Nanowrimo 2010

For the past few years I have tried, and miserably failed, to participate in Nanowrimo. Last year I took a break from it and everything else to focus on other things. However, a friend of mine sent out a FB note asking people about Nanowrimo. So I signed up.

The idea of writing a novel in one month seems ridiculous, even to me. Some people think doing Ironman is ridiculous; in my mind it makes more sense than nanowrimo. However, since September I have been thinking of plots, characters, ideas, and strategies to actually do this.

My first strategy is the word “no.” Right now I’m training for Ironman, working, and getting ready for nanowrimo. I have had to say No to many commitments that have been asked of me. This is no easy feat for me. I learned from my dad that “yes” is a great word and that we need to step up to make things happen. However, I have learned in the past few years that if I say Yes to everything, I will be left with no time or energy to do the things that I really want to do. It has taken some time to learn to be selfish like this, but it’s really coming along.

My second strategy is to learn about all the fun things that happen around Nanowrimo in November. I learned about these chat rooms where people do “sprints,” which means that everyone sits and writes continuously for 5, 10, 20, etc. minutes at a time. Then they take a break for the same length of time to chat, go to the bathroom, or just think about the story. Then they do it again. I actually did a sprint recently and really liked it. It was like an interval in training and I really like intervals. I’m going to intersperse my writing with sprints.

My third strategy is to make clear goals every day. In order to write 50,000 words in one month, I must write around 1,667 words everyday. Last night I watched a cool video about nanowrimo and the strategies and it suggested making a calendar. So I did. In my day-planner, I wrote in the amount of words for each day. By the 30th, I will have 50,010 words… in an ideal world.

My fourth strategy is to create characters now. I am trusting that details and ideas will come as I write, but I want to have a loose plot and characters, places, and names in place before the 1st.

My last strategy is to surround myself by nanowrimos. On the 1st, I’m going to a nanowrimo launch and then there is my friend that somehow convinced me to do this in the first place. We have a small group of people that we’re hoping will get together every 7 to 10 days during November. I’m mostly looking for online support, though, because there are going to be times when it seems impossible. I hope that the online groups will provide the inspiration I need to keep going.

Here is my day-planner with the pretty pink goals:

Nanowrimo Word Count

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Jeremy is a good friend of mine

My friend Jeremy has the curliest hair I have ever seen on a white person. We met in 2001 on a cross-Canada cycling trip of several crazy environmentalists who thought that being sleep-deprived for an entire summer would be a good idea. It was lots of fun, but kind of silly. Anyway, back to Jeremy…. He is also the funniest friend that I have… no offense to all you other funny people in my life. When Jeremy is around, most people can’t help but laugh, except for people who do not appreciate his kind of humour because those people don’t really like Jeremy as much. Our visits are often too short because Saskatoon is not usually where he is traveling to or from, but a stop along the way. Nonetheless, every couple of years (or more) there are adventures had with this super duper awesome friend. It was great to have him in Saskatoon last week for even the short amount of time that he was here. I told him that I would blog about him and he promised to read it. So here I am blogging by force. Now, here are some funny pictures of Jeremy and my adventures:

Jeremy and I created this costume together for the Fast Back bike. ~2004

I have no idea how we got this Santa to agree to let Jeremy do this. It was awesome! December 2001

It was a chilly February day when Jeremy and Aftab came to visit for less than 24 hours, but we did manage to skyrocket 7-11 shares that day. Jan or Feb 2007?

Sometimes One Needs to Retreat

Last week I looked at my calendar and discovered that this upcoming weekend is a super duper long weekend. I decided it was the perfect time to take the retreat that I have been talking about doing since August. So I found a cabin in Prince Albert National Park, booked it, and tucked it away.

I don’t have any particular plans for this particular retreat all by myself, but I know I will be in good company. My non-plans include doing whatever I want to do. I have a laptop borrowed to use as I want, I will have books to read, bubble bath materials to make bubble baths, my walking shoes to go on long walks in the wilderness, some empty pages in case I am inspired to write without the use of electric devices, and my trusty companion (ie. my dog) to go on walks with. I will be spending two days doing whatever I feel like doing. The only stipulations is that there will be no television or music. Nope, just me, my thoughts, and nature.

