Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo Report – Day One by Cathy Dilts

Part I

I’m struggling to be grateful for my full-time job. It’s Day One of National Novel Writing Month, and I’m stuck in my dreary cubicle when I could be creating the Great American Novel. Sigh. Gotta pay the bills.

It’s finally quitting time. I race across town. Well, given Colorado Springs traffic, it’s more like I crawl across town, taking twice as long as Map Quest claims it should take.

I find the NaNo-ers easily. A dozen people crouched over laptops, huddled together sociably enough, but no one is talking. They have taken over the community room at Panera Bread near Powers and Carefree. The group coordinator, or Municipal Liaison, is in attendance, as promised. Realdealneal welcomes me, and remembers my post as a representative of Pikes Peak Writers. (We use pseudonyms in NaNo land. I am granny_queequeg.)

I’ll try to slam down some dinner, and some words, before racing over to the PPW NaNoTryMo.

People are chatty. I overhear two women discussing when a significant event takes place in her main character’s life. Another writer tells me her novel is about ghosts from the Civil War who are wreaking havoc in the present day.

Before I pack up to head to NaNoTryMo, Realdealneal announces a timed writing. He sets a timer for 5 minutes. I hear the clacking of keyboards increase in speed and intensity. People are writing as many words as they can during this brief time.

Despite the petty frustrations of the day, I manage to get an entire scene written – or at least sketched out. I only get to spend about thirty minutes actually writing at Panera, and then I head out for the PPW NaNoTryMo.

Part II

I dash across town again, heading south and west to the Celebration Center in the Citadel Mall. I am greeted by familiar faces as I enter the “Quiet Zone” of NaNoTryMo. There are about a dozen people, the same as at Panera, but we have serious elbow room here. Tables with plenty of room to spread out.

It takes me a while to get settled. Unpacking the laptop. A trip to the ladies’ room. Ruh taking up serious space, enjoying a drink of water – thankfully from a glass bowl, and not the ceramic flushing kind.

I’m glad I remembered my iPod. There is a store next to the “Quiet Zone” that is apparently in blissful ignorance of the silence rule. Darn kids and their loud music. I shove ear buds in and blast some gypsy music to drown them out.

There is no idle chit chat at the NaNoTryMo. Laptop keyboards click quietly, and pencils scratch across notepads, in almost complete silence. Lots of headphones and earbuds. Do not disturb. Writers at work.

Now, back to my novel…

8:30 – time to close shop. I do a word count before I pack up. Despite my start late in the day, and the disruption of visiting two write-ins on different ends of the city, I am amazed at what I accomplished. Hey, there might be something to these write-ins!

About the Writer: Cathy Dilts is an assistant editor for the PPW blog. She writes cozy murder mystery and inspirational fiction, and has recently begun writing short stories because they’re easier to fit in to her busy schedule. Cathy’s publication experience is similar to fishing – getting lots of nibbles on the line, but no bites yet.

In her spare time, she enjoys raised bed gardening, which her husband claims look the perfect size for burying bodies, while reminding her that you can’t get rid of the bones.

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