Thursday November 1, 2007
The clock radio was set to 680 News. Loudly. An arm snaked out from under the covers, and after three tries managed to hit the Snooze button. Five minutes later the alarm went off again. Jorge sat up this time, blinking in the light from the bedroom window. He ran his fingers through his short hair, and turned off the clock radio.
Five minutes later he was in the bathroom having a shower. And starting to look more alert. He got out of the shower, and while he was toweling his head he noticed the Post It note that he’d stuck on the mirror. It said, “National Novel Writing Month starts today.” He started to towel himself off faster, and then ran to the bedroom.
In moments he was dressed for work, and in the kitchen making toast. He grabbed his laptop from the living room, started it up, and set it on the kitchen table. The toast popped, got buttered, had honey added, a glass of orange juice was poured, and the whole consumed so fast that the cat got dizzy watching it.
He signed into Ubuntu, started Open Office Writer, and washed his hands in the kitchen sink quickly. Last year he failed – he only had 15,000 words by the end of November. This year. This year he was aiming for 100,000, even though NANOWRIMO rules only called for 50,000. Yeah, it was crazy, but trying to write a novel in a month was crazy anyway, and aiming higher than the target meant that even if he didn’t reach 100,000 words, he might still reach 50,000 words.
Sitting at the table, he placed his hands over the keyboard. They stayed there for a minute, then lowered. There was of course the problem of having no plot, no characters, and no idea of what he was doing! He looked at the clock – 20 minutes until he needed to leave for work. OK, just start typing sounded like a great idea. The cat, sitting across the table yawned at him – it’s face disappeared it yawned so wide. That’s it – write about the Cat!
An hour later, his laptop in it’s case under his desk for lunch time, he started work. All through the morning it kept staring at him. when lunch time came he picked it up, went out to his car, drove to the local donut shop, grabbed a donut and a pop and started writing again. Cat. Yeah. Great main character – he knew it’s habits to a T. He typed maniacally for 15 minutes, then drove back to the office.
After work he drove to the local Wendy’s, grabbed a burger, and then headed home to do some more writing. At 10:00 PM he stopped, and ran the word counter. What? Only 500 words? Incredible. What was going wrong. OK, so he’d done some editing. That hadn’t slowed him down that much, had it? Heck – only 100 words per hour. This wasn’t good. A quick check on the NANOWRIMO web site forums, and he had the answer. The editing probably was slowing him down that much. Argh. OK – type only, don’t edit. That was going to be hard. All of his writing experience on the job was that you edited as you wrote. Not editing felt counter-intuitive. But he couldn’t afford to work at 100 words per hour, most days he wouldn’t have 5 hours to spare, and even if he did that would only be 15,000 words by the end of the month. He wrote another post it note and stuck it on the mirror. It said, “Write – don’t edit” and went to bed.
Friday November 2, 2007
Same thing – alarm, snooze, alarm, sit up looking like a zombie, stagger out of bed, stagger to bathroom, shower, shave, start to feel human, start breakfast, feed cat, get computer running, etc. The “No Editing” bit was a pain – but in 15 minutes he managed to double his word count. 500 words in 15 minutes. That was more like it.
Off to work. Write at lunch. Get invited out tonight – and accept since Kevin promises an introduction to his sister, a very pretty girl. Go home. Watch cat chase laser pointer for 15 minutes, write for 15 minutes, then head over to Kevin’s place. Thinking about novel all the time. Hey – maybe Wendy could be written into it!
Spend some time trying to flirt with Wendy at the bar – music is too damned loud, and she appears distracted. Talk her into going outside where you can both hear. Yeah, it’s a bit cool outside, and the smokers outside the bar are a nuisance, but at least you both can hear. You chat about a whole bunch of inconsequential things, and then mention that you are writing a novel. Her face takes on a glow – “You are too,” she says, and you realize that you may not get much writing done tonight, but you may have scored. In more ways than one.