Category Archives: NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo 2013?

Two years ago, I successfully completed NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) … or maybe it was three years ago; I’ve lost track and am too lazy to go look that up. No, it was definitely two years ago. Anyway! I joined it again this year, but haven’t bothered to start writing anything. But on the way home from Morgantown yesterday, a great idea suddenly sprang into my head. I figure I might as well start writing and, in the true spirit of the event, will not pause to worry about grammar or punctuation or editing, just slop it down and see what happens. So thank you fall leaves for the inspiration for this story idea. With any luck, I’ll complete my third full novel.

Traveling always inspires me to write more. Ideas for new fiction have come to me extremely easily, ever since I was a child. The hard part has been quieting my head enough to get them down in some kind of coherent fashion!

Now on to complete some of my least favorite travel … a gnarly commute home from work. Wish me luck on both ventures!

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I Did It!

WHO IS TOTALLY AWESOME? ME! WHO IS BETTER THAN ANY POWER OUTAGES OR MALFUNCTIONING COMPUTERS? MEEEEEE

Who is sleep deprived? Well ….

Good night!

Hi, I’m Murphy’s Law

Hi! I’m Martha’s loaner computer! I like to do stupid things like randomly freeze the screen indefinitely for no reason, and completely erase all the painstaking work from the last few minutes that had not yet auto-saved! I also have a browser that hates WordPress and refuses to scroll down all the way in the post draft, making posting anything a miserable experience! I’m really annoying.

Hi! I’m Eric’s computer! I’m actually an okay guy, but sadly I’ve been the victim of four random and quick power outages this evening that ruined a lot of the work that was being done on me, since the other computer is such a jerk!

Hi! I’m a big tree that fell on the power line down the street at the worst possible time! Everyone hates me right about now.

Hi! I’m Luxembourg! I’m quiet and beautiful and far away, and I’m looking like the Star of Heaven right about now!

Hi, I’m Martha, and clearly I have lost my marbles!

……Gaaaaaaah. November: A very bad month for any computer I touch.

It’s the Holiday Season

Thanksgiving is awesome. Can we have Thanksgiving once a month? Although I missed my mom’s delicious squash casserole – she’s saving it for Christmas when my sister’s there to enjoy – several other dishes were debuted that were too yummy for words. Along with our typical turkey, cranberry sauce, homemade mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, champagne, herb stuffing, and baby sweet pickles, we had:

-Salad: broccoli florets with ground pecans and gorgonzola cheese. (A very tasty creation of my father’s!)
-A second, almost unbearably delicious stuffing with cranberry and bacon courtesy of my Aunt V.! (I said “unbearably” because now I’m sitting here craving it)
-Cauliflower and cheese casserole
-Brussels sprouts
-A new green bean dish with bread crumbs. I missed the green bean casserole we usually have, but this was a yummy substitute!
-A different kind of casserole with big chunks of butternut squash.
-Pecan pie
-Pumpkin pie

My mom is a fabulous cook, hands down, but she really outdid herself this year.

Black Friday: I don’t do Black Friday. Nothing against people who do, unless you’re that person kicking people in the groin to get your discounted LCD TV, but getting up before the crack of dawn after a day of overeating is not my idea of a good time. I’d rather sleep in for a change and then wait for Cyber Monday! But I read a few newspaper articles about many retailers trying to move Black “Friday” to Thanksgiving night and get people in the stores early. That is the worst idea I have ever heard. Don’t look at me to join in because my favorite things to do on Thanksgiving are as follows: eat, lounge around indoors, avoid crowds and stampedes.

NaNoWriMo: Oh man! There are two days of NaNoWriMo left, including today, and I’m about ready for it to be over with so I can go at a more leisurely pace! I need to do a ton of editing and more research. I’m dying to do these things before I write anymore, but I have not even broken 40,000 words yet. Eyestrain and a computer that shorted out, was fixed, and THEN refused to boot put me way behind! Never fear; quitting is not an option. I will win NaNoWriMo!

Christmas is coming soon. I have been on the look out for my favorite holiday teas, but sadly, some of them are rather elusive. My favorites are:

Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker Suite and Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride
Oregon Chai Original Peppermint Concentrate (add to milk)
Bigelow Eggnoggin’
Twinings Christmas Tea and Pumpkin Spice Chai

Sadly, I can’t find most of those at either my local Safeway or Giant, so I’ll have to try Harris Teeter next. I thought about tracking down this one stock boy at Giant that all the older ladies always come after for help getting stuff, but I think he was off for the day.

Decorations are going up all over our apartment! I already had out the Christmas lights/stockings, jolly color-changing snowman, and rotating snowmen music box (except it doesn’t make music anymore). Eric put a giant snowflake on the front of the balcony and some lights and is stringing more lights through a giant wreath right now! Sumo is having a ball playing with everything. His tubby body shakes around as he leaps after random decorations. It’s adorable how much kitties love Christmas.

I love my car’s Sirius XM radio at this time of year, especially, because of the Holiday Traditions classics station that pops up this time of year. There is also an XM station called Holly that plays holiday pop songs, but I usually prefer to avoid that one. Two Christmas seasons in a row of listening to awful 24-7 holiday “hits” like “The Christmas Shoes”, “Christmas in America” and “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” while trapped behind a returns desk will do that to ya.

