NaNoWriMo Debriefing

December 1, 2011

Hordes of Adoring Fans: Hey, Bullish, you just won NaNoWriMo! What are you going to do next?

Mz. Bullish: Go to Disneyland – well, that is if one of you yahoos is willing to foot the bill!

Otherwise, I'm going on a three-day Irish Cream bender. I know. I have a drinking problem. Seriously, whose poison of choice is concocted with chocolate, vanilla, almond, sugar and a splash of alcohol? Good grief!

Anyhow, due to the indefinitely delayed Disneyland vacation and getting laughed out of Irish Cream rehab, my future is wide open.

So I'm going to write whatever I want whenever I want and pay no attention what-so-ever to word count or time constraints.

Heck, I might spend every day in December perfecting a two-hundred-and-fifty word opening for a fifteen hundred word short story. Why? Because I can.

Oh, you mean, why would I work on something other than the edit of my NaNoWriMo novel?

Well, here's the thing … this week I'd planned on writing all about the wisdom of letting a manuscript marinate for a bit before diving into the first edit – but then my new pal D. Miles Martin took the words right outta my mouth and posted them here for our benefit.

Okay, maybe he said it a tad more elegantly than I would have, but hey, the dude is a former English teacher, so cut me some slack, all right?! Anyway, do yourself a favor and bookmark or print his post because it's chock full of smart advice.

But hang on a moment before you run off because I need to share some VITAL NaNoWriMo health related information. It's a medical warning of sorts. But never fear, folks. I have the tonic outlined below, free of charge!

Beating The Post NaNo Blues

As soon as my NaNoWriMo word count is validated and my winner's certificate in hand, I start suffering from a mysterious malady I call the Post NaNoWriMo Blues (sometimes referred to as PNB).

It's symptoms are:

  • a terrible sense of loss
  • a complete lack of focus and direction
  • a pervasive nagging fear that I should be doing SOMETHING with all the free time I suddenly have on my hands.

Now, I'm not a doctor. I'm just playing one in this post. (Hmm, that's not as funny on paper as it was in my head, darn it). In any case, following are some of the ways I combat PNB. Hopefully you'll find something in here that helps you muddle through too!

Throw Myself Into The Holiday Fray 

  • Burn through the stack of Christmas cards waiting to be signed, sealed, stamped and sent.
  • Fill my calendar with all the wonderful holiday invitations I ignored until I finished NaNo.
  • Start baking Christmas cookies filled with cinnamon and spice and everything nice … and remind myself – not for the first time – that the smoke alarm is not the best indicator that the cookies are done.

Indulge In Totally Frivolous Activities 

  • Go to the movies – lose myself in a story on the big screen (this year I'm giddily awaiting the December 16th release of Sherlock Holmes).
  • Write a short story I've been nervous about starting because it's a tad quirky. (Can you say 'Tarzan fan fic'?!)
  • Spend an entire day in my pajamas, eating Captain Crunch right out of the box and watching a CSI marathon.

Plan For 2012 (or whatever year looms on the horizon)

  • Draft plans for what I want to accomplish in my personal and/or professional life
  • Refresh my vision for creative endeavors
  • Decide what to do with the novel I just wrote (!)

Buck Up And Find A New Pony To Ride

Bestowing Thanks Where It's Deserved

FAMILY: In spite of the holiday, my son's 23rd birthday and a myriad of mitigating circumstances, my family was very mindful of my NaNo obligations.

  • My Son and Daughter-in-law: because they did their darndest to respect my writing time in spite of the constant chaos of a household full of small people (my three grandchildren) and critters (three dogs, one iguana and one beta).
  • My Sister Jules: because she always has my back, always has the courage to tell me 'snap out of it' and always has time for my daily fifty-two five-minute phone calls
  • My Dog Jax – because if I don't mention him, he'll gnaw on my ankles while I sleep.

