Friday, November 12, 2010


This month I decided I'd 'secretly' take part in NaNoWriMo as a way of motivating myself to get the first draft of novel 2 finished. Boy am I glad I didn't make a song and dance about it on the blog, as I've done naff all. Well, a few thousand words, but not the 20,000 or so that would be required by now.

It's weird, because external deadlines I'm brilliant with - I'll stay up all night writing if I have to and get the work finished on time, but when I set my own it hardly ever works. This is when RT (Resistant Teenager) takes over.

The second I woke up on November 1st she said, in sulky tones, "Sorry but I can't, like, do much writing today, like, 'cos I've got, like, other stuff to do and that. Innit."

One of them involved forcing me to bake a cake in the microwave (no, the kitchen still isn't finished). It wasn't a success. Ever tried eating a rubber chicken? My maths isn't good but I know I could have written a lot of words in that time - especially as I forgot to put an egg in the first batch and had to start again.

The next day she insisted I spend an inordinate amount of time turning up a pair of trousers for work, only to discover that one leg was shorter than the other when I'd finished. (Trouser leg that is.) Naturally she made me unpick the hem and start again. I wouldn't care, but they only cost a fiver from Tesco's in the first place - I could have just chucked them away. More writing time down the drain.

Over the past fortnight or so she's had me scouring charity shops for a particular kind of clock, teaching myself how to light the fire properly in our front room, filling in a couple of holes in the wall in the porch, staring at the leaves in the garden with a view to raking them up, and experimenting with my hair-style. When I could have been writing!

Right now she's forcing me to write this when I had every intention of opening up the work-in-progress and adding to the meagre word count, and in a minute I know she's going to insist I put the kettle on again and scour the internet for hot men I can picture as the hero in my novel polish the door knobs.

Ye Gods. I'll be glad when November's over and I can get back to writing normally.


Debs said...

So funny. I know what you mean. I haven't written anything for NaNo today and about to go and watch the copy of Cold Comfort Farm that arrived from Love Film today.

I'll get on with NaNo after that. Probably.

Madeleine said...

LOL! I can sooo identify with you. I didn't sign up for nano, but my writing is falling behind because i hate grey, dismal wet windy weather it really saps my creative energy. I think I'm a dormouse that needs to hibernate about now.
Check out my guest author interview if you want more procrastination time :O)

Christine said...

This is so funny, Karen!

I'm using the month to gee up my writing, but I didn't set myself a word target (forgive me a smug moment). So far, it's working, although I am going to make the Christmas cake tomorrow, not in the microwave I hasten to add.

Please tell me you didn't polish the doorknobs!

Amanda said...

Polishing door knobs, Karen??? ... stop that lark right now and get on with it - innit!
;-) X

Cally said...

Tell me about it! Earlier today I found myself cleaning hard-baked grease off oven trays rather than face my rewrite and those trays have been dirty for quite some time!

liz fenwick said...

Love it! Hope you can whip her into shape though!


ps the word thingy is plototin :-)

Karen said...

debs - Ooh maybe that's something else I can add to my list of things to to that aren't writing!

madeleine - I must admit this weather does affect me - I feel a lot more motivated when the sun is shining :o)

christine - At least I'm writing something most days - I should stop beating myself up about not meeting the NaNo word count! Hope the cake's better success than mine was :o)

amanda - Okay, I drew the line at polishing door knobs - a girl has to know her limits!!

cally - Ah yes! Our oven could do with a good clean too before we sell it ... no, mustn't go there.

liz fenwick - I shall use that word veri as inspiration and Get On With It!

Adina West said...

Oh you've got it bad. That sulky teenager of yours sounds like a real handful.

Maybe you could officially (or unofficially) say that you aren't participating in NaNo at all anymore, and it doesn't really matter how many words you write...and hey presto, you will want to do nothing but add to your word count!

Jan Jones said...

Ha! I just resent being told what to do.

(But it is strangely fascinating looking at the leaves on the lawn and thinking about raking them up, isn't it?)

Lane said...

The call of the door knobs is strong isn't it. And leaf gazing...

Hope you've told that pesky teenager what for and got some NaYes going.

Tom Foolery said...

