Thursday, October 16 7:10 PM

I’m a little bit terrified. Okay, not really. Not much scares me these days. Maybe the wasp that’s been clinging to the curtain in the front room, periodically flying up to the ceiling then back to the curtain. But not much else. I know who I am. I know who drives my bus and fear doesn’t generally play a part in my life. But that said, I’m a little terrified. It’s now October 16th. This means that NaNoWriMo starts in just over two weeks. I’m not ready. I’m not prepared. I don’t have an outline. And those 3 x 5 index cards I started at the workshop I attended last Friday? I don’t have a full set yet!

It’s okay. I’ve paused to take a sip of tea. I still have time. I can put in a few hours and get back on track at the weekend…right? And while this is all well and good for the days leading up to the BIG DAY (November 1st), what happens if I feel like this on November 7th or 14th or 21st (or any of the other days in between those)? Perhaps I need to fall back on my training. Oh wait, I don’t have any training in this. I’ve just got a few (hundred thousand) people who’ve gone before me that have done NaNoWriMo. And I have what I learned last week.

So you may recall that I’d signed up for a “NaNoWriMo Writer’s Workshop.” And I was pretty darned excited to attend. Unlike many thing in life, my expectations were met and then some. It was fantastic. I was the first one there. That was okay; I got my pick of seats. I had been picturing a room filled with a few rows of chairs facing an instructor. But what I found were some small tables pushed together to form one long one, with chairs going round the outside. As others started to arrive, I took a quick assessment of my classmates.

The second to arrive was a gray haired, nicely dressed woman. She was a bit reserved but not standoffish. She was followed by a mother and son team. He, about 30-something and blind, toting a laptop on which I think he took notes in braille. She was clearly there not just as a companion but fellow writer, taking notes and making plans. Then there were a couple of 20-somethings, a few other 40-somethings and our instructor. She was perfect. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I suppose that’s good. As soon as she called our motley crew to order, we were off and running and we barely paused for two full hours.

I took copious notes, turning my notebook sideways to copy her diagram showing how to plot a novel in three acts. I filled index cards as instructed, making notes on “who wants what”, “the answer to who wants what”, plot points, and character ideas. Ah, this was it…writer stuff!

When we took a short break halfway through, I didn’t want to risk going to the restroom in case I missed out on some sidebar conversation that would be of value. I chatted to my table-mates, learning that for some like me this was their first go round with novel writing month, while others were old pros. Several had apparently taken classes from or been part of book groups with our instructor. That could have been a bit intimidating, had I had time to process it. But break ended and it was back to scribbling notes on what defines a scene, points of view, and the five kinds of writing (dialogue, action, thought, exposition, description).

I went home with ideas galore, feeling slightly armed and dangerous with my new knowledge. I was going to spend hours filling in the gaps on the character cards I’d started, defining plot points, and creating a detailed outline. But I hadn’t counted on how tired I still was from my illness. And family obligations arouse, work obligations, and just life happened.

It’s okay. I’ve got some time carved out at the weekend. And I’m attending NaNoWriMo kick-off event at the local library on Saturday. Heck, I’ve written final papers for classes with less prep time. I can do this.

Still, I want to thank you all for the encouragement. It’s truly a joy when one of you connects with something I’ve said or is encouraged to tackle something of your own that you may have been putting off. We can do this!

And as my tea cup is nearly empty, it’s time to go. Until next time..

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8 thoughts on “Thursday, October 16 7:10 PM

  1. Sue, your writing is wonderful and effortless. I really hope you can dive in to November with all the enthusiasm you had when you signed up. Whatever you write is going to be an original “Sue.” No one does it better…

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  2. I agree whole heartedly with what OpinionsToGo said :)…. seriously, you have a God given talent for writing and your voice is wonderful and effortless when you let it fly. I’m not telling you to blow off your prep – rather to embrace the unexpected and expect that when you sit down each day that (prep or not) your flow will come. And since NaNoWriMo is all about writing and not editing – prep will only get you so far! You’ve got this – and we will all be there right behind you every day encouraging you (in whatever form that needs to take) every day. I hope and encourage you to spend your time leading up to Nov 1 feeding your enthusiasm rather than your feelings of unpreparedness 🙂 xo

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