Aside

November is…

…National Novel Writing Month! Affectionately shortened to NaNoWriMo, or even just NaNo, it is a month of pure writing with no editing. The goal is to write a minimum 50,000 word novel. Considering that the standard average is 250 words/page, that’s a 200 page book; not very long really, but it’s a start. Of course, most of the participants don’t stop at 50,000 words; that’s just a goal, and that works out to 1,667 words every day.

NaNo is a program of the Office of Letters and Light, a non-profit dedicated to helping people write, including programs in schools to get kids to write. If you want more information about their programs, check out their website here: http://www.lettersandlight.org/

I participated last year for the first time and made my goal with a couple of days to spare. The hardest part for me was the not-editing part. Whenever I write, I have to fix typos and grammatical errors as soon as I see them, so stopping myself from doing that was really, really, hard. But then I discovered that in the past, I had used the editing as a stalling tactic, because it definitely interrupts the flow of the story. I went into NaNo thinking I couldn’t do it as I had only ever written short stories (and some very bad adolescent poetry!) So I surprised myself with how I was able to sit down and just write.

I know there are some writers who start with a plan and an outline, then flesh it out with characters, and timelines, and all sorts of details about what happens to whom and when. I’m a percolating pantser when I write; I have an idea percolating in the back of my brain for a while, but when I actually sit down to write, it’s a seat-of-the-pants kind of thing. (There was quite a discussion on the NaNo Forums about different methods of writing – very interesting!) I have tried the planning and the outlines, but it’s basically a waste of time, because as soon as I start writing, the characters take over and go, do, and say, whatever they want, not what I want.

So I will do it again this year. This time I have a plan of sorts; I at least know what I will write about. Last year, I sat staring at a blank screen until about Day 4. So beginning November 1st, I’ll be frantically writing every day when I get home from work, and all day on weekends and Holidays. And hopefully, I’ll have another story ready to edit by the time December 1st rolls around.

More of the desert

Have I mentioned how much I love the desert? Here’s some more reasons why.

This is a cute Prairie Dog. They build mazes of tunnels. This particular guy was photographed at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum; a great resource for all things desert.

There is a hummingbird exhibit at the Desert Museum – always fun to try to catch hummingbirds being still!

I think this little fella was getting ready for winter!

I think we all know the story of the coyote and the roadrunner – meep, meep!!

This desert tortoise looks like he’s smiling for the camera!

Another picture taken at the Desert Museum.

This is an old photograph taken before I had a digital camera, so there is quite a bit of ‘noise’ on it. But it does give you an idea of what our sunsets look like here.

Earworms

I came home early today because I wasn’t feeling well. I took a long nap and feel much better. But I woke up with a Burl Ives song in my head, the one about the old lady who swallowed a fly. Do you remember that song? (You might if you’re a ‘certain age’)

Some earworms are funny, some are sad, but they’re all annoying. I don’t know where they come from or why we get them. I know that they come out of nowhere and can hang around for a long time. I’ve had many of them over the years – certainly too many to remember – but some were quite memorable. Like the Gilligan’s Island theme song, or some random pieces of a song from my youth that I used to know all the words for but now can’t remember more than maybe half of the words. Those are the most annoying because they stay, and eat at me, until I either remember the words or break down and Google the song – if I can remember the title!

What about you? Do you get earworms? What’s the most annoying song you hear as an earworm?