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I usually don’t toot my own horn, but this month has been an amazing journey for me.  As you know, I started a novel with the intention of forming 50,000 words in 30 days.  That meant writing 1,666 words, at least, for 30 days.  Every day.  No breaks.  1,666 words.

It’s a lot harder than you would think.  And over the course of this last month, I’ve learned a lot about myself personally and as a writer.  See, I can honestly say that now because I feel it.  In the end, on November 27, 2013, I clocked in at 53,441 words.  So, I am a writer.  I realized that I had won, but I still was. or rather am, in awe of it.  I’ve still got the ending to finish, also.  Which means… I am not done.

Yes, That’s right.  I. Am. Not. Done.

But here is the real interesting part.  At the beginning of the month, I was naively proud and cocky that I would succeed.

It’s not that hard to write 1,666 words in a day.  I’ve read blogs where professional writers are clocking in at 3,000 even 5,000 words in a day.  I can puke up a mere 1,666.  I laughed heartily…. HaHA!

Yeah…

Well….

It’s a pretty humbling experience to sit in front of a screen and stare at that blank page.  It’s like standing up to give a speech.  You shake.  You try to picture it in it’s underwear.

You get up and get a drink of water and come back.  Stare some more.

You poise your fingers over the key board the way it was taught in typing class (back when they had typing class).  You take a deep breath.  You close your eyes.  You picture the scene in your head.

And you type.

You keep typing, until typing is the only thing you can do.  Your mind breaks open like a watermelon hitting the pavement from a ten foot drop.  It bursts into a million tiny pieces of imagination.  and you type.  Furiously, until you feel as if your hands won’t ever move again.

Finally in exhaustion, you stop.  Your fingers are cramped and crooked.  You are so very proud of yourself.  You say, “I have written a novel!”

Then you look at the word count.  You stare at it in disbelief.

1,642

Your parched throat constricts.  If you weren’t so dehydrated, you would feel tears drip down from your lashes onto your pallid cheeks.  Your chapped lips form each of the numbers, cracking and bleeding as they do.  One thousand, six hundred forty-two words.

You hang your head, your greasy hair falling around your face.  You look like a girl from those Asian horror movies.  You feel even creepier.  Your mind can’t seem to get around the fact that you haven’t written enough.

“Maybe I should quit.  Just give up.  There is no way I can do this for 30 days.”  You shake your head slowly, defeated.

But your mind has already been opened.  You realize that, while it seems that you’ve just poured your soul out into a bottomless pit.  There is more.   There is more where that came from.  The story has just begun.  You aren’t done.  Your mind has already started thinking and processing what comes next and then after that.

You raise your head and look at that number again.  1,642.    When you had started this day, it was zero.  Now it was much more than that.   So, it wasn’t the exact amount needed.  So what?

Did word count really matter?

To quote an author I admire, Scott Sigler, “It’s all shite anyway.”  Just put it down and worry about the rest later.

So I squared my shoulders, shook the hair out of my eyes, took a long drink of water, and I started again.  Every day.

Halfway through the month, I realized I could type more and faster.  So I prepared for the holiday, ‘cause we all know they ain’t gonna be no typing when your belly is full o’ turkey!

And here I am.  53,441 and still going.  I’m okay with that.  I’m more humble.  But also, much more determined.  If this were easy, there would be a million of us doing it.

Oh wait, have you looked on Amazon lately?  Let me rephrase that.  If it were easy to write well, there would be million of us doing it.

I aim to write and I aim to write well.  Or at least tell the stories that are in my head well.  But that’s for another post.

Now that my first goal has been reached, saying, “I am a writer.”  My next goal will be to say, “I am a published writer.”

By the way, I’ve started a couple of short stories, too.  One is a horror story called “Emil’s Boat.”  I hope to have it published in an anthology I am submitting to.  But, again, that’s for another post.

Hope you join me.  See ya soon, right here.

M.

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Sometimes we need motivation to write.

It’s not that the ideas are not in my head.  No, they are floating around in there, taking up valuable space. Space that could be used for something productive, like deciding to do the dishes, or how to start a novel.

The story idea bubbles in my head bump into and absorb all regular thought bubbles that normal people have bouncing to and fro.  Instead of popping and disappearing, my story idea bubbles incorporate regular thought bubbles into themselves.  Yesterday, when we first started NaNoWriMo, I had no clue how to start my novel.  I’d read that you should start out with a question to answer.  I can’t remember where I’d read it.  There have been so many blogs, articles, and books I’ve read lately to prepare to start my writing career that I can honestly say, I would have to go back and re-read everything to be able to quote anyone.  So I’m not going to quote.  I am just going to say that I’d read it.  Because I did and it stuck in a thought bubble in my head.

So this thought bubble Nano story that I’ve been outlining and researching had no real start.  Where was I gonna get the first sentence?  How the hell do you start a novel?

Yes, I did think those things.  Even though I’d read a lot about how to prepare, get through writer’s block, and sell a novel, I didn’t really read anything about how to start the damned thing.  Except that one time, when I’d read that you should start with a question.

That’s the thought bubble I woke up to yesterday.  What question should I start my novel with?

When I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror, my eye’s were puffy, because I’d tossed and turned all night.  I’d thought, “What the hell did I get myself into?”

And that was it!  That’s the bubble that got sucked into this soapy story idea  My main character, looking into the mirror, puffy eyed, and asking, “What the hell did I get myself into?”

Easy, right?  I guess, but up until that second, I was panicked that I wouldn’t have anything to write.  Now I’ve started and I’m still panicked.  But today, it wasn’t so bad.  I just asked myself, “So, what happens next?”

