NaNoWriMo – Insanity in a month’s time

Writing a novel is a dream, goal or passion that comes up quite often on “must do before I die” lists all around the world. For some the creation of a novel has been lurking in their minds since the first word book was in their hands.  For others it could have emerged following the high school easy-to-get credit class that was taught by a great teacher. Finally for some like myself, it might have been a culmination of the love of reading and wanting to try to create something permanent in this volatile world.

Since I don’t believe in coincidences but events that happen for a reason, my introduction to NaNoWriMo came at a most unexpected time. I had just received a note from my doctor for a forced “off work” two week period and a handful of prescriptions to ease my bronchitis. It was the first of November 2006 and I remember asking myself just how many books I could read during those long two weeks.

I signed on to check my messages and on the landing page of Yahoo the words caught my eye: “Want to write a novel? This is your time to shine”. The title gave me a reason to momentarily dream of a finished novel in paperback format with an embossed shiny cover. Minutes passed as I discovered NaNoWriMo. NaNo as we often call it, started in 1999 when 21 young students from the San Fransisco Bay area got together and decided to try to write a 50,000 word novel in one month.

When I first considered NaNoWriMo I had not seriously thought about writing an entire novel although it had been on my list of to-dos since 1983. I couldn’t imagine much good could be had from someone writing so many words in so little time. Then I thought of prolific writers such as Clancy and King and so many others. NaNoWriMo is NOT about writing your phenomenal novel, but more about letting your want-to-be writer have fun.

There are no doubts that this writing frenzy is a bit crazy. 50,000 words is about 1,667 words per day – yes, PER DAY! However incredibly insane this seems to be, more than 119,000 participants joined last year, with more than 21,683 crossing that magical finish line before midnight on November 30th.

Some past NaNoWriMoers have been published, yet I suspect most had to rework some or even most of their original NaNo work. Some established authors use NaNo frenzy as a way to brain dump future novel ideas. Other do it on a dare while most do it because they love to write!

So if writing a love story, a military adventure or even your own biography has crossed your mind, this may be the time to give it a go. My first year was my favorite year because everything was so brand new. I completed my 50,000th word of my first novel (Presumed Guilty)  on November 28th of 2006. My second novel (Doll Face) was written from a pre-thought story, something I will not do again. Although I did finish before the end of November, the planning ahead stunted my imagination. My third novel (Don’t sit in front of cacti and 99 other things I learned while geocaching) was to be a series of adventures from my geocaching life, however I was needed on a large project and that put an end to my very short scramble of fewer than 2,000 words. Last year while using my “write as it comes out of my head” approach was heading in the right direction but a burnout wedged itself in my writing. Pity – that was a great opportunity since I had lots of time on my hands. My fourth attempt (The Reluctant Messenger) numbered a mere 5,600 words.

This year with a November looking more like the calendar of a politician running for elections (so many events, so many meetings, so many trips and activities) I am ready for a wild ride. Although I considered retaking my 99 things idea and starting anew, I decided that the “let my brain spew out thoughts” seem to be the most fun way to write…

So if you see less of me this coming month, please know I am fine. Somehow between gatherings, a quilting weekend retreat, another weekend of celebration, work, kettlebell training and a trip starting November 27th, I will once again apply myself and count myself  part of the crazy National Novel Writing Month aficionados. Won’t you join me?

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Love and love-a-bit-less relationship…

It’s not a love and hate relationship, it’s a love, and a love-a-bit-less relationship. We first met a few years ago at the break of dawn near the watershore. The sun was just peeking from the horizon and the summer beach bugs were swirling around from time to time. It was a strange encounter, one that left me breathless… weak in the knees and dizzy. Every move I took was difficult, after all, this was my first time in this type of relationship.

I left the beach early, with no commitment to come back or stay away. I wasn’t sure if this was for me. For days, every movement seem to remind me of this 40 minute encounter. It was a short encounter, but for me, it was one that I would never forget. I did return and although it was painful for me, I saw that the more I learned from this connection, the better I became at keeping pace.  Weeks went by and changes happened. I felt stronger, more aware of my body and aware of my inner strength. I walked with a softer step and a  more focused mind. I looked forward to more encounters but alas I had to let go. Due to circumstances beyond my control we had to part. I tried it on my own, but it just wasn’t the same. I even went as far as getting some in the house – surely this would fill the void and get me back on track…

Well, it’s on again! Actually my first official re-encounter will happen November 6th at 6 o’clock. I am anxious and concerned a bit as I know what is about to happen. They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, in my case, distance made my heart work harder… not a good thing! Therefore, I pledge to all that this relationship has to become a permanent relationship in my life! Others may not approve or like my choice – there are many more choices out there for sure. However, I know what worked best for me!

