Monday, August 5, 2013

So Close and Yet So Far, July Camp Wrimo

Well, once again, life came between me and my 50,000 words. I did end up with 11,022 words added to an ongoing novel, The Basket Case, so I'm very happy with that. Thanks so much to the NANO WRIMO staff for another great writing month. I joined a cabin this time and enjoyed the emails from the other campers.

It's so important when you're a beginning writer, or even a seasoned one, to not be totally isolated in your writing. My critique group in Raleigh, NC, The Goalies, sometimes have writing days. These are spontaneous and open to anyone in the group who is available. One member emails that she is writing and invites others to join in. Anyone else checking the email sends back that they'll be writing as well. We email later when we're finished and if we feel it was productive, how much written, etc. So, we're writing together, in separate homes/offices/restaurants and often in separate cities. But, we still have that feeling of camaraderie across the miles.

One of our members, Kate, shared the http://tomato-timer.com/# website. This site sets a timer for twenty-five minutes so that you can focus and work in short bursts, take a break and then go at it again.

I need to remember to use this more often. I tend to get on a roll with my writing and not want to stop, fearing that I'll lose whatever thread is winding its way through my brain at the time. I'm limited to physically typing for too long due to shoulder injuries sustained through my place of work. More than two hours of typing may incapacitate me for the next day's session, a lesson I learned this summer.

All in all, however, I am happy to say that I wrote more this time than in any other NANO attempt. I will try next November again, but with a Zentangle certification conference for four days and teaching, I need to set a more attainable goal. Okay, so here goes - my goal is 12,000 words. Not much more than my current total, but even with teaching, I plan to keep going.

I'm hoping that The Basket Case is finished at that point. Currently I have 17,835 words, six completed chapters and an outline for Chapter 7. I love where this is going and am getting good feedback from my Goldsboro critique group and mother and sister. I'm relying on the latter two as the book centers around a basket shop and basket makers convention. With decades of experience in both of those, they're my technical experts here.

My other distraction during July? Oh, yes. I got the word from my principal recently that I will not be teaching resource this year. For the first time in thirty years, less than two years before retiring, I will be teaching a class of regular students - math and science. Out of necessity (or nerves), I've been combing the web for teaching ideas as well as new pacing guides. One thing that stays the same about teaching is that it's always different, completely understated at this point. I'm actually excited about this and am happy that it's 6th grade students and that I'm familiar with the rest of the 6th grade teachers. They're such a wonderful group. So, like my critique buddies who are there to encourage me, at least I go forward into uncharted territory knowing that I have a support group there as well.

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