Tag Archive: writing

It’s Good to Win!

NaNoWriMo ends today at midnight, but for me it ended last night, when I WON!

I did it!  I won!  (I have to pat myself on the back.)  There were times I wanted to give up, but in the end I was my typically tenacious self and toughed it out.  I weighed it, I measured it, and I knocked it on its wordy butt!

If you’re not familiar with NaNoWriMo, check it out.  It’s the annual masochistic ritual for writers similar to the spawning runs of salmons or the trek of the penguins to the pole (*pant, pant*).

But in all seriousness, this was my first year participating, and I must say that I found the daily uploading of an ever-growing manuscript quite motivational. There’s nothing like watching your word count grow, with a little program on the NaNo site telling where you are—complete with a bar graph—how long it should take you to finish at the pace you’re setting, and how many words you need to write a day to complete your book on time and WIN!

And what do you win? Self-satisfaction, a first draft of something you’ve probably been meaning to write anyway and just never found the time or the right kick in the pants, and a little winner logo of your choice … like the one at right!

Ah!  It’s a good feeling.  All right, now it’s back to life and everything I’ve been neglecting for the past month.



Remember, as a child, how you could never go swimming without pairing up with another kid?  Never mind that neither of you could save the other if you were drowning.  At least your buddy could yell while you thrashed about.

The buddy system works in many instances in life. I’ve had a tough time embracing such a concept, being my mother’s independent little trooper.  She taught me well and to this day, that woman continues to dole out the support while retracting into her turtle-shell when she needs a hand. Heaven forbid that anyone but her should ever be inconvenienced. Ah, well, what are ya gonna do?  Parents are so hard to train.

Back in the early ’90s, I discovered what a great shot in the arm the buddy system was for my writing, which was flowing like sap in winter. I met two fellow aspiring writers at a literary conference, and we formed a triumvirate to review one another’s work and hold each other’s feet to the fire to keep writing. By the time our little Five Points Literary Society dispersed, I had produced nearly thirteen complete chapters of my sci-fi novel. But without my buddies, I soon fell back to my slothful, excuse-ridden ways. (Something even better came out of that alliance, though — my current roommate, who is also one of my best friends ever!  Just goes to show how great the buddy system can be.)     Continue reading

Books and movies, movies and books … and then there’s writing , of course, and painting, and traveling, and …

Oh, there are so many things one wants to do, but from day to day what one actually does is work,  take out the trash, do laundry, buy groceries, take the car in for service, and once in a while enjoy a fun evening with friends.  Yikes, is my life really that tedious?

Having published my first movie review book (get ready for another plug — TA DA!  A Book Full of Movies You May Not Have Seen), I am becoming more active in the online literary community Goodreads.  It’s an awesome social networking site for readers and authors alike.  Anyway, as I fill my virtual bookshelves with the books I’ve read (dutifully voting one to five stars for how much I enjoyed reading each) and the books I want to read, I’ve started to realize just how many books are out there that I still need to sink my teeth into. For crying out loud, I haven’t even read all the books by just my short list of favorite authors, and there are so many more that get recommended every day, and books stare like mouthwatering candy from the shelves at bookstores and the pages of e-newsletters bearing the missive “This year’s best books!”  And then there are the great books I’d love to re-read.  I can’t bear it!  There’s just not enough time.

On top of this angst, I started having the nagging feeling that I was overlooking some favorite books.  So I perused the many bookshelves in the house (not the living room bookshelves, mind you; those were taken hostage several years ago by the burgeoning movie collection and, thus, are off limits to all but the most venerable display-quality volumes, or books having to do with movies, naturally), and I found books that I had actually forgotten I had *gasp*.  In fact, I had listed some of these in Goodreads on my “to-read” shelf and even added them to my wish list and actually looked to see if anyone had them to swap (Ooh!  The Goodreads book swap program is amazing!  People list the books they no longer want, and if you want one, you just pay for shipping — the shipper prints a postage-paid label courtesy of Goodreads — and, in a few days, its yours … incredible and wonderful!  I’ve shipped a couple of books already, and its super-duper-easy!), and when I discovered them on my bookshelves … well, I was mortified.  And then *swoon* I found two books on my shelves twice, meaning that I had not only forgotten I had them but had purchased another copy and abandoned the first for lost … forever.

My shame was deep and complete.  I felt like a mother who had abandoned her children to run off with a rodeo cowboy.

Shaking off my remorse and vowing to be a better mother and dust more often, I realized that this and many other regrets of modern life are simply due to the fact that there is just not enough time, darn it!  Since this insight came due to my current immersion in books and the lack of time to read them, I was reminded of my favorite Twilight Zone episode of all time (and I am a big TZ fan who, yes, owns the entire original series), “Time Enough at Last.”  Burgess Meredith plays a bank employee who adores reading and prefers books to people.  When he hides in the vault one day to finish his lunchtime reading, a catastrophe happens, and he finds himself alone — and surrounded by books from the nearby demolished library.  He’s in heaven!  Well, until the ironic twist at the end for which the TZ series is famous.

And it’s in this “Be careful what you wish for” irony that I find solace at present from my predicament of not having the time I want to read, watch movies, write, paint, travel, and hang out with friends.  After all, the reasons for having that time on one’s hands might be less than pleasant.  So, I’ll just keep eking out my morsels of precious hourglass sand, more grateful to have them becasue they are so rare.

Mood:  grateful and inspired

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