NaNoWriMo Week 2 progress

I am so busy writing for Nano that my progress reports are running three days late!

Week 2 began with a crash: I came to a screeching halt after my auspicious start! My daily word count plummeted and I was frozen in whatthehelldoIdonow? Desperate for help, I turned to the amazing NaNoWriMo forums and read about Plot Doctoring and Word Wars and other helpful things. I posted a distress call to the boards and my fan journals and got encouragement. And I found this blog by checking Twitter for #nanowrimo.

Martha Alderson saved my book from certain doom. Her post “The End of The Beginning” was exactly what I needed to find on that day, Nov. 8, when I had no idea what to do. The blog told me things I did not want to hear: like I needed to stop reworking the safe ground of lovely description and character backstory and get on with it. But I could feel that she was right, so I took a leap and bought her book (on Kindle; a first for me.) The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master told me more things that were difficult, but thrilling, to hear. Such as the way our character’s problems and our novel’s problems all lead back to our own shortcomings. And how the flaws of the character are essential for an interesting story. And that some writers are linear/action oriented, and some are description/feelings oriented, and that we each need to strengthen the side we are weakest in, in order to have a successful book. Wow.

Great things that happened in Week 2:

  • got out of “the beginning” and into the action-packed middle of the book
  • developed secondary characters including my most villainous one and his motivations
  • went to two great write-ins where I met fellow NaNoWriMos from DC, Maryland, Hawaii and Australia!
  • cranked up my word count by sticking with it even when it was tough, or I thought it was dumb
  • made a good back-up system and backed that up too

By Monday the 14th I had reached  22,589, only 749 words behind a 50k-in-30-days schedule!

However, as with last week, the midweek days see lower word counts than the weekend, so here I am heading into the homestretch of Week 3 running seriously behind! So, here I go again: I am heading to town to enjoy an afternoon with a friend, and then we’re both going to do some serious wordsmithing. Writing in the courtyard of the National Portrait Gallery should be delightful.  And when it grows darker and we need caffeine and sustenance, we’re heading for Teasim.

 I accept all wishes  and prayers for productive, creative FLOW!

NaNoWriMo Week 1 progress!

(Written last week)

So far I’ve met or exceeded the daily average goal: 1667 words a day. Sometimes it flows like water, sometimes it’s a muddle and words get squeezed out with effort. But something bigger than I’ve ever imagined is coming along.

It gives me a sense of what it takes to create art on a large scale – a mature project, for lack of a better word.

I have great hope for my novel, that it can be something that has the potential to have broad reach, impact, create controversy, or at least conversation. Something that draws on my unique set of experiences and makes something amazing out of them.

Week One: 12058 words.

Wish me good speed!

Getting Ready for Creative Camp!

I am expecting a few friends for the weekend. Twelve, to be exact. Why would I volunteer to have 12 houseguests, you ask?

Well, imagine a weekend pajama party with the most creative, intelligent, generous friends, all met via internet, all willing to travel to my home in the Swamp Forest and put up with me and my pets.

We’ll share our art and writing, play outside (hike by the river, backyard bonfire), cook and eat delicious, healthy food, sing, laugh and laugh some more.

It’s the 4th Annual Fangirl’s Retreat, back by popular demand. What started with a few local Harry Potter fans in 2008 has grown to include fans of  not just Harry Potter but Sherlock Holmes (all versions), British dramas, and numerous TV series and movies. Folks are coming from all over the east coast.

Several of us are signed up for NaNoWriMo, and there will be more artists this year. Stay tuned for creativity unbound!

God is in the Body

After my recent mountain trip, I was pretty unhappy with my level of fitness. My balance, flexibility and endurance were not adequate for rock-hopping and hiking steep slopes. So, upon returning I got my butt to the gym (for the first time in over six months!) .  First stop: yoga class.

When last I did yoga the most difficult thing was my fear and shame. My self-criticism has been quite unbearable in yoga in the past, defeating all the ‘peace-of-mind benefits. I despised how little I could do, felt tidal waves of shame, was deeply afraid of pain and injury, and experienced profound feelings of failure. The only place from there was despair.

YUCK! Who would volunteer for this experience?

But something has changed. I went into the gym dreading that yoga class, and yet when I was there, moment to moment, I was completely OK. I would feel my limitation (“I can’t do it right”) then came the shame, then fear.  This time I was able to take in the direction “just breathe”  because I prayed for help.

I’ve recently come back to a 12-Step program after a long absence, and just celebrated 9 months of new-found serenity and health. I’ve been actively learning to pray, and with the help of my sponsor and others, get comfortable with God.

Religion was not presented to me in a favorable light growing up, and although my spirituality has always run deep and wide, I’ve missed out on so much that mainstream religion has to offer. The biggest challenge for me in 12-Step (and everywhere else?) is to Let Go and Let God.

But a simple miracle occurred in that yoga class. When I prayed deeply for help I went from feeling desperate and broken to a sense of deep peace, where I could stop fighting and let go of pain and fear. It has revolutionized not only my experience of yoga, but my relationship with my own body.

By asking for help I was able to stay present and “just breathe.”  I feel like I’ve met God inside in a really tangible way. And I carry God with me where ever I am.

Now I not only get through a yoga class, I can enjoy it. And all the benefits!