NaNoWriMo 2017: Day 8 Journal

Current word count: 9,305 / 50,000 words. Ideally I will be up to 13,333 words by the end of today but I am not confident of that!

Today’s soundtrack: Sweet, sweet silence.


It’s finally – finally! – a warm sunny day today. Warm enough that I can sit outside with my laptop and my coffee to write. The cats are staring at me with their usual “Is she going to feed us again?” intensity.

I am so, so tired. The last week has been such a whirlwind that my inner calendar is completely out of whack. What do you mean it’s already Wednesday?! I look with some alarm at the schedule for the next few weeks and wonder how on Earth I will make it through NaNoWriMo when there is so much happening? School camps, ballet concerts, birthdays, The Husband has a business trip coming up too. There are good things too – a self-publishing comic I really like has just announced an upcoming kickstarter for the next book in their series; we managed to cash in some loyalty points at our local supermarket to get some movie tickets, so Star Wars is sorted; I’m enjoying watching the last few races for the F1 and WRC seasons; and the blessed warmth of early summer is just over the horizon.


The last week included a heavy metal concert and I think I am still recovering. I don’t bounce back from these things the way I used to when I was 19 and going to music festivals, then leaping out of bed to go to work the next day. I need to get fitter. My regular exercise habits kind of disintegrated when I got the ‘flu two months ago and I am yet to pick it up again. I recall with some surprise and a little horror that it’s been at least 5 months since I last rode my bicycle. Good intentions are fine but if I don’t actually get in the saddle and ride, I can’t really think of myself as a cyclist! In the meantime, The Husband has taken to ‘casually’ riding to the top of the nearest mountain and back home again of a Saturday morning with a local cycling group. So at least one of us is working out… right?!

The weekend just past was a blur of activity as The Husband and I headed off to rural Victoria for a wedding. It was a lot of fun and I am glad I went. But it was a loooooong day and we didn’t get home until the wee hours of the next morning. It was the first time I’d had a glass (or two… or three) of wine in several months and I was very quickly reminded of the reasons why I stopped drinking except for special occasions in the first place. Namely, exhaustion, hangovers, and the instant degradation of my skin condition, the bloating, and the allergies. I won’t be doing that again any time soon.

Meanwhile, yesterday (Tuesday) was a public holiday in our state, and my children’s school very unofficially and gently encouraged students to not come to school on Monday either. It was essentially a four-day weekend for us. We were all tired and ratty from the busyness of last few days that it wasn’t exactly a relaxing time at home. I should have learned by now that holidays do not actually help my NaNoWriMo progress, because family have many ways of demanding attention and distracting from writing.


But Wednesday is here. The kids are back at school. The Husband is back at work. The neighbours are at work, too, so the neighbourhood is nice and quiet. The sound of children playing at the nearby school is fine. As is the regular roar of the huge passenger jet aeroplanes overhead. But I can finally focus on writing again.


I try to set aside the mental ruminations that are bugging me. There’s all this niggling noise in the background of my life that I would happily do without – at any time, but especially when I am trying to channel my brain power into writing.


I am not interested in drama, but for some reason drama likes to come at me. Usually in the form of dysfunctional folks in my life popping out from time to time to blast me with their latest set of issues, when they really would be better off talking to a mental health professional … Later they will predictably lament that I never seem to want to be around them.

Aside from abstract notions of group psychology, I don’t think I will ever understand how a person can work so hard to drive others away, only to be surprised when they look around to find themselves all alone. Humans, hey? What a great bunch of lads.


As for my NaNoWriMo story, in the midst of all that other stuff, I am struggling a bit. The word counts are doable, but only if I really lower my expectations. I have to be okay tapping out almost stream-of-conscious, chronologically confused text. I make margin notes like, “I’ll work out which character says this dialogue later,” or “I don’t think this section works.”

But you have to write the rubbish before you can scour it for hidden gems. A scene I write now might not see the light of day, but maybe it will open up other imaginative possibilities for how I can edit the story later on. In that sense, I am kind of breaking the NaNo rules. I know that I am meant to silence my inner editor, but that’s hard to do. So I can appease her by making the occasional note: “I know this section of writing is not great, but I can re-use the location or context for a different part of the story.”


On some levels I’m pretty disappointed. I was so certain this story was “The One,” that is was going to become my first real story that I would be willing to share.

But I have to remind myself that NaNo isn’t really about that. Not for me. It’s about developing the discipline of writing. Of taking out the laptop and notebook and pen and just doing it. Even when life is distracting. Even when it’s hard. Even when I’m tired. Even when the stuff happening in the news is sad. Even when I’m tempted to procrastinate by getting into online arguments about stuff that matters to me but that would ultimately be a fruitless capslock shouting match between diametrically opposed viewpoints.

So I pull out the laptop. Breathe deeply of the quietness and the birds singing and the wind rustling the trees. And I just keep writing because one day, somehow, I am going to try to write a story that other people will want to read.