week 1.5 – NaNoWriMo

I ended the week, as did many other WriMos with a writing marathon. And like most marathons, turns out training matters. Training in this case being less about miles run and more about words written.  There were two days this week that I didn’t write. That, plus a misreading of a word count calendar I have left me short, even after the marathon. Because why? Because I didn’t do a good job training and I suck at anything that looks like math. Yeah, sue me. Figuring out the stats to finish NaNo on time looks like math to me.

The first day I didn’t write was Tuesday. My partner fell and hit his elbow first thing in the morning while accompanying our sprog to the bus stop. He (my partner, not the sprog) is on a blood thinner because he had a heart valve replaced a few years back. He was the first guy in Arizona to have it done robotically. It was in the news and shit. If you’re particularly good with Google, you might be able to track him down. Anyway, bruises are bad news for him because of the blood thinners. About midway through the morning, I texted him to see how he was doing. He said there was swelling. He is a notorious under-reporter, so I demanded that he bring his elbow to my office so I could judge for myself whether a trip to the ER was in order. He brought it, tried to hide it, but ultimately revealed what looked like a second elbow growing adjacent to the first. It was truly gruesome. I – not a fan of shows with graphic surgery, despite my horror fandom – could not look at it for long. We went to the ER.

At the ER, we generally made the nursing staff uncomfortable while waiting for the doc. Aside from the truly grotesque image of the elbow itself, once they found out he was on coumadin and that he – such a cliche here – hadn’t been to the doctor as he should have been in months, they kinda freaked out. It didn’t help that he raised his arm to try to relieve the pressure and a great gout of blood came shooting out of his elbow. This happened while only the two of us were in the room, and I swear to you, it looked like the worst special effect ever. The blood jetted out as if someone hid a smallish garden hose next to his arm. I thought it looked vaguely arterial and panicked in the somewhat British way that I do (though I’m not at all British), which is to say I calmly walked out into the hallway and said, “There’s a great deal of blood on the floor – can you please come check this out?” By the time they got in there (seconds), it was done bleeding because rather than being arterial bleeding, it had been more like a giant blood-filled zit popping. The weird swelling on his elbow was gone, leaving behind normal looking damage from the fall.

The doc came in and explained it all in doctorly terms, made an appointment for the partner with a cardiologist (I cheered), tested his coumadin-levels and proclaimed it safe for him to go home. The whole ordeal took around 4 hours. We came home, made him comfortable, cooked dinner… and I could have written. I really could have. He was okay. We were okay. But I just didn’t have it in me. I went to bed early.

That was the first “training” error of the week. I should have at least got in 1000 words, which takes me about 30 minutes. Seems that’s kind of like skipping a training run. My second error came the next day when I only did about 1100 words. I should have done more, but I claimed difficulty getting the hang of working a full day and then coming home to write. This is like cutting miles from your run when you should be ramping up.

My third error was not writing on Friday. I had no reason. I just came home from work, decided to have a glass of wine (or two. Okay, I had three. Have you seen how big my wine glass is?) with the fam and relax. We had cable again. I played WoW. This was the most egregious sin of all. I could have made up for the earlier day off quite handily here. The reason I didn’t was that I looked at the word count calendar, mistook the weekly total for the total total and thought I only needed to write 2500 words to be on track for the week.

Oh fuck.

I was so proud.

I would like to state for the record that I made this miscalculation BEFORE I drank the wine. I can’t blame being drunk. I just suck at math. And even though the calendar even has nice little blocks to help the numerically challenged such as myself, I’m not much better at spatial intelligence. Ask the hubs, who regularly has to do all the packing because when I do it, we use twice as many boxes and need three times as much room on the moving vehicle.

So I took my damned time on Saturday morning, which was the day of the NaNoThon, a day designed for catching up.  I slept in. Why not? I only had to write 2500 words. And if I ended up writing more, that would be okay, but not necessary to my goal because I thought I was on track. When I finished at 2710, it was like I finished my race with a PR.

And then I looked a little more closely at the stupid calendar. (Don’t bother pointing out that I’m the stupid one here – I know. It’s a defense mechanism.) This was about 11-ish last night. I looked. And then I looked again. What I’d thought was the overall count was the weekly count. I wasn’t ahead. I was behind. I couldn’t even tweet. I didn’t have the umph even for that little thing. I just closed my laptop and went to bed, but not before I did the math (correctly this time) that told me I’d have to put out about 3700 words today to be on track.

Lost it.

Did I already say oh fuck? Let me say it again. Oh fuck. With an illustration. This combo of disasters was like getting stupid drunk and eating crap the night before a race, then running the race with a broken watch and thinking that just because you finished while breathing, it was a personal record when in fact you were about twice as slow as usual.

Today I have on tap a meeting with my local writer friend. That’s in about two hours. I choose to write this instead of starting on the mountain of words I have today. Yesterday I saw people posting word counts in the 10,000 – 20,000 range. A few were even higher. I have to keep reminding myself of last week’s lesson. No comparing. And I find myself wanting to think nasty (defensive) things like, “Well what kind of quality could those words be?”

But that’s the freaking point, Mo. It’s not about the quality, it’s about getting them out. (This is what I imagine you, dear reader, saying right now.) And also (you’re still talking), it doesn’t matter how many more someone else does. Just stick with YOUR method.

So I’ll go to my meeting and enjoy it. I’ll come home and do my best to come close to 3700 words. That’s about a chapter. I can pull that off. I think. Tomorrow a friend is coming from Portland. That will eat up several hours of the day, so I can’t rely on that as my time to make up word count. I’ll try to set it up so I can move back towards the 1700 words per day goal. I think I can keep that up during the week. Think. Sorry Yoda, but here, there IS try, and if I’m lucky, do.

Good thing I’m not a Jedi.

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