The cats are frolicking (with a vengeance, but frolicking nonetheless). I just scored three super-cute skirts for $3 each at Ann Taylor Loft. Thanks to Frugal October, we found ourselves victorious in the Us v. Our Finances battle this month, with more to spare than expected. My favorite chef, Jennifer, eluded the dreaded elimination for the second week in a row on Top Chef (as she should, because she rocks). And, it’s been another awesome week of writing.
Must be the calm before the storm.
Like many of you, and unlike many of you, I’m jumping in backs-of-my-thighs-first to the madness of November. Here’s hoping I don’t end up bruised and black-purple, like my poor sister did, years ago, after an unfortunate leap from a bluff into the river¹. I’ll be sure to post updates, though I’m going to try not to be exclusively NaNo-focused, since many of you aren’t participating. Here’s a little something fun for all of us:
Owl and Sparrow’s Seven Tips for Staying Sane In November!
(Hopefully, you’ll enjoy them whether or not you’re participating in NaNo – I think they apply to the rest of the year, too.) Here goes:
#1: Priorities: Know Them & Remember Them. Just because it’s November, doesn’t mean I can slap a pair of 1,667-Words-Per-Day glasses on my face and look at the world through them. I’m still a wife, I still want to be a healthy person (meaning eat well, exercise, and sleep well), and commitments don’t just disappear for 1/12th of the year. So I must remember that, first and foremost. And I hope you do, too.
#2: Stress = Mess! Stressing out, in my experience, only bears one fruit: more stress. Doesn’t make you feel better to worry, doesn’t get more words written, it only gets in the way of a clear head. How are ideas expected to flow through a messy, stressy brain? So, I plan to stay calm, which leads me to…
#3: Kiss the Critic. Goodbye, that is. Everything written can get fixed later, but it won’t have a chance to get fixed if hours are spent agonizing over its inevitable lameness. Lame just might be the precursor to awesome.
#4: Squaliteed. What do you get when you mix speed and quality? Probably something better than squaliteed, but hey, it was the first thing I came up with. In a challenge like NaNo, it’s inevitable that quality sometimes gets sacrificed for the sake of mere speed. In the other eleven months of the year, speed gets sacrificed for quality. Now’s the chance to smash them together.
#5: The Future is Now! Especially if you were a passenger on Oceanic 815 and are stuck in the 1970’s with a little Benjamin Linus². Oh, wait, we’re talking about writing, not the best TV show (ever) on the air? My bad. Here’s what I meant to say: write without worrying about the what-other-people-might-think-in-the-future stuff, and rather, write the what’s-the-best-it-can-be-right-now? stuff.
#6: Chase the Cats, along with other stuff that has nothing at all to do with writing. I’m pretty sure I’d even get sick of Lost if I watched it all day, every day, for all of November. Same with writing. Gotta keep it fresh so you’ll want to return to the story; make some biscotti or some mushroom soup, then come back to the project refreshed (and/or satiated with deliciousness).
#7: Unserious Seriousness. Last but not least, it is a commitment – and commitments, self-imposed or otherwise, require follow-through. That doesn’t mean it has to be a drag, though³. How amazing is it that we have ideas, language, and tools to communicate them? Food to eat, family to visit, cats to referee? Other authors at our fingertips to bond with – whether they’re cramming their novels into one month, or spreading them out in a more timely fashion? Life is amazing, you guys. Make the commitment, but don’t miss the beauty of it all in the process.
¹In case you’ve ever wondered what small-town Texans do for fun when they’re in high school, it goes a little something like this. When it’s daylight, go in droves to the river, jump off something high, get bruised if you land with your legs out, do it all over again. When it’s dark, meet at the gas station and drive up and down the same road all night. I wasn’t in the in-crowd in high school, so I didn’t get to participate in these exhilarating activities. In case you can’t tell, I’m sooooooo bummed I missed out.
²Random Lost shout-out! January, come soon, please…
³Feel free to remind me of this when November 29th rolls around, after the eight-hour drive home from seeing our Kansas relatives, and I’ve spent several days probably not writing.