A while back my table-top group decided to play an out-of-the-box Dungeons & Dragons campaign. It had been a very long time since I last checked out D&D (we used the GURPS system for five years), and I was intrigued by the Fifth Edition (5e) new playable races. The tabaxi, a cat-like humanoid race in particular.
So, as you do when you’re a writer and you love roleplaying games like I do, I wrote a D&D fanfiction story about my character’s backstory. You can read it here: Dream of Starlight on Still Water
I also did something I’d never done before. I bought and painted miniatures!
‘Miniature’ is an understatement
before and after painting
before and after painting
Here it is, day 8 of Nanowrimo. To be on target for getting to 50,000 words by November 30th, I should have written 13,333 words by now. I’m at 9000. Catching up is not impossible. Just improbable, for me.
I am learning some valuable lessons about my writing process.
Lesson One: After midnight is not a productive time for me to write. Lots of people begin NaNoWriMo at 12:01am on November 1st. A friend and I decided to do that, even though we’d never tried it before, just because October 31st was on a Saturday this year and we could. At 11:30pm we were both ready for bed. Between 12:01 and 1am I got about 300 words. I definitely won’t be doing that again.
Lesson Two: My outline is extremely helpful. I am so happy I took the time to really think about the story beforehand. I am still changing as I go, but I am much more confident that I won’t write myself into a corner, or that a thousand story-threads won’t burst from one chapter like tiny spiders from an egg sac.
Lesson Three: I started NaNoWriMo intending to prioritize coherent words over abundant words. I knew that would slow down my word count. Today I went to a write-in and worked pretty consistently for four hours, and only wrote 1700 words. I’ve decided that I am okay with not “winning” NaNoWriMo this year. Finishing the first draft of my novel is what I really want to win.
Lesson Four: I am most productive outside of my home, without family and household chores to distract. I really do my best in a coffee shop. I bring headphones and even if someone next to me is having a loud conversation, I’m not bothered.
What have you learned about your writing process from participating in NaNoWriMo?
Yes, this is another blog post about my dog.
My kids occasionally entertain themselves and me by saying what they think our dog, Teddy, is thinking. Speaking in a voice that sounds to me like Dexter in an animated show called “Dexter’s laboratory.”
Now I find myself imagining what Teddy is thinking.
Where is boss-Mom going? The room where they keep food! I will follow her.
What are you doing? What is that you took from the big cold box? Is it peanut butter? It’s PEANUT BUTTER isn’t it? I want some. Give it to me. I want some. Please. Please. Please.
Oh. Ugh. What is this awful green thing Boss-Mom has fed to me? Celery. Yuk. I will leave it here on the floor. No, no, don’t pick it up. I will eat it later. If I get bored.
Listen, Boss-Mom. If you must eat green stuff, I will hook you up. There is a nice patch of grass outside in the back yard. I will share it with you. Long blades of grass. Nice and green.
But while you are out there, do not eat the rabbit poo. I will not share. The rabbit poo is mine. All mine.
One month ago we adopted a dog, named Teddy by one of my kids.
Teddy in the back yard
Neither my husband nor I have ever owned a dog before. So this is a learning adventure for all of us.
We adopted Teddy from a private rescue organization that brings dogs from high-kill shelters to the Seattle area. He came from Nevada. According to the shelter documents his breed is “border collie mix.” Since we brought him home I’ve learned what that basically means is “black and white dog.” There could be some border collie in his genes. But likely there’s some bull-dog or pit-bull and maybe even some great dane in there also.
Teddy weighs 75 pounds, so he’s pretty big. He’s a very sweet guy, calm most of the time, and loves belly rubs and squeaky toys. He’s learning to walk on a leash, but still tends to forget everything when he sees (or smells) a rabbit or squirrel – critters we have in abundance around here. We are still keeping him separate from our two cats, who are both rather unimpressed with the newest member of the family.
Teddy poses for a selfie with me