The Sunday Salon ~ I Am Out of My Mind

October 12, 2008 at 5:29 pm | Posted in Books, LIfe | 20 Comments
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The Sunday Salon.comI have completely lost my mind.  Was it not just last week that I could not keep up with my reviews?  So what do I go and do?  I decide to take the plunge and enter the National Novel Writing Month, which runs from November 1st through the 30th.  To win, you have to write at least 50,000 during that month, and you can’t start early.  I truly believe I have lost it.  It’s Denise fault, though.  She wrote an enticing post about the contest.  Couple that with a “bug in the ear” comment that Karen left on my post about authors and mental illness and the wonderful guest posts I’ve read this week by Kim Powers and Michelle Moran, and I was hooked.  I have wanted to write a novel since I was in the second grade.  In fact, I planned on writing the Great American Novel by the time I was 33.  I am a procrastinator, however, and easily sidetracked.  I need a deadline in order to focus.  This, I rationalized, would be just the deadline I was looking for.  I have no idea what sort of novel I’ll write, but that’s not the purpose of National Novel Writing Month.  The goal is to churn out unedited content.  I know that if when I meet this goal I will no longer be able to use the excuse that I’m not disciplined enough to write.

As soon as I registered, the fear set in.  50,000 words in one month?  Am I crazy?  I am going to have to discipline myself to write at least 1,667 words per day.  That’s over twice as long as my average post.  Believe me, I checked that out immediately.  After copying and pasting a post three times into Word, it’s only about 3 full pages of single spaced text with double spacing between paragraphs.  I’ve written much longer than a 90 page document at work in a month’s time or less.  That makes me feel better.  So, in order to keep myself honest and to make it much more difficult to give up, I’m telling all my readers about my intentions.  Every day I am planning on getting up at 5am, which should give me an hour and a half of uninterrupted writing time.  I will post my updated word count every day.  If you don’t see it, please feel free to beat me up about it.

My review mojo has returned somewhat grudgingly.  I’ve written four reviews during the last week and have posted three so far: Sisters of Misery, The Torn Skirt, and The Good Person Guidebook.  My review of Shrink Rap will be posted tomorrow.  What I ended up having to do was to hold my reading time hostage.  After I finished The Other Queen (which I enjoyed – not my favorite Philippa Gregory novel, but I was happy with it), I only allowed myself to read that day after writing a review (or at least most of it).  That has worked to get me back up to speed.  I now only have to write my review of Immortal and The Other Queen to be caught up.  As a result, I have only gotten about 80 pages into The Tenth Case by Joseph Teller.  After that will be Bad Monkeys by Mark Ruff (finally) and Janeology by Karen Harrington (yeah!).

I’ve come to the decision that I accept way too many ARCs.  I have mostly enjoyed the books that have been sent to me for review, but I’m finding myself wanting more and more to read books that I have bought or have been given to me as a gift.  So, I went through the books I had and found 8 that I’ve either had for a while or received without requesting them.  I offered them to the first commenter yesterday.  I still have Webs of Power and Swap left.  If you’d be interested in either of those novels, please let me know.  I hope that each requester loves the book they’ll be receiving.  I can’t wait to read and, in some cases, post their reviews.

We had a great time on our camping trip last weekend.  I wish I had pictures to post, but we haven’t downloaded them to look at yet.  I’m hoping to post them very soon.  The campground was nice and clean and we had a great time.  The temperatures got down well into the 40s the first night, so we had some extreme family bonding while we tried to get some sleep without losing fingers and toes.  We bundled up much better on Saturday night and got much better sleep because it didn’t get as cold.  I’ll definitely be going back there again.

I hope that everyone else had a great week.  My sister, Meridith, should be having my fourth niece this week.  We were hoping Karly would be born on my birthday, but kids just don’t listen these days. 🙂


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  1. You might be crazy, but that’s still exciting! It’s got to feel wonderful to produce something novel-length in such a short time. I doubt anyone who participates in nanowrimo actually publishes their novel, but it should show you that you can produce one and just have to spend a lot of time editing afterwards. =)

    I’m looking forward to your camping pictures!
    We’ll see if it’s even worthy of editing. 🙂 I need to figure out at least one idea to go with. I’d love to write some historical fiction, but there won’t be any time for research here. 🙂 I wish my pictures were as spectacular as yours.