TEAM INKY MUSES: Having the support of twitter pals made this year so much fun! And the crazy thing is, we only found each other because of NaNo and only days prior to sprinting off the Finish Line! Bottomless Hugs & Kisses go to:

  • Muse Inks - Award-winning screenwriter and bestselling author Ami Hendrickson is the founder of Muse Ink – inspiring writers and helping them put their vision into words. You can find Ami on twitter here.
  • New England Muse - An aspiring writer who is fine-tuning her first book, Sharon C. Williams is a sports-loving, photo-taking gal who is owned by a flock of 8 birds and 1 hamster. You can find Sharon on twitter here.

PS – Thanks, ladies, for bestowing #CallumProphet his very own hashtags! You should hear him crow about them! :)

BEHIND THE SCENES: These folks unwittingly contributed to my NaNo progress and success.

  • Victoria Mixon – her NaNo posts were encouraging and insightful (my fave is here) so when I saw that she'd slashed the price on her books The Art and Craft of Fiction and The Art and Craft of Story specifically for the benefit of NaNoer's, I couldn't get to fast enough and you can be sure I snapped them both up lickety-split!
  • Larry Brooks - his daily NaNo posts – based on his stellar story structure manual – were jam-packed with excellent advice and I truly applaud his generous spirit. You can buy his story structure book Story Engineering here or a compilation of his NaNo posts here
  • Chuck Wendig - his mid NaNo mini ebook offering of 500 Ways To Be A Better Writer for a mere ninety-nine cents was crammed full of 'booze-soaked, profanity-laden shotgun blasts of writing advice' that actually offers up some of the smartest takes on the elements of the craft that will ever slap you upside the head.

Of Special Note: I purchased two other books with every intention of using them for NaNo but never got that far. However, they are noteworthy so I want to give them a shout-out.

Bidding NaNo Adieu For Now

I'm going to miss Chris Baty and his NaNo crew, the activity on #NaNoWriMo, and the camaraderie and chatter of my twitter NaNo pals – but I'm going to miss Callum Prophet most of all. I know he's just going into the desk drawer until after the new year, but at the moment, that seems so very far away.

Prophet was a joy to write. More than that, he was the first character with whom I've experienced a nearly pure symbiosis. I didn't create him so much as he took up residence in my head, walked onto the blank story pages and owned them from word one. When I was writing he was so close I could hear him breathing and yet he never interfered in my process and never suggested I change the story-line or the color of his hair or lighten the burden that is his to bear. He did me the honor of trusting my storytelling capabilities and for that, and many other reasons, I came to respect him in a way I cannot possibly express, perhaps because I don't yet fully understand it.

That first evening of the November time change, when I was dreading the commute home through what would now be pitch dark, I felt him glide up my spine and come along for the ride. The sky was a cool blue streaked through with black velvet fingertips and the fading slashes of an angry sunset – the Rolling Stones were singing Gimme Shelter and a breeze was whispering through the open sunroof and window – and I drove along with Callum Prophet by my side and a sense of contentment the likes of which comes along once in a lifetime.

Yeah, it's gonna be a long cold winter without him …

… but I'll get by with a little help from my friends, fictional and otherwise!


6 Responses to NaNoWriMo Debriefing

  1. December 2, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Thanks for the link to Victoria’s guest post on my blog. :) And Irish Cream sounds great. I see no problem with that. ;)

    • December 3, 2011 at 7:49 am

      You’re welcome! I’m finally getting this linky thing down!! Nice of you to not heckle my Irish Cream affinity! ;)

  2. December 3, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Great Post! I shall revert back to it, whenever the PNB kicks in! :D

    • December 3, 2011 at 6:16 pm

      By far, the best cure for PNB is MORE WRITING! I popped over to your blog and saw that you’re going to do just that (with your NaNo edit) so you should be a-okay! ;)

  3. December 3, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    I see you….
    In other words this shows you in a great light here. I like your style and sense of not taking all this stuff too seriously, except the content which I think is A+.
    I will be back to learn more.

    • December 3, 2011 at 6:59 pm

      This (blog) is where I get to hang out in my geeky writer’s skin and feel smarvelous about it! So glad you’re going to hang out here with me! Hope you have some fun along the way!

      And as always, thank you so much for your continued support of Shoestring! :)

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