Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011 Days 8 and 9

I didn’t write on Day 8 and it looked like I wasn’t going to write on Day 9. Aimee and I had a pretty great conversation about the book today where we worked out some of the trickier issues with the time travel (yes, time travel, ha). We’ve had a few good conversations about the book the last few days, but I haven’t really felt excited about it unless we’re talking.

I mentioned this to Aimee tonight and suggested that we word war – with a twist. Together, we’d pick a scene and both write it separately. We’ve generally been on the same page (eerily so), so I thought it would inspire us and also reveal the aspects of the story we’re both leaning toward.

Aimee had a better suggestion. She said we should each assign a scene for the other to write. I thought it would be hard to assign her a scene – after all, I’ve been having trouble dreaming up scenes for myself to write. But almost instantly, I knew which scene she should write and she knew which to assign for me. And the best part is that they were perfect scenes for us to write – both naturally “our” scenes and challenging. She assigned me the first time one main character time travels. I assigned her the first time two characters meet.

And it worked! I got 834 words and she got 396 (she’s still writing). Which brings our NaNoWriMo totals to 4,762 and 4,104 respectively, as of this writing.

I have more of the scene I want to write, but need to go to bed. Meanwhile, we’re going to start assigning each other scenes to write every day. Part impetus, part writing prompt, all collaboration.

From our conversation after our very special word war/writing assignments:

Me: We’re great collaborators.

Aimee: Always were.

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NaNoWriMo 2011 Day 7

Long day at work. I just wrote 486 words after getting home. By hand, in case you were wondering. And also, I wrote the first few paragraphs of a short story I’ve been thinking about, not the novel with Aimee.

Aimee, how you doing?

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NaNoWriMo 2011 Day 6

The weekend was meant to be a big catchup, but that’s not exactly how it’s turned out. Or rather, I haven’t been able to catch up on my NaNoWriMo word count as much as I’d like because I was catching up on other things – with friends, errands, a few necessary chores and with sleep.

NaNoWriMo is tough regardless. But when you’re working 60+ hour weeks and you have just two days to see your friends and do everything you weren’t able to do during the week, it gets tougher. One of the best things I did this weekend was re-read my NaNoWriMo posts from last year. Last year, I’d started a new film job (So Undercover) a week into NaNoWriMo, so I was able to get a big headstart and then when work started, it slowed down a bit. I struggled last year, too (after that first week). It’s easy to forget the struggles of the past in the current moment, but it’s important to remember. I struggled last year and I won last year.

Maurice gave me a pep speech while I was on my way back from the wedding last night. He said that I should write whatever interested me most. And while I like the story Aimee and I are writing for NaNoWriMo, I think I struggle with feeling like I can only write one thing. In all these years of doing NaNoWriMo and in all the years I’ve won, I’ve never finished an entire draft of a book, even if I did write 50,000 words. I got a great start on a book, but I’ve never been able to get through an entire story arc in 50,000 words. So why should I worry about only writing one thing anyway? If feeling locked into one story is causing stagnation, it’s defeating the purpose of NaNoWriMo – which is about pure creation.

So I hereby give myself permission to write whatever I want whenever I want, aiming for 2,000 words a day, whatever those words may be. And just in time, because there’s a short story I want to write…

I’ve written 170 words today, by the way. Tomorrow will be better.

Aimee, feel free to update when you get to a stopping point (or tomorrow).

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NaNoWriMo 2011 – Day 5

No words today for Ems. Wedding on the Northshore until late. Did you know it’s a $3 toll to get back across to New Orleans now? I didn’t. It used to only be $1. Clearly haven’t visited the Northshore in a long time, but it was a lovely wedding. The couple high-fived each other when the minister mentioned they’d been together nearly a decade now and someone drove a SUV with a giant t.v. in the back onto the lawn so everyone could watch the LSU-Bama game at the reception instead of rushing home. The cake was delicious (the groom’s cake was LSU-themed and in the shape of a fleur-de-lis) and everyone looked beautiful.

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NaNoWriMo 2011 Day 4

Behind. Not too worried because I’ve been here and done this before. And I have a plan.

This weekend: Ignore everything that can be ignored and write. Some things can’t be ignored – a friend is getting married, a few errands I have to run, the Saints game. Those are priorities. I’d like to get a bit ahead to pad myself for next week. But I’m not prepared, this year, at least not yet, to cut myself off as drastically as I’ll probably have to later this month. I’m feeling too restless and sociable. Plus, Aimee and I really need to have a conversation soon about those first few days of writing we’ve done.

