Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

You may remember that I participated in National Novel Writing Month back in November. And on November 29, I hit the 50,000 word mark. NaNoWriMo was one of the most rewarding things I've ever taken part in (I think labor and delivery rates a little higher). It was also intense and exhausting (kinda like L&D too).

After I hit that 50K mark, I shut down my laptop, put it in my car and walked through the shopping center where the Barnes and Noble was. They'd decorated for Christmas and the air was clean and crisp. I looked down and my feet were on the ground but it sure felt like I was floating.

Then came December 1st and I woke up sick with a cold. It took me a good ten days to recuperate from that. And then of course I had to do some serious Christmas shopping, wrapping and mailing. The house needed to be decorated and I had a couple parties to attend. And somewhere along the way, the WIP fell by the wayside.

"I'll get back to it in January," I said. But first I had to un-deck the halls. Then I had my yearly physical. My hair needed a cut and I made a visit to the orthopedic surgeon who operated on my foot last year. And because the DH and I were taking a vacation the last week of the month, I had to get ready for that. And there went January.

"February 1st," I said. "I'm going back into NaNo mode on February 1st. Well, on the 1st we were still flying back from Curacao because the airline changed their schedule. And on February 2nd I woke up with another cold. With my head and chest full of congestion, I could barely think, much less create.

But on Monday of this week, I pulled out the manuscript, opened the files on my computer and made all the corrections my sister had noted when she read the chapters back in November. That got me back into the story and I'm happy to say I'm back in the NaNo saddle again. It's not always smooth riding. Sometimes the characters buck like the horse in the photo above. I hang on for dear life and see where they take me. Sometimes I end up on my arse in the dust, but other times I hear the eight-second buzzer and know I've survived the ride.

This writing rodeo is not a moment too soon because eHarlequin is having an editor pitch session for the line I'd planned to submit this book to. I have to have a finished manuscript by March 4th. That's the deadline for sending in my one-page single-spaced synopsis to enter the contest. On March 9th they'll announce five finalists, and those five will chat with the editor in the eHarlequin chat room on March 12. Keep your fingers crossed for me, pardners.

Motivation -- that's what drove me to write 50,000 words during November and that's what's driving me to finish the damn book. Lord only knows how many other folks I'll be competing against, but I know one thing for sure: if I don't enter, I stand absolutely no chance of finaling.

I'll keep you posted on my progress, and y'all keep nagging me to write. You, our readers, will be my accountability partners. I certainly don't want to disappoint you, and I know you'll be wonderful with your nagging encouragement.

What motivates you to do whatever it is you do? In case I get tired of being thrown on my fanny, I could use some good ideas.


Problem Child said...

Good for you on getting back to the book! And fingers crossed for that contest.

I think you may have found an undiscussed down-side to NaNo: burnout.

Angel said...

I definitely suffered from burnout after NaNo, which made me wish I hadn't stopped when it was over. Just cut back instead. But I feel that way about finishing any book, actually. I have to get out of the groove and rejuvenate for a few weeks.

My problem getting back in the saddle is that everytime I get started, somebody gets sick or my plate fills up again. I wish I only had a doctor's appointment a day. Instead I have doctor's appointments, Valentine's parties, extra homework, extra clients (good and bad thing there), AND writing goals I can't seem to meet. Hmmm...

I'm finding accountability is a really good thing. A friend and I set goals and email back and forth daily to help keep us straight. While I'm having trouble meeting my goal, at least it keeps writing within mind on those days like today when everything else's tries to push it off my plate.


Smarty Pants said...

I think I'm motivated by the same stuff as anyone - money, fear, drive for success. Sometimes burnout will negate all of those, though.

PM's Mother said...

After 30 years of working at a newspaper I still say the best motivator is a deadline. You hafta do what you hafta do! The next best motivator is that carrot named money; and the next motivator is the sense of accomplishment. Listen to your Mama!

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Yep, a deadline is one heckuva motivator. :) Money is also a motivator for me -- as in I have to finish this if I hope to get any money for it.

Good luck with the eHarlequin pitch! I am certainly a fan of Harlequin's contests. :)

Sherry Werth said...

Good luck with the contest PM!!

Motivation for me...super glue me to the chair! Oh, and a maid and cook would certainly help. : )

Misty Wright said...

YAY, PM! I'm soo happy to hear this. :)

I could use a week in a cabin right about now to write. LOL. Not going to happen though. Hmmm...wonder may have to figure out a way to make myself think I'm on vacation. HAHA

Anonymous said...

As noted, money, keeping my job and a roof over my head. I am very fortunate that I work with a great group of people and truly enjoy what I do. And on that note, I received my Performance Review today and got 4's & 5's out of a 5 - so yeah, I'm happy with that.

I wish you the best and will continue to encourage and rah rah for you.


ps. Marilyn, I received my book yesterday, thank you and thank you ladies.

Instigator said...

Yeah, money is a big motivator - closely related to the deadline.

Congrats on getting back down to work, PM! You've put too much time and effort into it to quit now!


Angel said...

Okay, now I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but money is only a motivator if you are getting paid to do what you love. Some of us are not. :)=

Other than love for what we do (which can often get clouded by the rejections and waiting), I think accountability, the encouragement of others, and as you have found, contest deadlines. I often use those in lieu of editor deadlines to jumpstart me into working on a project. That's always the hardest, I think, starting or returning to something. Once that happens, the rest seems much easier.

Robertsonreads--Woohoo on the performance reviews! Especially on a job you really enjoy. That's a total blessing.


Problem Child said...

Ah, but you want to get paid one day, right Angel?

Money might not be a pressing factor if you're not under a contract at the moment, but you have to finish that book before you can sell that book. The possibility of money is out there...

I'm also driven by shame. As in, I'd be really shamed to not turn this thing in. Similar to accountability, but with larger therapy bills...