  2. Good luck with the writing! I would love it if one of my blogging buddies would write a novel – then I could brag that I “knew them when.” It sound like a lot of work, but I’m sure it’ll be rewarding.
    I’ll send you a signed copy of whatever drivel I write. Hopefully it won’t change your opinion of me. 🙂

  3. I did NaNoWriMo a few years ago, and it was a lot of fun. I found that the word count most days was not a hard target to hit – I wrote what was essentially a scene a day, and I’d just finish the scene, which was usually 2000-2500 words – enough to give me a few days off in the middle. I did lose sleep, though, laying in bed thinking about the next day’s scene! 😉

    I’m debating doing it this year – I’ve had an idea for a story bouncing around for about a year, and an outline put together for a few months – but I really should be writing things for work, and just thinking about doing NaNo is sending me into a spiral of grad student guilt.
    Thank you so much for the encouragement. I am off and on freaking out about this. I’m not sure why. If I don’t finish, I will still have written more than I would have otherwise. I really don’t blame you if you sit it out this year. I hated the feeling of grad school procrastination. I swore off classes forever after I finished my Masters thesis. 🙂

  4. Good luck with your writing project! It’s a huge undertaking, but I hear most people who do give it a try found it to be a good experience, even when they didn’t quite complete it.

    I know what you mean about having so many ARC’s around to read. There are a number of books in my own TBR collection that are feeling neglected.
    Thanks! About ARCs… I’m just waiting to have a nightmare where they start gaining up on me…

  5. I did NaNoWriMo for the past two years – amazingly enough, it wasn’t all that difficult once I let go of the inner editor, and just let the words fly!

    I’m not sure whether I’ll do it this year. I have a couple of ideas, but I wonder if my time would be better spent actually revising those two “novels” I’ve already completed!

    Good luck 🙂
    What to do, what to do! I can’t say that I’ve ever started a novel before. It would be hard to decide if I were you. Good luck with what you’ve written. I can’t wait to see your work in print.

  6. I’m in awe, I don’t know how you fit it all in!
    Sheer madness. That’s the only way! 🙂

  7. I know you can do it. Set aside other reviewing concerns and write it. I know you can. You should start thinking of at least an outline of a story before you begin. That will help. And this year, I’m using the cliffs notes (yeah, I admit it) of one of my favorite novels to use as an outline. I think it’ll be a fun idea to riff from a classic and make it my own. NaNo is a powerful thing. There’s something about knowing other people are doing the same thing at the same time that is energizing. I’m sure we’ll talk more about it as it nears. Good luck, my writing bud!

  8. I tried NaNoWriMo last year and failed because I wasn’t committed enough. I”m thinking of giving it another go, though!

  9. Whew…slow down…you’re going 90 miles an hour…and your sister is also…lol. Congrats to both of you on the birth of your babies…your sister her fourth child and you for participating in NAMo. Hmmm 5am every morning…God love you…lol.

  10. Good luck!!!

  11. Wow! Now I feel humbled. I can’t wait to follow your progress. I’ve crossed my fingers and toes to your success. 🙂

  12. you are crazy as I am. I always join NANOWRIMO and I have a number of other obligations! LOL

  13. WoooHoooo!!! I take all the,uh… blame. Seriously, this is so awesome! I’ll be cheering you on. 🙂

  14. Good luck with your new project Jennifer-you’re brave. lol. Can’t wait for those pics and I hope the baby arrives safely this week-what a blessing that will be.

  15. I hope you have tons of fun with NaNoWriMo!

  16. Jennifer, I’m thrilled that you’re doing this! I never knew you wanted to write a novel. I’ll be the first in line to read it when you do 🙂

    I am beginning to feel the same as you re: ARCs. In the past month or so I’ve became much more selective in what I accept. I still have a ways to go though!

  17. I know you’ll do it!!! And my best advice to you is to pick a genre, then keep a few books near your computer which represent what you’d ideally like to write. When you need inspiration, begin reading. It’s a trick I’ve seen many authors use, and the wonderful writer Deanna Raybourn recently blogged about reading for inspiration.

    Good luck!! I know you’ll do fantastically well!

  18. I have written a chapter for what might turn into my future novel a couple years ago. Then it got sidetracked because I had to work on my dissertation. Maybe it’s time I should pick it back up…

  19. Jennifer,
    Wow! That’s great. Didn’t know you were interested in writing yourself… but it makes sense! Good luck with Nanowrimo, and don’t stress over it; just use it as an opportunity to write more than you would’ve otherwise!

  20. Wow, you’re a crazy woman! Good luck with the novel. I always want to do it, but I don’t have time enough as it is.

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