Kettlebells – I know I will not love you as much at the onset – but I know how good you were for me. I know how strong I felt having you in my weekly activities and how much more energy you gave me. I also know the pain of even sitting down (those quads will hurt like there was no tomorrow) and climbing stairs. A week from our re-encounter, I will stop moaning each time I have to move around. A month after our re-encounter I will feel full of energy and leaner (I got a long way to go to get lean, but the process is getting leaner day by day).

In a few months from our re-encounter I will pledge my undying commitment to not keep you hidden away and I will not leave you unattended for months at a time. The countdown is near – until then, I will do simple squats, wall presses and pushups…

Welcome back, dear KBs! As well, welcome back trainer Mary who was always able to get one more swing out of me! Now, where was that A535 muscle relaxing cream?

Don’t sweat the small things… celebrate them!

So here I am, Sunday night in my fun aqua and brown office decor, sitting in my familiar chair, using my familiar keyboard, and looking at my familiar screen. The smell of my cooking spaghetti sauce wafts upstairs as I play my new Tango CD.

Hard to believe, less than 48 hours ago I still was in Argentina. As the planed prepared for a on time take off, I looked through the window at the city that took on smaller and smaller dimensions as our altitude increased. I learned a lot about Buenos Aires, the culture, the art, the dance and the music. I also longed for the simple little things that make my life that much more interesting and fun. Please understand, this is not because I was unhappy in Buenos Aires… in fact, my last week was bittersweet. I was but days away from my old life, but rather liked this new life I was getting to know.

What are the types of thing I missed most? Well, other than the obvious ones, my sweetie, my girls, my family members, my friends, my coworkers… Those are given – but the ones that seemed to some as a surprised we little things… simple things… nonetheless, things I value greatly…

Gourmet things like my Kraft Soft Peanut Butter with less salt; the smell of my house as we walk in the door; the crunch of the leaves under out feet as they flutter to the ground aided by a fierce wind; the sound of our Kimmy cat at the foot of our bed; the warmth of Steve’s hand on my back when I fall asleep…  small things that together, add up to a charmed life.

Sure, the book tells you not the sweat the small stuff – that works well in business – go for the 80% rule, which means aim at getting 80% of issues addressed, questions answered and things planned and considered… the small items will get corrected in due time, but their impacts are minimal.

YET, I am here to suggest we CELEBRATE the small things… for many people SMALL things are ALL they can celebrate. Someone who walks two more steps than the previous day; someone who can remember one more face; someone who understand one more sentence or someone who can save one more meal for their family. Let’s celebrate small stuff….

A stranger’s smile on the subway; the sound of a chipmunk calling to its mate; the smell of sweet late flowers blossoming in the sun; The wonderful taste of mashed potatoes and turkey; the sounds of a wonderful piece of music; the light shining through a window and the solemn sound of honking geese leaving the North for a warmer climate.

Let’s be grateful for the helping hand of a friend; the kind compliment of a sibling; the smell of fresh ground coffee in the morning and the gentle wind through the trees. Let’s appreciate the phone call from a distant relative; the moldy small of the old book; the softness of your oldest pair of pajamas or the soft warming taste of a warm tea. Let’s remember the kindness of others, the support of unknown individuals and the focus of hard working folks doing their work day in, day out.

Let’s be grateful for our personal security, our safety in our cities, our abundance of products and our unconditional love given to us by family and friends. Let’s not sweat the small issues,  but let us CELEBRATE the small things!! They bring fun to a dreary day, support on a tough time, colors to an overcast day, joy in the ;east expected moments…

And know – if though it may not seem as such right now, they ARE THERE!!! Leave the details of your day, and seek those small things that make you smile, that make you dance, that make you dream, that give you hope… AND CELEBRATE THEM!

I know I have so much to be thankful for, and each moment, more seem to show themselves to me. How could I ever thing that life is nothing but spectacular – never easy, a given or a piece of cake… but always, it is to be celebrated… Look for these details, look as hard as it might be, and when you find one, look at it, figure it out, admire it, and be thankful for it… In no time, this will become a standard thing to do day in, and day out…