Star light, star bright,
The first star that I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight.

For some reason, this little nursery rhyme jumped into my head as I sat down to write this blog post. Perhaps because I decided to write about wishes. Or maybe because we had just been outside with the dogs.

I am participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for those who don’t know) after having to skip last year because I was diagnosed with cancer in October and spent November in a whirlwind of tests and chemo and its side effects. I only mention this because I am having to type during those small windows of time when I’m not hurting. For the last couple of weeks, my left hand has been hurting, itching, and numbish. It started with a prickling sensation in the webbing between the little and ring fingers, as if there was a cactus spine stuck there. That progressed to itching and pain. I can’t scratch the itching because that causes intense pain. And then there’s the vague numb sensation in those two fingers and half of the middle finger. Then there was the pain in the elbow and next to the shoulder blade on the left side. And if I’m holding something in my left hand, half of the fingers start trembling. So I’ve decided it must be a pinched nerve in my neck from sleeping in weird positions to try to stay as upright as possible to defuse the acid reflux.

And then my right big toe went numb along with part of that foot. That’s the toe that I ripped the nail off a few weeks ago, so that freaked me out, too. I have no idea what’s causing that.

When I called my team, my PA’s first question was am I having headaches, which I am not. So she talked to the onc doc who wants an MRI of the brain and cervical spine. And on top of everything else, now I have no energy and can’t seem to pull myself out of this ‘slough of despond’ I’ve fallen in to. By 2 or 3 in the afternoon, I have to take a nap. I have no energy. I can’t sit and type for any length of time. And forget crocheting. I’m right handed, but my left hand is just as important for crocheting or knitting. I had only recently rediscovered the joys of knitting and crocheting, and I can’t even do that now. I’m taking ibuprofen several times a day hoping that will reduce the inflammation and the pain, which it does, but not enough to be able to sit and compose on my novel. Since I can’t write, knit, or crochet, no wonder I’m feeling depressed!

I’m scheduled for an MRI on Monday afternoon and will meet with my PA on Tuesday morning, and I’m scared of what the MRI might show. I know I can’t change it be worrying, but I’m still afraid that there could be metastasis to the brain or spine. But it could just be a pinched nerve. I’ve had that before, but it’s never been this bad or lasted this long. I can only wait now, and nap, and keep taking ibuprofen, and hope that whatever the problem is with my hand it will be resolved before the end of the month so I can complete my 50,000 word novel.

So what does this have to do with wishes? I wish I didn’t have this problem with my hand and my foot; I wish I didn’t have to worry about the MRI and metastases; I wish I wasn’t depressed. The wish list is almost endless. But as my mom used to say, if wishes were horses then beggars would ride. I can’t make wishes come true, but i can be patient.

Onward and upward.

December Blues

It’s a good thing I did NaNo last year, because this year I knew what to expect. I have heard from other participants that this is not uncommon. I call it the post-NaNo blues, or letdown. Whatever you want to call it, it’s a reaction to a month of living, breathing, writing, a novel. The pace is frenetic, the feeling is one of frantic panic. And then it’s December 1st, and there’s nothing to write. There is time to bask in the knowledge that we spent 30 days writing in every spare moment, and whether or not we met the goal doesn’t matter, we survived NaNoWriMo.

So now what? It’s a curious feeling, and one that is strangely familiar. It’s like those first few days and weeks after graduation when I could read whatever I wanted; I could read a novel, or two, or three; there was no research to be done; no papers to write; no deadlines to meet. Yes, it’s like that.

And then there’s the fact that it’s December, and the hours of daylight are dwindling fast. It’s dark when I leave for work and it’s almost dark when I get home. My energy level sinks, and by around 7pm, I’m ready to go to bed. But I don’t. I stay awake and keep busy, writing, reading, playing with the dogs, watching TV. I know that winter doesn’t last very long. I spend time outside as much as I can because I know sunlight is good for me. I take Vitamin D, extra Vitamin B & C, watch what I eat, and wish I was a bear so I could hibernate through these months. I remember when I lived back East, and it was dark by 4 or so, and the days were cold and the nights colder, and I’m glad I live in Arizona where here in Dec we’re still seeing highs close to 80 and think it’s cold when the lows get in the 40s.

So the December blues only last for a month. January comes and the hours of daylight start increasing again. And before I know it, we’re all complaining about how hot it is, and it’s a dry heat so it’s somehow not quite as bad as the heat and humidity in places like Alabama and Florida. But it’s still hot, and miserable, and we start wishing for fall.

And the cycle continues.

Reflections on NaNoWriMo


Done for another year. Last year was the first year I participated in NaNoWriMo, so it was interesting to do it again and see if the same things happened as last year. Yep, they did.

