NaNoWriMo Day 17

Day 17

This was a tough week, no doubt. I fell behind on my word counts and boy does that add up fast! So this is just a quick check-in to let you know I’m still writing. Today I reached slightly more than the halfway point.

This week I jumped around a bit in the writing timeline. I got stuck at one point and jumped ahead to keep the words going.

Today I did more out of order writing but  the story is falling into place nicely now. That is in big part to help I got from the Young Writers Group. I asked them to help me brainstorm what could happen after giving them a very brief synopsis of the story and they came through! There were some laughs because some of the ideas were really out there but all of a sudden one of the ideas was good and everyone kept adding on to it. I was typing like crazy to keep up. So a huge thanks to that group!

Another thing that’s helping me is a book that I bought. It’s the No Plot? No Problem by Chris Baty who started this whole crazy thing. The book is funny and but also very helpful.

As of today, day 17, my word count is 25,709!

If you are participating, how are you doing?

And again, if you have any tips to share, I’ll take them.

Keep on writing!

NaNoWriMo Day 9

I’m writing this nine days into the NaNoWriMo challenge and so far so good.

I started with intentions of keeping notes about how I was doing day by day but I haven’t had time. I did do that for the first couple of days and here is what I wrote then:

November 1: I was off work so I devoted a lot of time to getting my project started. But I haven’t written anything this length seriously for a long time. I won’t lie; the first hour I wrote pretty quickly but it was just crap. I took a break and gave it some thought. I needed to get in my main character’s mind and get out of my own way. Stop overthinking it and just write a scene.

And that’s what I did for the second hour. And it just flowed and it worked and I almost doubled the required daily word count that I need to finish this. I ended on a very upbeat note.

I jotted a few notes about the next scene/chapter for the next day.

November 2: I worked all day so I couldn’t do any writing until after dinner. But in a way that was good since I had time to think about the next scene and where I wanted it to go. I wrote for a little more than an hour and got down 1486 words.

This scene will now tie in with some writing I had done a long time ago. This is the first time I will see if I can tie this new idea with the old one and make it all work.

After that first day most have been pretty much the same once I got going.

Is it easy? No. I’ve figured out that I do well for about an hour and then I need to stop and regroup my thoughts. It’s a learning process.

Is it any good? Ha! I’ll see when I’m done if any of it is good but I’m not thinking about that right now. I’m just trying to get the whole story down.

Are there sacrifices being made to do this? Absolutely. But most of those sacrifices are not that important. I really don’t miss watching TV in the evenings. I will admit that I’m missing my video game play time more than I should!

I did give up going to friends’ house today to catch up on my word count since I had fallen a little behind the last couple of days. It’s difficult to get much writing done after a full day at work. It was hard to not go and laugh with good friends. When I explained why, they were supportive. They are the best.

More than anything I’m mostly surprised at my determination to do this at all, let alone actually do it. For some reason, right now, this means a lot to me. 

Also, this week I had the second meeting of the Young Writers Group at work. There are four young ladies who are participating and we had a gentleman who came as well. I don’t think he realized it was for young people but he was more than welcome and I think he had a good time. Everyone is welcome to support each others’ writing. All together there were six of us sitting around the table comparing how we write, what we write and giving each other tips.

One of the reasons I enjoy the company of teens is because they have so much energy. And this group is no exception. Three of them were typing away at their stories while the rest of us talked but also adding their comments to the conversation. Amazing to be able to multitask like that!

After about a half hour, we decided to use the rest of the time to write. What is it that is so energizing about sitting in a room full of people being creative? It’s wonderful.

And my word count so far? 15,908

Not too shabby.

How are you doing?

And if you have done this before, do you have any advice?

Good luck to all! Keep writing!

Camping and Going With the Flow

We went camping this past weekend for the last time this season. Many of the campgrounds around here close after October. So I had planned on posting about the cool fresh air, the smell of fallen leaves and campfire smoke, the changing leaves and savoring every minute of this last weekend. And we had all of that.

Our site

This weekend was also one of this campground’s Halloween weekends and luckily we saw on their website that there would be trick-or-treating. A couple of times in the past we have arrived only to find out once we were there and we had no candy to hand out. We would hide inside the camper feeling guilty. This year, we saw it ahead of time so we brought a couple of those big bags of mixed candy bars feeling happy that we could participate. We hate to let kids down.

Usually our weekend camping trips consist of quiet and relaxing. That was not to be this weekend. The entire campground was buzzing with energy and excitement. The kids were running around in their costumes most of the day Saturday. People were decorating their sites. Seriously decorating their sites for Halloween. Unloading boxes and boxes of decorations and spending hours making them look festive. We did a lot of walking around admiring their handiwork.

