Creating time for creating stories

Raindrops

Paula’s Post #118 —

Fellow 5writer Silk posted earlier this week on the occasion of her birthday and now I’m following suit.

Something of a tough act to follow, though.  While she gets to dwell on the mystery of Halloween, I end up with plain old boring November 3rd, which other than having a charming relationship with my surname, otherwise lacks the same pizazz as a Halloween birthday.

And of course, being Silk, she’s entertained us with Life is a Mystery Story, expounding on the theme of a writer’s perspective on ‘All Hallow’s Eve’ and our ever so human need to create stories.

Well, thanks for the reminder Silk, because that’s just what I should be doing right now.

Creating Stories.

The last two weeks have been a trainwreck on the novel writing front, with my days filled with the USTA National Tennis Championships, some minor health matters and our twice yearly, epic transmigration across the vast expanse of the Western United States.

Last Friday, we embarked with the two poodles and headed south to California, with stops in Tumwater WA, Redding CA, and Pismo Beach CA. No common theme, other than  a desire to mix it up and take full advantage of the variety of ‘pet-friendly accommodation’ to be found on Trip Advisor.

If you’ve never travelled with dogs, I can only say it requires a little bit of adjustment. Don’t get me wrong, I love our four-footed friends and watching them snoozing peacefully on the back seat while we careen down the road in scary traffic, double axle behemoths hemming us in on either side is, surprisingly, a rather comforting and calming experience.

And while yes, on occasion one can feel a wee bit disappointed to discover the best inn in town is decidedly pet unfriendly, spending another night in the always welcoming La Quinta Inn and Suites isn’t the worst thing in the world.

For me, the whole trick is keeping it in perspective. This is perhaps akin to the very Pollyanna-ish ‘if life hands you lemons, make lemonade’ philosophy of life, but seriously, it is surprising how often the ‘other fork in the road’ pays unexpected dividends.

If it weren’t for the dogs, we’d probably be like all the other snowbirds, barrelling straight down I-5 South which, at least in the central California sections, is without doubt the boringest drive in the world.

But we have dogs.

And that means we try to keep the days a bit shorter and look for some creative alternatives where the dogs can run and stretch their legs from time to time. Which, come to think of it, is not a bad strategy for their human companions to follow, either.

It’s all in the perspective.

In the end, in my humble opinion, the journey south is 24 hours of driving, no matter how you slice and dice it. If you take Highway 101 instead of I-5, maybe a couple of hours more. But those extra hours offer up towns with such tantalizing names as Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach and Santa Barbara, instead of say … Stockton.

Now, as a writer, if you needed to ‘create stories’ which fork in the road would you rather take?

Exactly!

But fork in the road is where I am at, dear friends, metaphorically speaking. On the writing front, I can count back on my fingers and realize that November 3rd is almost two-fifths into our five months novel writing journey.

Looking in the rear-view mirror I can also see, I’ve just lost two weeks of time (maybe three). Frankly, I’m afraid to peek back to see when, exactly, I actually laid down fresh new words in print.

But with the road trip behind us, I’m settling into our winter home with the days stretching out before me. I’m mentally neatly dividing those days into ‘writing time’ ‘working time’ and ‘tennis time’. Last year, without our 5/5/5/ challenge, ‘writing time’ got the short end of the stick and ‘creating stories’ fell by the wayside, but with this year’s challenge, I remain ever optimistic.

5writer colleague Helga arrives in the desert next week and I’m already planning some marathon, co-writing sessions that will do justice to both our manuscripts and the spirit of NaNoWriMo. While friends and colleagues who commit to NaNoWriMo will be attempting to churn out a whole novel in one month, we 5writers are, comparatively, on easy street.

At the two month mark, I’ve got a head start of 35,000 words and would be thrilled beyond measure to double that in November and hit a word count of 70,000-75,000, heading into December. Which, let’s face it, is bound to be another trainwreck of a month.

So, let’s do the math together.

Today, my birthday – a total write off. That leaves November 4th to 30th, or 27 days.  Only we might as well surgically excise a few more for the festivities of Thanksgiving. So that leaves at best about 25 days. 35,000 divided by 25 = 1,400.

1,400 words a day.

Or, if you’re a binge writer like me, something along the lines of 10,000 words a week.

So, that’s what I’ll be doing this November, creating time for creating stories, with a goal of 10,000 words a week.

How about you? How’s your writing going. If you’re caught up in the madness known as NaNoWriMo, take a break and share some of your strategies for creating time for creating stories. Here at 5writers, we’d love to hear from you!

Update:

Pies eaten this week: 3 – Note: all pizza pies, because that’s the easiest thing to have delivered to your hotel room when you have dogs and don’t want to leave them alone.

Kilometres travelled this week: 2309 – According to Google Maps, the distance between Gibsons Landing and La Quinta, California.

Starbucks visited this week: 7 – I highly recommend Store Locator, when you’re on the road and need re-fuelling.

Blog posts written this week: 1 – Whew! At least I’m caught up somewhere in my life.

Word Count: The same 35,189 I reported in my blog post of October 17th. Ouch!

Birthday Resolution this November 3rd: Create Time to Create Stories.

windmills

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