So, I signed up to write a novel. Next month. Stop laughing.


November is National Novel Writing Month (“NaNoWriMo“).

Participants sign up with the goal of writing 50,000 words between November 1 and November 30, 2011.

Well, not just words.

Ideally one should be writing some kind of story that makes sense to, ummm, other people.

But mostly it is about just getting up every day and writing like a motherfucker.

(If you really want to learn about NaNoWriMo, check out their “About” page here.)


My point is, I signed up to do it about a month ago.

And then everything changed.

And I basically quit writing.  Because UGH.

And now I have all sorts of stuff going on.  Or not-going-on, as is more descriptive in my case.

Not writing.  Not packing up my entire house and garage.  Not taking care of things — banking, mail, taxes, attorney-stuff.  Not exercising.  Not interacting with life.

I’m pretty busy not-doing a lot of things.

Which makes me wonder how realistic it is to think that, at midnight on October 31st, something is going to flip and all of the sudden I’m going to be able to write at least 1,666 words every day for 30 days.

Not realistic at all, obviously.

And yet…..

I still want to try.

Mostly because kind of the whole premise of NaNoWriMo is that if you want to be a writer, you’ve just got to write.


And a LOT of what you write is guaranteed to suck. 

And some of it is probably going to be amazing.

And you’re probably not even going to get to the amazing shit if you don’t just sit your butt down and write, write, write.

This is a good premise for someone like me.

Basically, NaNoWriMo gives me permission to suck at writing, while encouraging me to write as fast and as much as I can for thirty days.


So, I’m going to try do it.

Plus, my Mom has been after me to write a book forever.

(Oh, Hello mother/daughter issues….)

And if I want to write something for her to read, I don’t have the luxury of lots of time.

(Thanks, cancer.)

So NaNoWriMo is really kind of perfect for me right now.

I may not be able to whip out a great American novel in 30 days (although “Water for Elephants” was drafted while the author was doing NaNoWriMo, so it can be done….), but I can probably come up with enough good dialogue, gentle action/horror and great sex scenes to keep Mom entertained for a bit.

I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to do this yet.  Lots of writers post what they are writing day-to-day publicly, like on a blog, so their peeps can follow along.  I’m not sure I’m brave enough to do that.  We will see.  I am, however, going to be doing some NaNoWriMo prep — character studies, plotting, research — before November 1, that I might want to share.*


Stay tuned.

Oh, and I’m going to be doing all that (character studies, plotting, research) while I’m also trying to pack up our entire house (and garage…) so that I can store all of our stuff by October 31st and join my Mom on her World Domination Tour in early November.  First stop Tampa, and then (fingers crossed) on to her home in Puerto Morelos, Mexico.

No big deal.



*Note – NaNoWriMo says you’re not allowed to start writing your novel before November 1, but you can do as much prep work as you want.  So I’m not cheating.

p.s.  My silent retreat last week was glorrrrrious!  So peaceful, so nice to be away from my home full of stuff that needs to be packed, so nice to be “out of touch” for a few days.  Well, only really one day.  But still!  It was nice.

p.s.s.  And while I was on silent retreat, the idea for my NaNoWriMo novel just crept into my head, totally uninvited!

p.s.s.s.  And I started reading a book my awesome therapist/counsellor/Carolyn recommended, The Untethered Soul, and WOW.  Really amazing stuff.  Life changing, actually.  I had to stop reading and just let some of the concepts soak in.  I’m going back to it tonight (instead of, ummm, packing, of course) and then I get to see Carolyn again tomorrow.  Thank God for Carolyn, yo.

p.s.s.s.s.  This post is like 700 words.  It took me over 2 hours to draft.  More like over three hours, if I’m being really honest.  This is not a good sign.


Filed under Cancer sucks., Uncategorized

8 responses to “So, I signed up to write a novel. Next month. Stop laughing.

  1. Sassy Viv

    Well, WriMo-pal, welcome to HELL! This is my 2nd year of NaNoWriMo, and I totally BLEW the 1st — sometimes, stuff just gets in the way. I LOVED the experience, but with all that I had going on, I just couldn’t devote the time necessary to write. I think I got to 10,000 + words, but that was it. I WILL finish that sumbitch THIS time, but I’m starting off at yet another disadvantage — I’m the OLD HAG of HONOR in my little cousin’s wedding on the 11/5, so there goes some quality writing time right there. However, as I am THE oldest, GRAYEST HOH in HISTORY, I will have MUCH to write about, no doubt. I wonder, do you think NaNoWriMo will gimme an HONORARY WIN if I do indeed trap a nipple under the leg of my walker as I totter down the aisle and DIE? 😉

    Definitely hook up with your local writers and go to the write-ins. I’ve met friends for life through this amazing experience, and even though I FAILED last year, they are the biggest cheerleaders for a writer.

    You’ll be crazy-busy, but GOOD-busy; it FEELS great!

    And, honey, I hear ya on the procrastination thing; I’m scared shitless of failing at writing, so in my twisted mind, if I don’t WRITE AT ALL, then, I guess I can’t FAIL, either, huh?