Saturday the trick-or-treating was to begin at 2:30 in the afternoon which is brilliant! It’s daylight and everyone can still enjoy their evening. As the time approached, and as the hay rides went by over and over again, we saw the final preparations around us. And then we became concerned. People were setting up mini candy shops! And most had non-candy treats as well. Our site neighbors went all out. They had those items as well as treats for the many dogs in the campground. (In case you didn’t know, many dog lovers go camping since most campgrounds are dog friendly).

Our little table

Neighbors awesome decorations

We had our cute mini camp table with a Halloween themed table cloth on top which was full of wrinkles since who knew that last time we had used it. We had our one light-up jack-o-lantern, and two bags of candy and nothing to put the candy in because we forgot to bring a bowl. It was pretty funny.

We could have retreated. We could have given up. But no! We went with the flow and offered what we could. And it turned out fine.

We had a lot of fun watching all the kids and their wonderful costumes. We were incredibly impressed by how polite these kids were! Most of them only took one piece of candy. Almost all of them said thank you and so did their parents. There was so much excitement and laughter. And they just kept coming.

Backing up a bit, I have to say that we never lived in a neighborhood when our kids were little so we never got many people at our door. Now we live in a small neighborhood and have about a dozen kids show up. So getting to see so many trick-or-treaters was exciting for us.

This weekend we estimated that we had about a hundred kids! Wow! After one hour it was like a faucet was turned off and they were all gone.

Once again, we are so happy to be campers. If you ever want a taste of old-fashioned community you need to go to a nice family friendly campground.

Kids can ride their bikes or wander around without fear. And go trick-or-treating with or without their parents. Everyone watches out for everyone else. There are hay rides, ceramics, bingo and so many other activities for young and old. And everyone is welcome.

So despite this weekend not being the really quiet and relaxing one we usually have, this was a fun time. We’ve met some new and friendly people. And we still got to have our campfires and relax a bit too.

Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

First Summer Here

Now that Fall has arrived I realize how much I have been observing and soaking in my surroundings.

I’m learning new roads and new places to shop; establishing new routines and favorite routes.

Driving along these back roads in the midst of this gorgeous and productive farmland I realize how out of touch most of us are about where our food comes from. I know! We hear that all the time but when you watch the corn grow on a daily basis and you see the labor put into caring for the earth and the food growing on it, I really feel grateful about how easy we have access to good food. I appreciate the incredible amount of labor that goes into growing it.

One of my observations was how quickly the corn grew making the roads feel more like tunnels. Everyplace felt closed in. I missed some of the beautiful views. In the last few weeks the roads have been slowly opening up again. Row by row the Amish harvest the corn. And row by row the drive feels more open. Some of the fields are left with nothing but a few inches of stalks sticking up from the ground. When you look at a whole field, it reminds me of whiskers on a man’s face.

I hope in time to see a pattern to the planting. Corn, wheat, soybeans, squash, onions, tobacco. None of the fields stay empty for long. Once one crop is harvested another is soon planted. Sometimes cover crops to keep the soil rich and productive.

Oh, and I have to mention the ‘spreading’. This is probably the biggest drawback to living in this area. Manure and a manure sludge are spread and sprayed on the fields continuously until they are all planted. Let’s just say that the smell has a physical substance to it! Ugh! I overheard one woman complaining about the smell in a parking lot one day only to hear another woman proclaim that it was the smell of money. That is an interesting perspective!

The various techniques are fascinating too. In the spring I saw families planting field after field all day. There was one piece of farm equipment that was pulled by one horse or mule. One person, usually a man, steering the horse. Down in front two people, usually women or girls sat on narrow wooden seats with boxes of plugs or tiny plants and leaned down planting them one after the other as the whole thing moved down the row. As I drove to work and back I saw the fields fill up with these plants. I also had to wonder how it felt to do that work all day for days at a time.

In the tobacco fields I saw bundles of sticks ready to hold up mini tepees of tobacco leaves in the fields. I assume it’s one way to let the leaves dry. Sometimes they take all the leaves and hang them in ventilated buildings, hanging them upside down to dry.

Once all the fields were growing the smell of the earth has been amazing. I know we all get that real earthy, loamy smell of good soil every now and then but that aroma is ever-present. With the high humidity and heat this year, smells get amplified and that is a good one.

When we get storms, it pours hard here. I’ve learned which roads to avoid in case of flash flooding and have decided my next car may need to sit higher. Then the sun comes out again with amazing clouds off in the distance.

Now there are wagons and stands full of pumpkins, squashes and gourds everywhere. I didn’t know there were so many varieties of these crops! They come in every shape, size and color. I’ve learned that if nobody is there to take your money when buying some, you leave the money in a box or plastic containers. The local economy relies on the honor system and it works beautifully here.

I feel like I have spent this summer filling up on the way life is here. There are families here who have lived here for decades if not a century. I feel like I am settling in and growing into a feeling of being home.

I know I have rambled a bit in this post and I apologize for that. As you have read, there was a lot to share and this is what happens when I don’t post more often. Thanks for reading!