It's Not Going Well

Almost every year since 2003, come November, I have written a book. Well, okay, I have attempted to write a book. So far, I've never actually COMPLETED a book during November, but I usually attempt one. (Except the year I was working when the thought was even too insane for ME.)

For me, as a writer, NaNoWriMo is simply the single best writing exercise I've ever done. It's better than the Morning Pages in The Artist's Way. It's better than banging my head against a brick wall or imagining myself on Oprah. It's just...some kind of magic.

I'm a sloowww writer. Blogging has helped with this because it's such an immediate medium. But the best thing of all for this is NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo demands that I banish the highly critical editor who sits on my shoulder and pronounces my sentence structure dumber than a first grader's and my ideas banal and announces with great certainty that my Mother Would Not Approve.

NaNoWriMo EMBRACES the banality! It's all about quantity and not quality! I am spewing forth just execrably bad prose and you know what? That's the POINT. Yea for really crappy writing! The first year I undertook NaNo, I included recipes and song lyrics in my book --it was baaaad. It was REALLY bad. But it grew into a project that is still alive for me --my novel continually in progress called "Making Roux." I haven't touched it in a year and one thought is just to keep working on it, which is against the rules of Nano but since I'm probably not going to write an entire book anyway, I could mold the system to serve my own purposes, right? Only... well, part of the magic is starting some brand new thing and doing it incredibly badly... I'm not sure I can do that now that I'm all invested in my Roux characters and what I think is the actual plot...

But, see, THIS year, I probably have the best shot I've ever had at actually FINISHING a book in November because I don't have a social life up here in New York (yet) AND my kids aren't really signed up for tons of activities (yet).

Only, I got NOTHIN'.

NOTHIN', I tell ya.

Except these first sentences: "It occurred to her that she had spent much of her life looking for ways to keep her hands occupied. She stared at them now, wondering."

I've been staring at them (the sentences, not the hands) for four days now. And... well, nothing.

So, I'm announcing a contest. I'll send a book and or yarn (or something knitted OUT of yarn, although that might take a bit longer) to anyone who can get me on the Writeteous path. Write the next sentence or write a completely different sentence or throw me an idea... Because, last I looked? I was about 6,700 words behind. I need HELP!

(DK and Ei, I know I still owe y'all socks from the last time I did a contest. I promise they are coming. I had some issues...)

PS: I'm not officially doing the blog version of NaNoWriMo because it doesn't give me the same creative charge. And besides, I think my readers will start unsubscribing if I blog every single day. How much vicarious angst can a person take?

Comments

hollygee said…
What had they wrought? Before her was a creation that she couldn't remember making. She had been in such a fever of construction that it was a virgin birth.
trek said…
Wondering why they were covered in blood.
Ann in NJ said…
She looked at her empty hands, the grey walls of the room, the white sheets. There was nothing here, nothing of color or character or beauty.
Stefanie said…
What hadn't she tried? She had tried painting, knitting, drawing, carpentry, writing, playing a whole variety of instruments, and realized that all of these liberal artsy pursuits had come to nothing. It was time for a change.
Tenna Draper said…
She purused her hands as a stranger's. Who are these people I'm living with? Where am I? How did I get here?

The bonkers life of suburbia wife, mother of two and husband too. Did someone coin the phrase "It's a mad, mad world?"
LizzieK8 said…
There no longer was a need for them to be busy. Whatever busywork she had employed to keep them moving was finished. Whatever need she had channeled through them no longer existed. Lee was dead and her hands no longer had purpose.
MadMad said…
I think that's a great first sentence - no need for a second great sentence. Alternate: good, lame.good lame, good lame and ta-da! You'll have a book in no time! (well, 30 days.)
N. Maria said…
Slowly, her mind wandered back in time....back to her Grandma.
Grandma told her many stories about her own mother and the hardships she endured.
Something we call pleasure now was work then.........like knitting.
DK said…
"It occurred to her that she had spent much of her life looking for ways to keep her hands occupied. She stared at them now, wondering."

What could possibly be gained by their stillness?

(I could keep going, if you want - I have a whole paragraph in my head, but that's where my version of the story goes, not yours. You only asked for the next line.)
Becca said…
How would she keep them still for nine whole days? Nine days of silence and meditation at the Ashram.Nice days of sitting still and thinking. Oh god, she would have to stop and think.
She put the hands back in the drawer and delighted in the air now flowing over her green tendrils. No more masks! Today, the humans would find out what she really thought of their puny civilization.
Mokihana said…
if there was the slightest possibility that those very same hands had done something that she herself could not remember, something so terrible that the memory, if there was one, had been locked far away in the deepest recesses of her mind.
annabanana said…
OK, I don't have a second sentence because I know yours would be better, but I have a suggestion as my entry:

Sign up for this conference - seriously, my mom went to it a few years ago and it was inspirational for her writing, not to mention fun, not to mention MAUI:
http://www.mauiwriters.com/

That's all I got...but I know you have more!!!! :-)
kim said…
That is quite a bit of pressure to put on oneself (hah! who speaks like that?!). It occurred to me that I spend a good deal of time trying to keep my hands occupied (WITH KNITTING!)....
Katie said…
...At what point had these hands grown frail with age. When had these hands, once so young and capable, begun to slow their steady pace of production.

Have fun!
Tiny Tyrant said…
She had tried baking, cookies, cross stitch, knitting, crochet, you name it. But they all seems like things she was expected to do and she doesn't like to go with the norm.

She needs to find a way to occupy herself that is fulfilling without being a cliche.
Miriam said…
Wondering what to do first. What to do last. Realizing it was an impossible choice between people she loved and people who needed her.

(there's a reason my word count is okay ... i'm ALL ABOUT the quick and dirty)
Marie said…
Trying to remember why she had invested such energy in racing down the years through the work of those hands, so that the past was now a blur of exhaustion and regret.
CK Holder said…
She put down the book. Why did her friend tell her to read this? She barely had enough time to blow dry her hair in the morning and now on her to-do list was this book to read.
CK Holder said…
Although my first inclination was written so nicely by "trek."
Hi again. I just read that you're from Long Island. Me too! Small world. I'm in Suffolk on the North Shore. Well, just wanted to say hi and introduce myself. Come visit the domestic fringe sometime.
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-FringeGirl