Blog posts have been few and far between since I started working on NaNoWriMo, but I have tons of ones I’ll be finishing soon. Upcoming subjects include: Luxembourg, Omaha, Germany, Amsterdam, a new and very scary Place Unseen, the first of the 30 Things, the first of several entries on Arlington County’s “Walkabouts” self-guided tour program, my trip back through all the books I was required to read in school, and some fitness and nutrition program reviews!

Next planned trip is to Seaside, Florida in January! My cousin’s getting married!

NaNoWriMo, Day 15

I know it seems like all I can write about is NaNoWriMo and my novel, but I do have some other travel-related posts coming soon. Just a few things:

  • I already got my computer back. The tech was able to save the entire laptop other than the keyboard, which is being replaced tomorrow.
  • I’m hoping that when Eric eventually has time to do artwork again – which may be sooner rather than later – he’ll do the cover art. (NaNoWriMo allows you to upload some.)
  • I broke the 25,000 word mark, so I’m more than halfway through. I know I need to do some killer editing, especially to make certain aspects of the story more consistent, so it’s getting harder and harder not to turn around and do that now.
  • I’m suffering from eyestrain problems. My eyesight gets blurry from staring at the computer for too long, and then I get headaches and throbbing eyeballs. It goes away when I rest them for a while. So I’ll need to take a big break for some time. I’m 29 and I still don’t wear glasses or contacts of any kind. I can’t keep it that way forever, but I’d sure like to try.

NaNoWriMo, Day 12

Something awful happened today! Let’s set it up with some nice foreshadowing, shall we? I’ll go all Hitchcock-style and fill you with that terrible sense of dread because you can see what’s coming. I was sitting on my couch last night hammering away on my keyboard, and I thought, “You know, I should really back up this novel. I haven’t saved an extra copy since the 8th. Naaaah, I’ll just get my flash drive out and do that a little later this week.” So can you guess what happened today? Huh huh can ya?

“I’m clumsier than Bella Swan,” I spat at my friend over the phone a couple of hours ago, bawling hysterically because I had just knocked milk and cereal into my keys and watched the computer short out. “I should have played her in the movie for lord’s sake!” Only a tragedy of proportions like this could inspire me to reference Twilight of all things, of which I’m not even that big of a fan! But sadly, this is not the first time in my 29 years a thing like this has occurred. At least three other keyboards – two of the QWERTY persuasion and one a very nice and pretty new Yamaha – have suffered under the wrath of my drink droppin’ fingers. GAH! It doesn’t help that the computer in question was my work comp. I’m not concerned about my work documents because of course all of those were backed up in full force.

Not to worry. The lovely computer tech assured me that the hard drive is bone dry. But it will just take some time for me to get it back. I won’t feel 100 percent better until I can verify with my own eyes that the tens of thousands of words I’ve written since the 8th are still intact. In the meantime, I have a gigantic loaner laptop to work with. And I realized how important this novel really is to me. I might hate losing things and I might be more sensitive than many people, but I’m not one to cry over spilled milk (literally in this case, hardy har!). When a .zip disk that contained a large amount of my writing vanished somehow during a move between apartments some years back, I was sad, but I got over it. But today, the mere prospect of losing a few chapters made me burst into tears! That might be the first time a computer has ever made me cry! Maybe I should try to get an agent or something and see about publishing this tome after all!

Back up your documents, kids. Back up your documents.

NaNoWriMo, Day 9

I’m well past 17,000 words now, and I’ve noticed a few things.

  • There is no way I can contain this story in 50,000 words. I mean, I could try, but it would be awfully short and rushed.
  • I’ve tried to figure out how many words make up a typical mass market paperback novel. It seems 250 words per page is the standard, but is that trade paperback or mass market paperback? I suppose I might get out a book and sit there and count the words myself to get the best estimate. 😉
  • So far, the hardest part of this isn’t coming up with the story. I’ve never had a particularly hard time coming up with any story; I certainly made enough of them up in my head as a child, as my sister will gladly tell you! 😉 What IS hard is staring at a computer screen for this long. I spend most of the 9 hours of each workday at my laptop. By 6 PM my eyes are super blurry. It’s hard to then turn around and spend another several hours continuing to look at it, to type up something else!
  • Where previously I viewed the plot with somewhat of a cold, distant eye, now I have started to care about my characters and what happens to them. I feel almost bad about what I’d already decided to do to some of them.
  • I began to get a little obsessive the other day about making sure my story was in line with real events that fit it. But then Eric reminded me that many of the world’s greatest stories, in novels or in film, aren’t 100 percent accurate or plausible when compared to real-life events. The Departed, for example, is based upon real-life events, and does not mirror them perfectly. But you aren’t supposed to sit there and pick at it, are you? Because who cares? It’s a damn fine film. (Not that I’m comparing my writing to THAT, mind you. Just an example.)
  • Although my earliest childhood career dream was to be a famous author, I have no plans to try to publish the story. But writing this novel has certainly re-ignited those dreams and made me realize I never stopped having them.