I’d looked at my outline, and away we went.  But there was one more thing that motivated me today.

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Yup, Chocolate.  The other motivator.

If I could at least type the minimum of 1,666 words, I’d get that piece of chocolate.  Not just any chocolate, either.  Hershey’s Dark Chocolate.

I typed 2,035 words.

Yay, me!

Let’s see what tomorrow’s motivation will be…

M.

I woke up to the alarm at four thirty this morning.  I deliberately set the alarm sound to be something soothing last night, so I would be gently awakened.  Well, let me just say that last nights soothing sound is this mornings niggling warble.  And I think I’ve said it before.  I hate niggling.

My bleary eyed self tried to get dressed in the dark.  It’s not very easy.  So I turned on the flashlight of my phone.  Too bright, I think I burned my retina’s.  I turned off again.  Who was the idiot who thought getting up at four thirty in the morning was a good idea?

Oh yeah, me.  Why?  Because I had to make the word count.  Remember back in the late eighties and early nineties when Dunkin Donuts had the commercial with the surly, pudgy baker waking up early?  He would say, “Gotta make da donuts.”  That was me this morning, surly, pudgy and saying, “Gotta make da word count.”  NaNoWriMo started today and I’d told myself I was going to get up early and attend the first write-in.  That was before I actually had to get up.  That was when I was brightly awake and blithely ignorant of the consequences to my body and mind.

Now I was up, dressed, and on my way, driving six miles to the first write-in at a Starbucks near the mall.  I was late.  The stupid phone navigator took me to some suburb.  I cursed the male voice.  Yes, I had changed the female voice on my I-phone to the male voice.  I thought it would be cooler because the lady just got on my nerves..  I was wrong again.  At five o’clock in the morning, driving through fog, trying to find civilization and maybe a cup of coffee, the male voice pissed me off too.  I can’t win.

I got there late.  I ordered and received my coffee, prepared my laptop on the table, said a sleepy hello to everyone.  They replied in turn, sleepily.  And then I began to write.  Somehow during those first few moments as the caffeine hit my system and my thoughts turned to my characters and their world, I found alertness.  Everything around me sort of fell  into the background and in my mind’s eye I saw my main character brushing her teeth.  Surly, not pudgy, but nonetheless, bleary eyed.  She was wondering why in the hell she got up so early…

And the next thing I knew, I looked up and it was an hour and a half later.  I glanced at my word count.  2,038.  I still had more to say about this world I was in with my characters.  So much more.  I had barely gotten started.  What the heck?

I closed everything down and put it away.  It was time to head home and maybe write there.  As I was walking out, someone mentioned that their hands and arms were sore from typing.  I realized that mine were sore too.  I was just like the other writers.  It hit me.  I was just like them.  I am a writer.  I smiled as I got in my car, started it up and drove home through the lifting fog.

I am a writer.

The adventure begins.caffeine powers..

M.

Of course a horse is a horse, unless it’s a horse named “Ed”, the talking horse.  I remember that show in re-runs.  I’m old, but not THAT old.  The show was about a talking horse who helped is buddy and various and sundry others.  That’s not really why I picked today’s post.  But then, you know me, I’m thinking one thing and typing another.  If you don’t know that, well, you will soon.  My fingers have a tendency to type what they want, not what my mind tells them.  Thank goodness for backspace buttons.

Back to a horse.  More specifically, writing about a horse.  In my story, the main character comes across a horse in a field.  She’s very tame, yet, not.  She has a mind of her own.  Now as a writer, you are told, “Write what you know.”  If you don’t know about horses, then, how do you write about them?  I’m lucky, I grew up on a ranch.  There were lots of horses, cows, dogs, pigs, chickens, and some things I’m afraid to name.  My uncle thought of himself as a sort of animal husbandry expert, even though he had never passed the eighth grade.  He was a very smart man, don’t get me wrong.  He just wasn’t very intelligent by today’s standards or yesterday’s standards.  He never let that get him down or keep him from trying.

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But I digress.  I have experience in horses. Even though I have experience, there is a niggling idea in my head regarding this special pony.  She is probably not very beautiful in a sense that she doesn’t really look sleek and healthy.  She is very healthy, yet she might not necessarily look like it.  She’s a diamond in the rough, just like our main character.  She has a strength, intelligence and tenacity that isn’t necessarily seen at first glance.

So how does one write to describe this type of horse?  Well, my first thought was to look on the internet (isn’t that everyone’s first thought?).  I could find pictures of horses and describe something from there.  That’s how I came upon the above picture.  Nah, my special horse isn’t like that.  That’s too flashy.

Then there was another one…..

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Well, number one, it’s a male.  That’s okay, I can describe this photo and change the gender.  But it’s a little too cocky for our special horse.  She needs to be confident, but in an understated way.  And number too, again, too flashy.  She needs to be a diamond in the rough sort of horse.

Then I found these…

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Now we are getting somewhere.  I  think we can make this work, don’t you? My uncle would be proud.  I have effectively “blended” breeds and created a horse of my own.  What shall we call it?  Breed Marlie?

“Hi, yes, that’s my horse.  The breed?  why it’s a Marlie, of course.  Very rare.  Only one in existence that I know of,” I smile demurely, “Thank you, yes, she is beautiful, isn’t she?  In an understated, intelligent, diamond in the rough sort of way.”

That’s what I love about writing.  I can create whatever I want and no one can tell me it’s wrong.  This is my world, if you don’t like it, go build your own.  But I would never turn you away, my friend.  You are special, in an intelligent, understated, diamond in the rough sort of way.  Come on in, I’ve got a place for you right here.

M.

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P.P.S. All images are the property of their respective owners, I do not lay any claim of ownership to them.