pen scratches

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Yesterday marked exactly one month before I dive into writing a novel again. This will be my eighth year participating in Nanowrimo. This morning I woke up with an idea in my head for what I am going to write about this year. I usually don’t think about any of it until midnight of October 31st and the remainder of Halloween candy is hidden amongst empty wrappers in a plastic pumpkin head bowl. This year is different. Up until last year, I wrote alongside my daughter and with friends, but this year, I think I will be writing largely on my own. Well technically, I was always writing on my own, alone in the living room with music playing sometimes, the fur nerds constantly bothering me and endless cups of tea. I have always managed to have a virtual team around me, commiserating and sharing while we write the days away. I have not heard from any of my friends whether or not they will be jumping into the fire this year. I suspect my daughter won’t be given that this is her first year at university and November is exam time. It is ok either way of course. Writing is a pretty solitary activity until something is written and can be shared. The connection between writing and reading is precious and I am going to miss that this year.

I have been struggling this past year to get back to writing. I haven’t given it up completely. I doubt very much that I could. There has been a lot of personal upheaval and having surgery in February really set me back because typing or even holding a pen hurt afterwards. Fortunately I am feeling pretty good physically for the most part, and as long as I pace myself, I will be able to keep up with my goals and complete novel number eight. Life might still have other ideas for me, but I have yet to miss this month of writing, even if I haven’t written as regularly as I used to before.

The nice thing about writing using the free fall method, which I have been using for almost a decade now, you aren’t supposed to plan. Instead, you are meant to just jump in and write whatever comes up. Even though I have an idea right now, four weeks ahead of time, there is still good chance something else will show up and I will write about that instead. Who knows. Writing a story has become a little like crocheting a blanket: I usually do not follow a pattern but make it up as I go along. I have a general handle on the stitches needed and if I need more yarn to complete it then a quick trip to the shop to get it is in order. It isn’t until the squares are all done that I start thinking about constructing the actual blanket, which still is fairly random because I have not planned out each square exactly to a colour scheme. I usually throw the squares up into the air so that they are arranged randomly into the shape of the blanket. Inevitably, one of the cats gets a bit wound up and starts to play in the middle of the squares being laid out, or charges through the centre of them to send them flying in all directions.  Yes, that is definitely how I write a novel. It is more fun that way.

One thing I will be doing this month for sure is finishing the blanket that I am making right now. I think I am going to need it to keep me warm, and to keep me company when the madness begins.

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