    At least I know that I may not be successful in writing, but through it, I sure do find therapy, and occasionally, catharsis. It sure does sound like at this time in YOUR life, some writing therapy is just what the doctor may order. Write FOR your mom, God bless her. Write FOR yourself. I’ll keep in touch, and I’ll keep your family in my prayers!

    Good Luck and Go Get’em!

    • kim

      Sassy Viv!

      Thanks for writing! I am terrified and excited about NaNoWriMo. A big part of me thinks that I probably won’t even START it, much less finish it. Part of that is based on the fact that, over the course of the past 2+ years since my Mom’s diagnosis with ovarian cancer, I’ve had to change virtually every plan I’ve made. And after finishing up this horrible move on October 31, I will be back with my Mom again and responsible for her care. First in Tampa (where I could probably find some local NaNoWriMo peeps) and then in Mexico (local groups are spanish speaking/writing — I checked it out). Who knows how much time I will have to write. But I’m committed to trying, DAMMIT.

      10,000 words seems like a lot! I wouldn’t call that failing by any means. And it’s probably 10,000 more words than you would’ve written had you not TRIED NaNoWriMo.

      Thanks so much for the pep talk and let’s do keep in touch! Cuz we’re WRITERS, DAMMIT!


  2. Ah don’t worry about it – you’ll do great. Just belch out a couple thousand words a day, whether they are good or bad, and at midnight on Nov. 30 bask in the glow of your awesomeness. This’ll be my third year. First year was loverly – the second year I got cocky and crashed at about 9,000 words. This. Will. Not. Happen. This. Year.

    And also – thanks for helping me procrastinate for about an hour. I stumbled across your blog (thanks WordPress tag surfer!) and found this post so awesome I had to look at all your other pages and several back-posts! Glad I came upon you! Good luck in November.

    • kim


      Love the name. I’m Aunt Kitty to my ridiculously smart 6 year old niece. Partly because it’s close to “Aunt Kimmy” and partly because we both love Hello, Kitty stuff. Weird, I know.

      I’m all about procrastination *obviously*. In fact, the only reason this post got written today is that I finally had to choose between procrastinating about writing or procrastinating about packing up the house. I decided to continue the packing procrastination…..

      Now I’m almost completely immobilized with panic/overwhelm. First, I committed to NaNoWriMo OUT LOUD (which I was NOT planning to do when I started diddling around on WordPress this afternoon) and then I failed to pack/clean all afternoon and now I think they are going to be showing this godawful place tomorrow. It would’ve been in better shape if I had packed instead of written. Oh well.

      I’m like you — when I run across a post that I like, I obsessively look to the About page and Archives. I’m so in love with The Bloggess ( that I’ve had to ration myself to only reading two posts per visit for fear of running out of posts to peruse. She is hilarious.

      Thanks for writing and for the encouragement! Keep in touch kitty kitty.


      • Oh, hells yes on the Bloggess!! And here’s another good friend of the procrastinator’s club: (I know, I’m not really helping you, am I?)

      • kim

        Too late! OMG, I have her “This is why I will never be an adult” post bookmarked in every possible place — computer, iPad, iPhone. It’s sooooooooooooooo me. In fact, I had an “I’m going to the motherfucking bank!” moment just today. That is probably why I had no energy to do anything else but replace one kind of procrastination with another this afternoon. Sometimes the internet uses it’s powers for good. Or something….


  3. Sue T

    WOW!! I’m soooo proud of you!
    Hhhhhmmmmmmmm! (Hiro sigh)
    3 hours sounds about right.
    Thanks for the link to the book, I’m getting it.

  4. Dear Kim, You don’t know me but I’ve been reading and enjoy your blog for many months. (Anne C recommended it to me, as your mom is a dear friend of hers and so am I, and therefore we are all somehow related; I don’t know your mom either, but she has been part of the “girlfriend story” for the 20 years I’ve known Anne, and she and you are now part of my story too). As I’ve read you grappling with perspectives, battling inner demons, and kavetching about stuff and time, I have waffled between wanting to give you a huge hug and a “tough love” slap, but the latter would be redundant since you do such a good job of self-flaggelation, albeit with panache and self-effacing good humor. In regard to your ambitions to write a bazillion words during the month of November, while presuming to defeat “the stuff” monsters and travel with your mom, I finally feel compelled to jump in and say, “Give yourself a break, woman!” Besides the necessities of time and concentration (and appreciating the noble idea of entertaining your mom with your writing), I suggest you consider being present for the move and the World Domination Tour. It is rich material for your writings, and you will have time, later. Giving your full attention now to the matters at hand is the greatest gift you can give yourself and Marguerite. Maybe playing this game with 250 words a day – or 25, or zero – is sufficient, enough, good enough; and taking a break from writing all together can provide the joy of reconnecting with an old friend when you return to it. This is your life, babe, and you are living it, no matter what judgments your shitty committee passes on you. I say fire the bastards, and don’t heap this unreasonable task upon your head (and, believe me, as an old writer, 50,000 words in a month – without any other tasks or obligations, and assuming the story is bursting out of you – violates the borders on the absurd). Huge hugs to you, and with continued faith in your journey, Aysha

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