Word count updates to come – if any words gets written. Aimee? You got updates?


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NaNoWriMo 2011 Day 3


There are a million of them. I think of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, a children’s book that neatly explains the concept of the slippery slope from logic (the ONLY college course I almost failed) often – it’s one of the ruling philosophies of my life. If you give in to one excuse, you’ll give in to another and then three more and then ten more. And suddenly, you’re excusing yourself before you’ve even begun.

There are valid excuses, of course. Our children get sick. We have to work. We want to do something else, in any given moment, even if we have a glorious endeavor we’d like to complete. But we can get derailed so early, so easily.

And the reality is, without procrastination and excuses, I wouldn’t have stumbled upon this video:

Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.

And, in turn, I wouldn’t have remembered experiencing my own murmuration of starlings on the Lake Ponchartrain Causeway at 17 years old. And a story I will now write (surely, once all of my excuses are exhausted) might never have been written. Well, it’s not written yet. But it might be. Because I let myself be distracted. Which is another word for inspired.

Total word counts:

Aimee: 2,800 (approximate)

Emilie: 3,272 (348 words today)

NaNoWriMo Day 3 Goal: 4,998

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NaNoWriMo 2011 Day 1

Last year, I checked in almost every day during the month of November, updating y’all on my NaNoWriMo progress. This year, I’m gonna shoot for every day. Let’s see how it goes.

First, let me say that November has got to be the worst month to do a project as large as 50,000 words. Why? Because the first day of the project follows a holiday where you are often tired, hungover and/or recovering. Then, there’s the fact that there’s ANOTHER big holiday at the tail end of the month. Lastly, there are only 30 days and because it’s near the end of the year and leading up to Christmas, there is SO MUCH wrapping up (of the year, of presents) to do.

Regardless. I am going to win. Just like I won last year, despite the odds (and they were tremendous). Those things I whined about in the above paragraph don’t change from year-to-year, so we have to go into this process with our eyes wide open.

Sister Aimee and I have hunkered down the last few years and cheered each other on. In 2009, I wrote about our history of writing together as children and how NaNoWriMo saved my life. But this year, we’re not just cheering each other on in the process, we’re writing together. We’ve each committed to writing 50,000 words of a joint story. We’re working out how that’s going to happen, so it’s a big adventure.

So. Day 1. We waited patiently for midnight last night (luckily we’re in the same time zone) and then, even though I was personally drooping in exhaustion, we word-warred for a half hour. Aimee got 714 words and I got 909.

We’re going to try to get our totals up to 1,667 before midnight. Let’s see if we can do it.

Post-midnight update: Aimee is now at 1,464 total words and I am at 1,985. When it comes to word wars, she and I are the definition of the tortoise and the hare. And you know which one won the race…


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The writing habit – Fess Up Friday

I can’t count the number of times I’ve read/heard/thought different permutations of the same thought lately: If you write every day, if only for 10, 15, 30 minutes a day, it adds up. Certainly more than not writing at all. Mary reminded me in a comment on my last post. I reminded my sis Aimee last night in a phone conversation and I know, know, know with every fiber of my being that it’s true, but it takes a surprising amount of courage and willpower to make writing a habit.

But writing makes me happy, so I’m working on it. To that end, I’m resurrecting Fess Up Fridays, a borrowed idea that emphasizes accountability.

On Monday, I finished a short story called The New Heart. I let it sit for a few days, then re-read and edited today. Then, just a little while ago, I sent the story to my first-read committee.

All week, I made attainable goals to tackle my freelance work. I usually met my goals each day, but more importantly, I got a lot of work done. While working on some freelance yesterday,  I couldn’t shake the weirdest thought and that suddenly became an idea for a book. I texted sis Aimee, knowing immediately that this was something for the two of us to write together, and she was taken by the idea as well. We might’ve just stumbled upon our NaNoWriMo 2011 project, with plenty of time to outline, create characters and world-build. Wild.

I am not nervous at all about collaborating with Aimee. We used to write together as kids and we’ve been reading each other’s individual work for years, so we know each other’s voices and strengths. In fact, I’m the opposite of nervous. I’m excited. I can’t wait for NaNoWriMo, though I know our idea is such a big one that we’re going to need all this time to do the groundwork and be ready to write.

One of my biggest challenges is follow-through. I get tons of ideas (usually in a bunch of different genres) and rarely see something through to completion. Some version of completion, yes. True completion, not usually. So, my goal is to write every day so I can tackle all these different ideas and genres, to see things through. Because it feels really good to finish a project and it’s important for my soul, as well as my success.


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