Going Beyond National Novel Writing Month

I’ve got two shiny new badges in my sidebar. One is the JuNoWriMo Winner’s badge and the other is the CampNaNoWriMo Winner’s Badge. That’s right. I did it. I wrote 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. Actually, I wrote 53,137 of a novel in 29 days, but who’s counting? Answer: Me, because that’s kind of the point. It’s about the numbers.

I’ve got the numbers. I had the numbers in November for the official National Novel Writing Month. What I don’t have is a completed novel. I have 50,000 words (give or take a few) of two novels and neither one of them is even close to finished. That, my friends, is not the point of National Novel Writing Month. I’m supposed to complete a novel. Problem is, I don’t know if I can.

If I’ve learned anything from the NaNoWriMo experience, it’s that vomiting words on a page is not how a novel gets written. Not for me, at least. It takes me a good 30,000 words to even find the heart of the story and those first 30,000 words? Are mostly garbage and completely unsalvageable. It’s probably my fault. I don’t outline before I start the word purge and nothing good comes from writing on the fly, hoping something that someone might actually want to read spews forth at 3 AM when the only thing keeping me awake is copious amounts of tobacco and coffee. Substitute alcohol for the coffee, and maybe. Isn’t that how Hemingway did it?

Hemingway drinking and writing

I love him.

I’m kidding, of course. Not about Hemingway. That’s true. But I’m no Hemingway, neither in writing ability nor in alcohol tolerance. And I’m never going to Spain to watch bull fighting.

Point is, I need to find a new way–a better way–my way– to write a novel. It will involve planning and dedication and hard work and patience and a basic grasp of punctuation and grammar usage–none of which are my strong points. Seriously, the odds aren’t good. Thing is, I’m not a math person. I’m a words person. And I have those in droves.

Now, to take these two pieces of a novel and decide which has more “viability”( By “viability,” I mean “which sucks less”) and devote myself to it. Get it in my head that a novel is not written in a month. It will take time and sweat and a schedule and learning how to use commas.

I can do it. I will do it. Otherwise, I’m a wannabe novelist. That’s unacceptable. I’m aiming for the big prize: The Unpublished Novelist. Because that is a title I can be proud of.

Coincidentally, I learned something new this week. Did you know that it is incorrect to use two spaces after a period? No, I’m not kidding. It’s a rule. The Chicago Manual of Style says so. That blows my mind. Anyway, in my endeavor to follow grammar and punctuation rules, this post was written using only a single-space after each period.

That is progress.


Related Posts:

NaNoWriMo Dropout
NaNoWriMo Week One: Six Lessons 
NaNoWriMo: The Last Three Days 

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Chin Hair and Other Fantastic Things

So I found another hair growing out my chin this week. It’s amazing, really, how those things just sprout over night. One day, you’re feeling pretty good that your diet is paying off and you only have one chin, instead of three, and the next–BAM! A long, black hair is poking out of your new-found chin. I guess it’s nature’s way of keeping you humble.

woman shaving

Despite the weight loss and not working, my back is worse than ever.  I wake up most mornings not able to walk or stand up straight without gasping and/or crying.  That means I haven’t been able to start exercising.  I want to exercise.  It will help my back and speed up this dieting drudge.  It’s the ol’ Catch-22.  I need to exercise to make my back feel better but I need my back to feel better so I can exercise.  Grrrr.

Oh and the 6yo had a stomach virus yesterday which I now have.  I’m sitting here, typing, in an effort to concentrate on anything other than the fact that I could vomit at any minute.  When I vomit, I cry, and I’m an ugly crier.  So, I’d rather not be an ugly, puking crier.  I’ll just keep my slightly green tinge, thank you very much.  *deep breaths*

Dawson Ugly Crier

“I don’t want your life!” Oh wait. That’s not right. Oh yeah. Joey left you for Pacey. Poor Dawson. No girl AND an ugly crier.

There is something that happened this week than I’m really excited about.  I discovered a wonderful blog gathering called, “Yeah Write.”  Basically, it’s 50 blogs linking up and competing for awards–peer choice, editor’s choice, and 2 lurker’s choice.  But I don’t really care about the awards.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’d love to win one.  Who doesn’t like to win awards?  Stupid people, that’s who.  And I’m not stupid.  But just reading these blogs and leaving comments and having these sweet people do the same is award enough.  Seriously, these are some awesome people.  I wish I’d found it sooner.  If you’re interested, you can read more about it here.  If you don’t want to compete, there is a hang-out where you can just read and share the blog love.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go throw up.