My adventures are not always typical and this one is no different. An adventure is just a frame of mind.

Adventure: What it means to me

According to Webster’s dictionary, adventure is a noun that comes from “Middle English aventure, chance, risk, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *adventura, from Latin adventus, past participle of advenire to arrive, from ad- + venire to come” and dates back to the 14th century. It defines it as:
1 a: an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks; the encountering of risks;the spirit of adventure
2: an exciting or remarkable experience;an adventure in exotic dining
3: an enterprise involving financial risk

Isn’t it wonderful how a word that seems to simple can mean so many things. I was thinking today about my adventure of buying a house. While the risk to my physical well-being is small, it is a financial risk of sorts. However, the biggest adventure part of buying a house is that it is an exciting and remarkable experience. In Saskatoon, I have paid rent for most of 10 years. That is a decade of paying rent. Now my rent goes towards owning a home. It is quite remarkable in my mind. Sometimes I wonder what the bank was thinking, giving me a mortgage! To me, I’m still the 18-year-old wide-eyed farm girl who needed EXACT directions to get to Saskatoon from my small town.

I remember the day that I moved here. I left home on my 18th birthday, just like my mom had always promised I would. When I was just too much for her to handle she would yell, “As soon as you’re 18, you’re outta MY house!” And I would, of course, yell back that I couldn’t wait. However, we were both teary-eyed as I drove out of the farmyard. I was the first of three to leave the “nest.” I believe I cried for an entire hour of the 2.5 hour drive from “home” to Saskatoon. I knew my life would never be the same and that I would never again live on the farm. I was, indeed, an adult.

For my first two years of university, I lived with my cousins in their basement suite. Now that I think about it, it was definitely the best thing for me. The day before my first class of the “Math Readiness” course that I took, I had to ask them which was I was supposed to turn when I went out the front door. That would be the first day that I had taken public transportation. Yes, I was so young. However, the next morning I walked out the front door, turned right, and walked the 3 blocks to the bus stop. I repeated this almost every day for the next two years. To me, even taking public transportation was an adventure!

So, really, everyday is an adventure. Some experiences are more remarkable than others and some are riskier than others, but they are all adventures. I guess it just depends on how we look at them. I foresee many adventures in home-owning. Things like replacing furnaces, buying dryers, fixing floors, cleaning eaves troughs, and so much more. Hopefully it will be more exciting for others to read about! I guess no matter what, they’ll be adventures for me.

A Purpose

This blog is just one of many of my blogs that I have in internet-land. Writing is an outlet for me and I plan to use this in my many adventures that I go on. In my daily life I have adventures and this seems like a good place to write about them. I often go on these adventures with my dog, Clifford, a 6-month old standard poodle who is quickly becoming a very integral part of my life. I don’t clip his hair and I like the way he bounds around and loves everyone.

Upcoming adventures that I have planned are a bike trip to the Pacific Ocean, as inspired by a recent acquaintance who came through town to remind me not to say “I’ve always wanted to do that,” going to New York City, a place that I’ve always wanted to go and I have to admit is entrenched in my love with Sex and the City, and taking yoga teacher training and/or thai yoga massage training. When and where these things will happen are unknown.

For now, I live and work in beautiful, sunny Saskatoon. I love it here and it will always be here. My roots run deep in this city and province. My family is so important to me and the prairie runs deep in my blood as my grandparents were born and raised here in the prairies. My remaining grandparent, my grandmother, was born in a small town in southern Saskatchewan that is not much more than a speck on a map. I recently got to pass her little town of Ardill, where she lived until she was 10 years old and The Depression hit them hard. She is now 88 years old, her bones are made of steel, her mind is strong, and her love is great. She is an inspiration to me because through all of the hardships she has seen, she has remained open-minded and loving, with just a hint of bitterness. With all of this in mind, I will always come home.