brain, fat butt from too many cookies and no exercise, muscles gone to mush, diet coke cans piled to the ceiling, cats on strike and threatening mutiny… time to start the rewrites! Yay!
©2004, Susan “nubby fingers” Scott