I Need a Shower

Winner-120x240 My wrists ache and I have an eyelid twitch. My daughter thinks she lives in a single parent home and my employers wonder if I’ve relocated to a witness protection program. I have finally met the National Novel Writing Month challenge word count goal of 50,000 words.

I’m sick of it. Let’s move on to something else. Like personal hygiene. And physical exercise. And possibly some flu-free living. November was a bit of a hell month, but not the same kind of hell month of those hit by Sandy or say the starving and homeless had. Even I have some sense of proportion – so this is my petty post. I’ll write about deep and meaningful stuff again. Eventually.

The novel I intended, is not the novel I wrote. Apparently I have a lot of issues to work out. It was simply supposed to be a character study, a family drama about the effects of addiction and dysfunctional personalities on a family and the repercussions. In the end, there were 3 deaths, adultery, incest, verbal and physical abuse, narcissism, obsessive-compulsive disorder and murder. This was not the family I had hoped to write about – it turned into an overwrought melodrama that I wouldn’t buy in paperback at the Goodwill store. How’s that for self-promotion? Needless to say, it needs a lot of work and a little focus wouldn’t hurt either.

Tomorrow is a new day and even better, a new month. I’m pulling down the boxes of holiday decorations out of the garage rafters tonight, so they can thaw out. My daughter has already hinted at a long list that she has been writing. I like to think of it as the “Stuff I Won’t Be Getting for Christmas Because My Parents Hate Shopping” list. When I put it like that, she narrows the list down to things that I can buy at the convenience store while I’m getting gas. Priorities, child, priorities.

I look forward to dragging my ass, which is strangely now the shape of my office chair, to the YMCA in the morning to start the long road back to full physical recovery. I’ll be the one wearing all black with a lot of layers, waiting for the treadmill that is against the wall. Without the mirror. I don’t care if there are twenty other treadmills available. I’m waiting on this one, lady, so get a move on.

After my workout, I plan on perusing all the blog posts I’ve missed over the last few weeks. I fear the NaNoWriMo thing has corrupted me – I’ll be writing comments to posts that are longer than the actual posts and getting frustrated when I can’t see the word count. I will happily, happily get back to blogging. No one interacts with you when you’re writing a novel, except to come into the study to ask if there’s dinner, slinking away in despair. My family has become a pack of scavenging wolves. They’re much more self-sufficient, though. I might tell them that December is poetry writing month.

42 Comments on “I Need a Shower

  1. This is great!! Congratulations on giving the NaNoWriMo the beat down it deserved! I guess now is as good a time as any to ask, beg actually, if you would be willing to do a guest post for Freshly DePressed. I’ll send you some soaps I bought in Italy. πŸ™‚

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    • That new blog caught my eye and I had intended to send a post via e-mail. So kind of you to ask…..and I’ll take the soaps. I probably need some…now. I’ll get something written and sent tomorrow!

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      • Awesome. You are awesome, I tell everybody.
        I can’t wait to read your novel when it’s published. What a great accomplishment. 50,000 words is nothing to sneeze at. I’m proud of you!!
        Oh, and Santa will bring the soaps.

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        • Name your poison sister. I’ll make sure Santa gets it right! πŸ™‚ (Santa moved to Texas you know. He lives on my street. He figured, what with the Ice Caps melting and all, why not? Texas is as good a place as any to die in a flash flood or a scorching drought.)

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    • Even though I met the 50K goal, I probably need to write 15-25,000 words on it. It’s a tough read that I hope can be saved with some heavy re-writes and editing!
      Thanks for the kind words, though!

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  2. Congrats! I find that I’m not really close to a book yet – still have to link it all together. Kudos to you for pushing through. I was watching your count over the last few days – That’s a huge amount of words in such a short time. Well done!

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    • Thanks! My book feels like an outline that really needs to be fleshed out with more descriptive detail. But it’s a start and I look forward to reworking it and forming it into a real book.
      My fingers are very stiff from the last few days. Near the end, I think I cranked out 3,000 words in a couple of hours. I just wanted to be done!

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      • Mine feels like an anthology with no connections yet – I think I’ll need another 20K words at least. I can relate – I took the holiday weekend and slammed out words like crazy, I took a break for a day and started writing again. Yours sounds very interesting – I wanna read it!

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        • I’m not sure if I want to read it, but I’m glad to at least be piquing people’s interest. I was worried that if I didn’t wrap things up soon, I would have killed off the entire cast list. It was certainly more fun to write about than all that inner turmoil.
          I am so enjoying the excerpts from yours. You’ll find the connection to tie it together and when you do, it will be such a great accomplishment!

