Monday, November 28, 2011


From Thanksgiving through New Year's Day, we have twice as much to do as we usually have - especially if you are a woman.

This weekend one of our sons was here for Thanksgiving. I had cooked for days, cleaned house, and made everyone's favorite dishes. I marveled that the males of the house, dog included, waited on me to bring them something to drink, eat, and of course, bring football snacks. When the meal was over, they had no thought of all those dishes that needed washing or anything else other than their football enjoyment and full stomachs.

I'm not complaining (really) - it's just a fact of life in most households.

As a writer, I wonder how I'll find time to squeeze in a little creativity in the next six weeks. My list includes job hunting, house cleaning, shopping for gifts and mailing them since everyone else lives far away, cooking, making a few of the gifts, and running around like a chicken with its head cut off, all while trying to get enough rest and stay well enough to handle it all. Holidays are stressful. My husband was laid off his job and things are stressful anyway. Why isn't Hollywood calling to make a movie from my book? I've been to the movies lately and they could use some fresh new material.

Well, now that I've gotten that off my chest, back to the grist mill to grind out a few more chores before I run some errands.

I always remind women to take care of themselves. If you don't, you can't do all that is expected of you. Take that bubble bath tonight. Read a good book, or savor that bon-bon. You deserve it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

NaNoWriMo Accomplished!

On November first when I began writing a 50,000 word novel in thirty days, it seemed like an insurmountable task.

I religiously wrote each day. It took a couple of hours to write at least 2,000 words per day.

At the end, I verified the word count with NaNoWriMo and they sent this colorful certificate to commemorate the accomplishment of writing a first draft in thirty days. It actually took me twenty three days, but I was in a rush because of Thanksgiving and knew I would spend a lot of time in the kitchen for that.

I actually think this novel has some legs and I'm looking forward to polishing it up a bit.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Trying To Do It All

I knew this would happen: Just before Thanksgiving my to-do lists explode into much more than a list. They become a notebook filled with pages of things to do, things to clean, stuff to bake, all in an effort to make sure everyone has the perfect holiday experience. I'm not quite as bad off as that woman on the Target commercials, but I understand how she feels.

On top of that, I'm doing the NaNoWriMo project. I've worked hard to stay ahead of the word count, but my book really wants to end and it's at 49,000 words. I need another 1,000 to qualify.

Today will be filled with pie baking, entertaining company, pre-washing vegetables, and all sorts of normal daily activities, plus my car is sitting in the driveway with a flat tire, and I have a dinner engagement elsewhere. (For my male readers, that means at least an hour spent getting presentable before I can leave the house: showering, fixing hair and makeup, finding something dressier to wear than my normal jeans or sweat pants and t-shirts, etc.).

Holidays are hectic in the best of times. Might I suggest they move NaNoWriMo to a non-major holiday month?

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Day Off For Good Reason

Around midnight, a fire started high up in the hills of our city. As of now, two thousand acres of land have burned taking some beautiful homes with them. We are all on alert in case we need to evacuate. I have a list of things to grab in that case, including my laptop and flash drive - a writer can't lose her work.

Keeping one ear on the news isn't conducive to writing, so until the wind dies down and the fires are under control, I'm staying busy doing other things.

Friday, November 11, 2011

How is Your Writing Going?

If you are participating in NaNoWriMo, you are spending a fair amount of time at the keyboard. My husband hooked me up with a huge ergonomic keyboard that does way more than I have figured out how to do. It includes a fancy mouse that keeps your hand from going numb.

I've been happily writing away and staying on track with my word count. The ideas are flowing and I believe this may be an event I want to repeat every year. I always free-write the first draft and find the ideas and phrasing in my first draft are sometimes better than if I had taken more time and labored over it for weeks. Here's hoping for a good outcome for everyone participating.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Free Writing Books

I just noticed there are lots of free Kindle books on Amazon about Writing.

The free books change regularly, so check them out soon before the price goes up again.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ahead of Schedule

With everything else that goes on every day, I'm surprised to be ahead of schedule on the NaNoWriMo book I'm working on. It is actually 7,000 words ahead of schedule, which is a good thing. If I happen to get stuck and can't think of anything to write, I have a couple of days to think about it and catch up.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Clam Chowder for a Blustery Night

Nothing tastes better on a cold night than a bowl of clam chowder. This recipe came from and it's perfect just the way it is. It's also a quick and easy meal - perfect for a busy writer.

You'll need:

6-7 pieces bacon, cut in half inch slices
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cans clams (I think they were about 6 oz. each)
6-7 potatoes
2 cans cream of celery soup
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 Tbs. butter
1 tsp. dried dill

Cook bacon in large pot till crispy. Add onions and cook till translucent. Wash and dice potatoes (I prefer red ones) and add to the pot along with the clam juice from the cans. Cook covered for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.

Add clams, soup, cream, milk, and dill. Stir to mix ingredients. Add butter and melt into the chowder. Simmer 30-45 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking.

Serve with oyster crackers.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Today I wrote 2,287 words on my NaNoWriMo novel. It hardly seemed like any work at all to write that many words. My goal is to write 2,000 words per day for 25 days. If I can write a little more than that each day, it will be great, especially since we will have company for a week during Thanksgiving.

When I get into the zone, two hours can seem like ten minutes. I love that about writing.

Here's what I did for the past three days to get ready for this writing marathon:

1. Outlined the story (though things can change at any time). This story
has been in my head for a long time, so the direction it was going was
gelled already.

2. Researched the things I needed to know to make it believable. I
wrote a list of questions and it took very little time to find all the answers to three pages of them. Since I'm researching two different cultures and their religions, I saved the links on a word page for further references if I need them. There will be other questions that pop up, but I've covered most of them. I still have to search for regional foods and music and a few indicental things like that.

3. Did a name search for given and sir names for the characters and chose
names for them.

4. Found pictures of people who look like I envision the characters in my
mind. I will buy a poster board today and stick the pictures on it so they are fresh in my mind at all times.

That's it. I'll flesh it out as I go and hope for the best! Are any of you joining me on this quest?

Tonight it is supposed to get very cold, so I'm off to the store to get what I need to make clam chowder. Have a great day!