Thursday, October 29, 2009

On going from one NaBlo to aNaNother

(Did you see what I did with the title there? Clever? Huh? Clever! See, you can do fun stuff with “on-titles” too!)

When I signed up for NaBloWriMo a month ago, it was because I was the subject of peer pressure, and because I thought that this might be a good way for me to have an incentive to keep the blog up and running for at least another month. That it was. I can proudly announce that I have not missed a day in October (unless you count that one time when I posted about 12 minutes past midnight, but you shouldn’t, because that was Blogger’s inability to schedularly post as I instructed. I shouldn’t be held responsible for technical inabilities, at least not when they’re not my own). It was hard – especially considering I spent a whole week more or less internetless (and away from my laptop) – but I did it.

However, one of the reasons it was possible to keep the blog count up is the fact that a blog post can be just a paragraph and a picture. Some of them have been that short, some have been much longer. If I am to give a rough estimate, I’d say my average October post has been about 1000-1200 words long.

So what in the world of all things good and plentiful was I thinking when I let myself be talked into signing up for another month of craziness, only this time one that will require a daily word-count of about 1700?!? In addition, the upcoming one will be a month where I have even smaller chances than usual to actually manage this…

November will start, as it always does, with my birthday. Normally, I celebrate – not a lot, but there are parties and presents and cakes involved. This time around, I have spent three months on the other side of the planet from most of my friends and my family. Thus, my birthday will be a good opportunity to catch up. I can expect attention this year. I estimate a couple of weeks will be spent opening presents (alright, this is an overestimate, but at least the first weekend, when I’m staying with my parents and the entire family is coming over, will be occupied). Then there is the fact that I will be terribly jetlagged for about two weeks at the beginning of the month (if previous experience is anything to judge by. I tend to milk jetlags). It will not be much better when I recover, though.

Once I’m done complaining about falling asleep at two o’clock in the afternoon, it is time to try to get back into a daily routine. Meaning I’ll be busy with catching upping and long-craved coffee breaks with friends from the second I return to my home turf – the University of Oslo. Unfortunately, there is also this tiny thing called my master’s thesis (for which I have spent considerable time gathering – but, and I cannot stress this enough, NOT YET ANALYZED – sources while I’ve been here) begging for my attention. I think my thesis misses me (it told me so the other day). I have been neglecting it while photographing squirrels and testing urban coffee places in D.C. My excuse this entire time was that I only had three months in the U.S., and that I did not want to spend them doing the same thing I could have done in Oslo. Therefore, I argued, it was okay that my thesis and I drifted apart. We were on a break (incidentally, I saw a rerun of that episode of “Friends” the other day. Uhm, yeah. I wasn’t going to say anything else about “Friends” or that particular episode. It’s a digression, okay? It derailed! Don’t look at me like I’m the freak show – this is how my brain works. You should know by now… Oh! You’re still reading? Sorry, I just got into this really awkward conversation with my thesis…).

However, I’m not sure I can justify that I have committed to another month of neglecting my thesis just because I want to do something “different”. It might dump me entirely.

As if this was not enough, I also have a job. After all, D.C. is only about the second most expensive city in the world to waste one’s money – Oslo is worse (don’t shoot me if I got the numbers wrong. I know that there are listings for this, and I’m not entirely sure if Oslo comes up as the world’s most expensive city or if Washington, D.C. is number two. All I know is that despite the fact that D.C. is pricey for the U.S., I have been able to survive on less here than what I do at home. Aside from the cost of flights and visa and such, I actually could have saved a ton on money on living here. I didn’t, naturally). Since expensive only is the first word (followed by “like Snoop Dogg’s dog’s golden tooth”) in a description of what the living cost of Oslo is, my student loan alone (now that’s a funny thing to say. Loan alone. Loan alone? Loan alone!) only covers the basics. To pay for anything above housing, electricity, and ketchup, I rely on my monthly check from the bookshop (or what’s left of it once I’ve paid for the books that keep piling up in my room). This fall, I have even asked my boss to give me extra hours since I hope I’ll be able to save enough money to avoid working at all next semester (when I definitely will be spending some quality time with my thesis, if we’re still on speaking terms).

Basically, I have many excellent reasons why I should not, not, not at all participate in NaNoWriMo. (At this point I suspect it would be appropriate to explain what the hing NaNoCanYouPleaseStopSpellingItAllWeird actually is. Well, I don’t intend to. I assume that most of the people reading this will know anyway, and if you don’t, and are super-interested, I suggest clicking on this link, and it will take you to enlightenment). And yet. Participate I shall. After all, I do have six hours at Newark International Airport before I cross the Atlantic. BAM – outline. Then on the plane, I shall think of clever character names, and hopefully get some sleep. Once we hit ground (hopefully wheels first), BAM – I will have an entire novel in my head, and “all” I need to do is to write it down, in between everything else I have to do. After all, I “only” need 1700 words per day. I have just spent about one hour and twenty minutes writing 1 103 words. I think I am doomed…

In the end, I signed up because just about every writer friend I have seems to have done so this year. Even the unlikely ones. Half of the blogs I’ve read this past week have been about preparing for NaNo. All around me there was this buzzing and excitement over something I was not a part of. And then there was the peer pressure. As mentioned, this got me signed up for NaBlo as well. Back then, it consisted of “hey, here’s a fun link – want to join?”. This time they ganged up on me and offered treats (of the unmentionable kind – my friends are wacked, and not in the mafia way, fortunately). I don’t actually like succumbing to peer pressure. In fact, if anything this will often make me resist more. But. This is the kind of pressure I need, because I do need to get that (not this one, actually, but that’s irrelevant) novel written.

So. It might seem like a hopeless quest. I may not be able to even come close to meeting the required word count. But I will try. I will try to be Superwoman, and do it all at once. When it turns out that I am only Cruella Kent (or worse, Lex Collett) that’s okay too. Because it was a lost case in the first place, I have nothing to lose.

(Word count: 1364. Only four drabbles on top of this, and I’m where I need to be. Maybe it’s possible after all?)


Watery Tart said...

*pretends not to be peer pressurer*

I am SO tickled you are joining!!! And I adored all your digressions.


J. M. Hunter said...

This is great! I am looking forward to seeing what your novel is about because I KNOW it's got to be something interesting! Whatever you do, please find a way to incorporate a plastic owl, a squirrel, multiple giraffes, and a pedestrian who gets yelled at by drivers.

Tundiel said...

*laughs evilly* Ha, you've been peer pressured!!

Cruella Collett said...

*feels utterly peer pressured*
*but in a good way*

*ponders how a plastic owl, a squirrel (or thousands of them), multiple giraffes, and a terrified pedestrian might fit in with... Oops, I nearly gave it away there...*

It's official. An hour at Starbucks and I have an outline. Complete with page estimates per chapter. Now all I need to do is fill in blanks (have I ever told _______ how much I _________ at filling in _______?)

hopelessmoo said...

HAha! Peer pressure works(and they always told me to 'just say no'. Like that would work)!

If you consider writing late at night while you are still jet-lagged, you could possibly extend the jet-lag and get more writing done!

Rayna M. Iyer said...

I must be the only one not to succumb.
*pins strong girl badge on shirt*

All the best, Mari. Bet you will do great.

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