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        • Thanks, I can’t imagine trying to come up with a plot and work out all those details. I’m fascinated hearing how people ended up in places that they hadn’t imagined.

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        • It’s a pretty weird process, I have to admit. There comes a point when you can’t stay with your initial plan because as your characters develop, the things you have planned for them no longer fit.

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    • I didn’t know if I could do it, but I’m glad to get a little more insight into the process. I love writing blog posts, but wasn’t sure I could pull off longer fiction work. I think that’s where all the word count stuff helps – you tell yourself to put whatever down as long as it counts as a word!

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    • Thanks! It’s starting to sink in how much I wrote when I printed a copy to read and red line at leisure. Just the number of pages amazed me. It looks like a manuscript and it feels like a manuscript. It doesn’t quite read like one, but I’ll be working on it all winter.

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  3. This is the most amusing commentary I’ve read about the 50,000 word month. From what you said, I think you’ll glean lots of stuff out of what you’ve written–whether a new direction for the novel, a collection of short stories and essays, or a surprising look at your inner self. Novel writing is an absorbing business. I think my fam would’ve preferred that I wrote mine in a month rather than 3 years. When everyone abandons you because you’re so absorbed, your characters become your best friends.

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    • Thanks! It was a surprising process and one of the things I’m looking forward to doing is reading this winter as a writer. I had to think about so many things – point of view, how to move the story forward, sentence structure, descriptive detail. I think it will be interesting to read and to notice what other authors have done after having been through this. My novel isn’t done, so I will continue trudging forward – it may be a three year project by the time I’m finished, but I am learning so much.

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    • Thanks! Congrats to you, too! It feels a bit anticlimactic, since I’m now starting the re-writes. At least I can take breaks as needed!

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  4. Huge congrats on finishing. And no self doubt please. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…
    How cool to write something that feels like a manuscript. See my pen envy?

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    • Thanks – I was talking with a fellow NaNo-nite yesterday and the big decision now is to do what many crazed November writers do – put aside the manuscript never to be seen again or really get into the meat of things and work on it. I’ve decided to work the heck out of it, until it reads like a manuscript as well. I’m too old to spend so much time on something and not see it through!

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      • Last year, I put aside my novel and never went back to it. I’m not going to do that this year. I now have two novels to edit and polish. Good for me because when I get frustrated or tired with one, I can switch to the other one. πŸ™‚

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        • That’s a nice plan. I don’t have a backup, so I’m just going to edit my paltry novel until it’s a one page short story that I can use as a coaster.

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  5. This is sort of why I had to stop blogging for a while. Work (like your novel) was demanding too much attention, and I don’t have any option to blow it off. (Not for six more months anyway… then I can retire!!)

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    • I am glad I did the NaNo writing, but I don’t know if I’d do it again. I’ll have to re-write most of it, because it’s truly awful. I think I like a slower pace!

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        • And “volume” exercises are valuable in other ways. There’s nothing quite as intimidating as the blank page. Spewing out lots of content … well you can go back and fix it or even just extract the good parts and reuse them. Sometimes when I’m stuck, I just make myself write (knowing it’s crap). That breaks the block, and then you go back and fix it.

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        • That’s what it did for me – I was so far behind after being sick that I had to power through nearly 3/4 of the word count in 5 days. I now have the clay to make the sculpture, which is so much easier than having to make the clay first!

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        • Clay! Made me think of my main work rant…. they keep asking me to make marble statues…. out of common clay. Yes, I am a miracle worker (which is to say it’s a miracle when I work), but there’s working miracles and then there’s “What,… are you kidding me?!?!”

          Also known as: You can have it fast, cheap or high in quality. Pick two.

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  6. Good for you.

    I just went through it myself, similar plot twists (let’s just say my “novel” went through massive changes as it went through its first four days of writing, changed again as it neared the end, LOST words on the last day (never write your ending before you start, Pixar be damned) and came up short of the 50,000 word goal (finished the book, though….). Let’s just say I’m not looking forward to the editing process.

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    • I think once I’ve edited, I’ll be under 50K again pretty easily! I started off slowly, with things laid out in order, well-written sentences, etc. As I neared the deadline, the writing became repetitive, my timeline got screwed up, I had introduced characters and plot lines that are still just hanging out there. Congrats on finishing a novel – I think I’ve just begun, word count be damned! It’s funny how so many writers loathe the editing process – it’s one of my favorite parts.

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  7. “you can’t stay with your initial plan because as your characters develop, the things you have planned for them no longer fit.” That sounds a lot like real life. Congratulations on finishing especially being sick. I also think WordPress should have a “Petty Post” weekly prompt, like the Daily Prompt and the Weekly Photo Challenge. The host server would probably crash.

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