My Own NaNoWriMo

Posted by on November 13, 2015 in recent, travels, writing | Comments Off on My Own NaNoWriMo

I’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo. (Insert long list of reasons why, starting with my early indignant exclamations that drafting 50K words is not writing a novel, and ending with my later understanding that most people who do NaNo seriously understand that fact, but I still have always kept my own writing schedule…)

But this year, I sorta, kinda did my own NaNo. I went on a writing retreat last week and drafted 66,000 words of a new novel, in seven days.


I spent the first five days at a cabin in Gifford Pinchot State Park with Maria V. Snyder. We work on sort of opposite schedules–I get up around 6:30 and get out of bed by 7, eating a quick breakfast and then writing for about 5 hours before I break for lunch, then dig back in to the writing.  Maria gets up around noon or 1, eats a waking-up breakfast, then works for about four hours before we both break for an hour of walking around the park (avoiding the areas open for hunters–it’s small game season, and we had no blaze orange clothing), followed by dinner. Then I put in another three or four hours (five on a couple of nights, when I was really on a roll.) Maria stays up until 2 or 3 in the morning.

Lather, rinse, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.

The last two and a half days of the retreat were spent at a fellow writer’s house; there were five of us who got together for the weekend.  I loved the conversations, but I was a bit of a nut, pushing to finish my draft, because my home schedule is going to be crazy for the next month or so…

Yeah, that’s the most productive I’ve ever been on a writing marathon. It felt good while I was doing it–I felt like I was working at my maximum pace, creating good work, powering through the moments when I felt bored or despairing or fatigued. Skimming back over what I wrote, it’s as good as any of my first drafts ever is. Better than some, because I didn’t have a chance to forget things I meant to include.

The first two evening walks, the lake was incredibly still.  The weather was warm–high 70s in the afternoon. In fact there, were paddleboaters on the water in the evening:


(Okay, you can’t really see this guy, but he’d in the middle of the picture…)  During the day, the couple at the neighboring cabin went kayaking, carrying their kayaks down to the water in two trips, then back from the water in two trips, looking curiously at the strange woman who seemed tied to her computer out there in all that gorgeous nature.  The fall colors were still pretty strong:


But the leaves on the trees closest to the cabin had fallen:


(That last picture is my view, as I stretched my back after sitting at the picnic table for several hours.)

So, Just One of Those Things is drafted.  And it’s a good, strong draft.  I have lots of notes to myself, things that I want to tweak, resonances I want to make ring more true, motivations I want to make razor sharp.

But I’ll get this Harmony Springs book off to my beta readers in a couple of weeks.  And then you’ll be able to read it on February 9.

I guess I sort of like this NaNo thing 🙂