Writing frantically, every day for 30 days, means there isn’t time for editing. Last year was difficult because first, I’m a short story writer, and second, I tend to edit as I go. I didn’t think I could write a novel of 50,000, but I did it last year, and again this year, so last year wasn’t a fluke.

The other thing I found interesting is that my novels didn’t go where I wanted them to go, and people and events crept in when I wasn’t paying attention. This year, I wanted to write a history of the Divine Sisterhood of Animal Magick, which was something I came up with in a short story. I thought I would start way back in the Dark Ages to show how the sisterhood started and then write vignettes about the sisterhood and its members at different times in history. Silly me!! I should have known better! These were to be people taken in as young girls and tested for their ability to talk to animals, and how they were treated, etc. But I ended up with People who are Magic, and can either time travel or live forever as each vignette had the same characters. And that wasn’t being lazy, as I had all the names for each time period picked out.

There were also storms at sea, and storms on land, and a ship getting blown off course during a hurricane and ending up in the New World. And when I came up with a name for the ‘castle’ in North Wales where it all began I was kinda spooked to find out there really is a ‘castle’ with that name, and it was built in the 16th Century. 

So now I don’t plan to write at all during December. I will catch up on the stack of books waiting to be read, and the blogs that need to be read and commented on, and the new followers and commenters on my blogs that need to be acknowledged, and the list goes on. In january, I will go back to editing last year’s novel and start editing this year’s. And I will probably do some research that I should have done in September and October. But it’s hard to do research if I don’t know where the novel is going to take me.

And yes, I’ll do it again next year.


And …Done!

Phew! Another 50,000+ word novel is written but not yet finished. Now it will sit and I will ignore it until January when I will pull it out, dust it off, and see if there’s anything worth salvaging. I think there is, but that just may be the November euphoria speaking. So now I have two novels to finish and edit, which is probably a good thing; this way I can switch back and forth when my head starts to hurt from one of them.

So now I can catch up with all the blog posts I’ve missed, and visit all those who were gracious enough to visit and/or like and/or follow my blogs.

For those of you still writing – Onward and Upward!! I’m rooting for all of you.

Coming down the home stretch!

Only three days left after today, and I’m running out of steam, but I’m not giving up. I have written several vignettes, each in a different time period, so when I run out of ideas, or plot, or dialogue, in one, I can pick up in another. But even that is getting harder to do. This is the point in November when I realize I have no idea what I have written; when my plot lines start to tangle or fall apart; when my characters either go AWOL, or refuse to do what I think they should do.

As I realize I have a little over 3,300 words to write to reach the goal, I find it harder and harder to write. Suddenly, the dusting needs to be done, there are dust bunnies to be vacuumed, dishes to wash, dogs to play with – well, I think you get the idea. This is when I tell myself I won’t do this again. But then I look at that little Certificate from last year’s NaNo that says I wrote a novel in November; and I look at that t-shirt that says ‘Greetings from the Winner’s Circle’; and I know I will do this again. It isn’t writing the great American Novel that keeps me coming back; it’s the fact that there is a whole community of crazy people out there who put their lives on hold for 30 days in November, to write. And that’s why I’ll do it again next year. After I finish my 50,000 words for this year!!


NaNo Day 15

Halfway through the month and I’m waaay behind on word count. I’m struggling through this one. By the time I get home from work, sitting down to write isn’t always what I want to do. It’s a good thing I will have Thursday and Friday off next week. That’s four days of writing, I hope.

I’m not sure what my characters are up to, but they’re not giving me much help. But I’ll keep plodding along; and introducing new characters; and chiding the current ones to get with the program. 

NaNo Day 12

I’m still behind on word count, but not as behind as I was yesterday. I didn’t have to go to work today so managed to pound out some 3,500 words between construction in the house and all the laundry. So I’m feeling pretty good that I can catch up and even get ahead a little, maybe, hopefully.

My characters aren’t cooperating very well. But that’s okay, because I’m writing a sort of history, so I can always go to a new time period with new characters. Once I get started on a time period, the characters will take over again, and everything will be fine. It’s almost like writing a series of short stories, except they’re all tied together, so any time period builds on the one before it. Only trouble is, I have to keep track of what happened in each time frame. But I have found a great way to tie them together, I think. Only time will tell.

Now for dinner and some TV time! 🙂

NaNo progress

So here it is Day 3 and I’m already behind on word count. But that’s okay because I know I’ll catch up before the end of the month. Several of my writing buddies are way ahead of me, and a few are way behind. But it is only Day 3. I didn’t write at all yesterday because of work, and appointments I had after work, and having to eat dinner. I planned to at least write a little, but after almost falling asleep over my keyboard I decided sleep would be more beneficial than writing junk because I was too tired to think.

I made my word count today and on Day 1. And tomorrow is another day…