LOL! Oh I so do love the Resistant Teenager character we all have within us, so much better than the grumpy PMT middle-aged woman. Hmmm, maybe thinking about it they're one in the same. Challenging to a tee! ;-) TFx

David said...

Ha ha ha! That really made me laugh Karen.

I think there can be a sulky teen inside all of us from time to time when it comes to writing. No one likes to be told what to do, even if we're the ones doing the telling...

Anna said...

NANO is a funny beast. I tend to use it to really knock myself to the ground. Fortunately it was just the hubby close this year, and right now he's on a business trip, not anywhere near!

I've never baked a cake in the microwave. From your description, I'll leave that task for other days... :)))

Jenny Beattie said...

Very funny. I'm going to allow my RT some room to behave badly. Oh yes, I am.

Glynis said...

LOL, I am having the opposite reaction to NaNo. My sulky teenager has found discipline and has shut up for a change. Goodness knows where she came from!

I did laugh at you polishing door knobs...procrastination at its best!

Elle said...

I know exactly what you mean! I signed up to NaNo in order to get a rewrite done and all was going swimmingly unti, about day 11. Am now falling behind at 10.5k!

Lisa Potts said...

I have one of those sulky teens (figuratively and literally), and I know how annoying they both can be.

womagwriter said...

Very funny! My inner sulky teen keeps making me reach for more and more chocolate when I'm trying to write. I tell her it'll give her spots but she just doesn't care.

Susie Vereker said...

Yes, cleaning the oven or writing -difficult choice. I think I'll just go for a walk. But then if I procrastinate all day, then writing interupts Strictly with Claudia. Oh dear.

Colette McCormick said...

Can't see myself ever signing up for NaNo cos I know that I'd never find the time to do it and then I'd be on a downer with myself.

Talli Roland said...

I'm not doing NaNo this year, but I think I'd have issues with it for the same 'resistant teenager' reason. I don't like feeling like I HAVE to do something. Lame, I know!

Good luck - it's almost finished!

KarenG said...

"I'll be glad when November's over and I can get back to writing normally."

LOL. I'll be glad when it's over and I can get back to not feeling guilty about not writing.

Lorna F said...

Greetings, Resistant Teenager, from the Queen of Displacement. I'm sure psychologists could have a field day examining the effect NaNo has on us. Some writers are revved up, eye on the prize, smirking about 5,000 words done by breakfast. Us lesser mortals just want to be contrary. I'm interested in what you say about being able to meet an external deadline - me too. It's that inner discipline that's sadly lacking. As you know, I solved my NaNo problem by setting my own wordcount target at 35,000 which I will get to reasonably comfortably - and thus avoid beating myself up all through December and beyond for not reaching 50,000. Now, those knobs are shiny enough, Karen! But you could, I suppose, dust all the skirting boards ... :) xxx

Karen said...

adina - Reverse psychology - I love it!

jan jones - Those pesky leaves are STILL lying on the lawn being gazed at.

lane - I gave her a telling off and am managing to crank out some words every day :o)

tommo - RT has been sent packing now - I've had enough of her :o)

david - I wouldn't care, but I have enough of them at home as it is!

anna - I don't recommend it! Good luck with the rest of NaNo :o)

jenny - Best to let them get it out of their system!

glynis - My door knobs have never been so shiny! Have finally found some discipline thank goodness.

elle - I'm still behind, but doing better than I was!

lisa - I've got real ones too - they're more supportive than the figurative one!

womagwriter - Ah yes, my chocolate intake has gone up dramatically!

susie - NOTHING should interrupt Strictly - it's one of my many rules!

colette - I think I'll remember that for next year actually :o)

karenG - Exactly - guilt is so boring!

talli - I don't either - I don't know why I ever decided to do it to be honest!

lorna f - I'm so glad it's going well for you. I've knuckled down now and am leaving those skirting boards alone!

brokenbiro said...

Bless! It's nature's way of telling us to stay in bed! I was going to do NaNo in secret too - and didn't write a single word

February New Year's Resolution (better late than never)

Well, Christmas flew by in a flash - and lovely it was too - and January got off to a busy start as I had a deadline for the second book ...