Riding NaNoWriMo Out

Back Again
My route as generated by Google Maps, with major stops, arrival times, and layovers

I posted about the bus ride to Tallahassee, now here’s the bus ride back to Iowa City—as well as the final day of NaNoWriMo. This bus ride was only 28 hours, starting at 1:00 pm est on Saturday, and ending at 4:00 pm cst on Sunday. I did a lot more writing this time around, so this post is more focused on NaNoWriMo, and there are no pictures. It was mostly the same cities anyway, nothing new to see.

 

I started out at around thirty-three thousand words written—seventeen thousand to go.

1:19 pm est

We’re heading out of Tallahassee now. This bus isn’t too crowded, but there is someone next to me. Hopefully they’ll get off in Montgomery. And hopefully more people won’t get on. These are the hopes.

I’m going to write a bunch of Stuffed now.

 2:24 pm cst

We just stopped in Dothan, and I just wrote a shitload of Stuffed. I wasn’t sure whether or not I would, or if I even wanted to. Completing NaNoWriMo isn’t so much something I need to do to prove that I can, because I already know I can. The question really is, do I want to get this book done faster? So I decided that I don’t want to take months and months to finish books (even the shortest novel I’ve ever written took three months to write the first draft of—longer, including false starts and outlining.) I’m not going to do that when I’m a professional writer, so I’m not going to do it now. If I want to finish book one of Stuffed within two months (I do), finishing NaNoWriMo is a great way to reach that goal.

But really, I wrote so much because it was a lot of fun. The above thinking is only what got me to start writing.Read More »

A 30-Hour Bus Ride, Told in 13 Parts

There
My route as generated by Google Maps, with major stops, arrival times, and layovers

I said I’d probably make a post out of it—here it is. My thirty-hour bus ride from Iowa City to Tallahassee. It’s not much of a NaNoWriMo post, really. My goal was to get to twenty thousand words by the time I reached Tallahassee, but my broader objective was to survive—and this post is almost entirely about survival. To find out whether or not I lived, read on.

5:23 pm (Friday)

At the moment, we’re on I-74 heading south through Illinois, next stop I don’t know where. I know my next stop is Indianapolis, but I think there are stops between here and there.

Before I do anything else, I should recount the first part of my journey.

At two ten today I left my dorm and headed out into the thirty-six-degree afternoon. It was cold, windy, and overcast. The sun sets around four forty-five here, so wherever the sun was behind the clouds, it was already low when I made my way to the bus depot, pulling along my suitcase. The station is just beyond the edge of downtown, where all the downtownish brick buildings give way to construction projects and ragged, crumbling parking lots. So walking to the station feels like leaving civilization, and going out into the wilderness.Read More »

A Mid-Month NaNoWriMo Update

So far, I’ve been having a nice, lazy, NaNoWriMo. That was my exact plan, and why I decided to write a book about my stuffed animals instead of some horribly complicated time travel thing.

Well, it turns out that when you have a lazy NaNoWriMo, you fall behind! About 10,000 words behind. Who would’ve thought? I kind of did. It’s not so much that I’ve been lazy as it is that I’m prioritizing school work, and not writing much of Stuffed. And I expected that would be the case. The wonderful thing about NaNoWriMo being in November (for Americans, anyway) is that there’s a nice big Thanksgiving break near the end of it. There’s also Veteran’s Day, but UI didn’t give us the day off for it.

The point being, I planned for this. I knew that I would have a long Thanksgiving Break to get a lot of writing done, not to mention two long bus rides to and from Tallahassee. “Long” meaning about thirty hours. I’ll probably spend my time reading, writing, sleeping, drinking coffee, listening to podcasts, and doing various combinations of all those things at once. I may make a post about it, because it seems like it’ll be a fantastic adventure. The most time I’ve ever spent on the road was on the car trip up to Iowa City, and when I did that we stopped for a night in the middle. There’ll be stops on the bus ride, but none of them ten-hours long.

So, that’s where I’m at mid-month. I plan to get up to 20,000 words before my bus ride, but who knows. I have a 10-page paper due this week, so I may not write another word of Stuffed until I’m on the Greyhound. Whatever happens, I’m not worried. Comebacks are more fun anyway.

So About Next Month

We’re coming up on a fun month for writers—November, National Novel Writing Month. I’ll be participating, writing fifty thousand words of StuffedStuffed is a book concept I’ve toyed with but never seriously considered writing. It’s about stuffed animals. My stuffed animals, an ensemble of characters that I’ve held in my head ever since I first played with them. That’s why I never seriously considered writing it. I was afraid it would just be too self-serving, I’d spend too much time wallowing in nostalgia, and that the concept would be completely inaccessible to people who weren’t me. The whole idea also seems wildly unsalable, because the premise sounds like it’s meant for a chapter book, but I’m going to write it like any adult fantasy book.

My not taking it seriously is why I’m actually going through with it though. I have so much writing in the needs-to-be-edited pipeline right now (four books plus, actually), I need something that’ll just be easy. Something that won’t take much outlining. Something I won’t stress about editing. Something where I already know all the characters, and where whimsical discovery writing will fit the mood.

While I no longer fear the book will be too self-serving, I still worry about it being unsalable. But that just means I’ll release it in some alternate way. Maybe indie. Maybe totally free. Maybe a combination. I don’t know, but I’m certain writing it will be a blast.

So I’ll probably make a few NaNo posts throughout November. As a means of procrastinating from writing Stuffed, probably.