Related Posts:

I’m Thinking of Growing A Beard…
Wordless Wednesday:  Momfog’s Survival Kit 
Ten Things I Learned On Summer Vacation  
Scheduling Summer 

Three Tier Staggered Squares Wedding Cake

I did a wedding cake this weekend.  Wedding cakes freak me out.  They have to be as close to flawless as possible and I don’t do flawless work.  I prefer the cakes that have to look like something else.  The kind that, if I mess up, I can cover up the mistake with a fondant flower or some other random decoration.  Anyway, this one was pretty simple.

Three square tiers with ribbons around the bottom.  Impossible to mess up, right?

Psht.  Right.

busy bakerThe first cake I baked stuck in the pan.  When I tried to turn it out, it came out in a million tiny pieces.  I said some choice words, cried a little, gave the mess to 5 very happy children, and made another one.  It turned out perfectly, as did the next 4.  In all, I made 6 pound cakes, but only used 5 of them for this cake.

Then I cut them into squares, as I don’t have square pans.  Again, more remnants for the cake monsters.  They ate cake for breakfast for 3 days.  I won major Awesome Mom points for that.

I made 14 cups of buttercream icing (thank God for KitchenAid mixers!), iced them, put dowel rods in them (to keep cake from collapsing,) iced them again, and stacked the suckers. Then, I spent 1 hour, applying scotch tape to the back of ribbon so the grease/butter from the icing wouldn’t bleed through.  That was FUN.  *eye roll*

I attached the ribbon and went to bed.

The next morning, I got up, got myself and 5 kids ready for a wedding and loaded them and the cake into the car.  I hate driving with cakes in the car.  I just know somebody will rear-end me and cake will fly everywhere and the poor bride will be left with no wedding cake.  I drive very slowly, turn corners at a snail’s pace, and tick off drivers every time I deliver a cake.

Anyway, I got it there in tact and on time.   Here it is.

staggered squares with ribbon wedding cake

Not much to it, but it’s at least relatively smooth.  Not smooth enough (my cakes never are) but I did the best I could.  It tasted good, or so I’m told.  I’m dieting and can’t eat it.  Bummer, huh?

This little baby packs some major calories/carbs/fat or whatever else you’re not supposed to have while dieting.  Here’s the rundown.

  • 14 sticks of butter (cake and icing)
  • 15 cups of granulated sugar (cake)
  • 28 cups of powdered sugar (icing)
  • 15 cups flour (cake)
  • 30 eggs (cake)
  • 7 cups Crisco (icing)

I think I gained 15 lbs. just by typing that.

Related Posts:

Wedding Cakes
My Cake Hobby 
Let Them Eat Cake 
Three Cakes 

A Birthday Party at the Commune

Happy Birthday Hippie Style

Happy Birthday Molly! 9 Years Old. Wow.

Okay, so it wasn’t a commune. It was a campground. But when the birthday girl is wearing a bathing suit with peace signs and hearts on it, the cake is decorated to look like a tie-dyed peace sign, and everyone shares a bathroom, a campground has a definite commune vibe.

My daughter had a slumber party.  There was a pool, a lake to fish in, swans and ducks to feed, a fire to roast marshmallows over, and a cabin to make bohemian bracelets and watch movies in.  It was a pretty good birthday party.  Only 4 girls showed up instead of the 7 she invited, but that was fine by me.   I had help, but I don’t know if we could have handled an extra three girls and still maintained our sanity.

The weather was perfect.  Not humid or too hot, which is a minor miracle for June in Savannah, Georgia.  The girls had fun and my friend and I had a pot of Starbucks coffee, our laptops to get some Camp NaNoWriMo writing done, and we even got to watch a movie that didn’t feature animals or mermaid Barbie.

Oh yes.  A cake picture.  Molly wanted a peace sign.  A tie-dyed peace sign.  As usual, I didn’t put as much effort into my kid’s cake as I do for others (bad mama).  It turned out okay but my son was spot-on when he said, “It’s not your best.”  At least he’s honest (the butthead.)  The picture quality isn’t great, either.  As usual, I forgot the camera (bad mama) and had to take the picture with my crappy phone camera.

tie-dyed peace sign cake

Groovy

No, she’s not a hippie.  She’s a normal 9yo who has been bitten by the fashion bug known as Justice.  You know the clothing store–an explosion of glitter, peace signs, hearts, and too short shorts.  I don’t allow the shorts but the tops and dresses are okay.  She adores it.  Good thing, because she got $75 worth of gift cards to spend there.  She couldn’t be happier.

Somewhere in the last year, my baby grew up.  She looks older (thanks to bangs), is an expert eye roller, and always has a smart-butt comment for everything.  If she’s this lovely at 9, I can’t wait to see her at 15.  I can feel the gray hairs sprouting, just thinking about it.