NaNoWriMo Day 10: Embracing Distraction

Word count goal: 16667

Current count: 15004

How can she blog at a time like this? She is sixteen hundred words behind!

That’s part of the beauty and trauma of NaNoWriMo. One minute I’m right on schedule, and the next minute, I’m thousands of words behind. Don’t worry, I will make my goal today, probably late tonight after teaching twelve fantastic medical students how to perform an empowering and comfortable breast exam.

Yesterday, for example, I didn’t need to write at all!

Yesterday’s Goal: 14285

Word count as of Sunday afternoon: 14300

Then I made the mistake of sleeping last night, and a new day with a new goal snuck right up on me.

But counting words is a distraction, just as posting to my blog is a distraction. For that matter, the three hot new editing and coaching contracts I pumped out this morning are distractions too. So are those twelve medical students. The La Jolla Writer’s Conference was pretty darn distracting too.

But all these distractions feed me and inspire me. Word counting keeps me motivated by creating a sense of urgency. Writing about my process on this blog keeps me sane and honest. My writing services clients inspire me and remind me that my process is also mentorship. Medical students, as I pointed out in the last post, help keep me in my body and inspire me to achieve greatness. At the conference this weekend, I got new ideas for my characters, my plot, and my process.

So, I have to embrace distractions, at least a little.

Another distraction keeps pinging me: the readers of novel #1. My big idea was to finish a first draft of the novel I wrote last year before November 1 this year, to clear my desk and mind for a brand new and totally different project. That idea got bigger when I considered that the best way to truly sweep #1 off my desk would be to hand it over to somebody else.

And so on Halloween weekend, with much trepidation, I passed out 18 copies of novel #1 to enthusiastic and generous friends and colleagues to ask for their feedback. I didn’t expect to hear a peep from anybody until at least December. I fully expected several readers not to finish the thing at all.

But the result has become a lot of delightful distraction. Somebody’s reading it on a plane, wondering if the preacher’s wife beside her is reading over her shoulder. Somebody else’s husband “absconded” with the manuscript. Somebody else almost passed out in a sauna because she was so engrossed. One person is already done reading and ready to give me notes. Another is bursting to tell me how deliciously dirty my writing is.

How can I write novel #2 with all this excitement going on around me? Because it’s not entirely derailing. In many ways, the readers of novel #1 push me forward. The evil voices in my head that ask me why I would write a second novel when #1 is such a mess–well, they are harder to hear in the face of somebody actually reading and enjoying my work.

Wall of Notes, San Francisco, Novemer 2009

    • iamMOON
    • November 12th, 2009

    Distractions! LOL! I saw your blog….I got it! I feel the same way. When I’m writing all I want to do is write, everything else is in the way (sometimes) I realize I need the other things to ground me with real life!
    Keep your blogs, you’re writing a new book for us writers! Your honesty is our best policy!

    • iamMOON
    • November 12th, 2009

    Just when I was going to ask you, “How do you do it?” Turn off your computer, live a healthy balance life and accomplish so much, I read your blog. CUTE! CUTE! I see you struggle too. You manage with a little help from your friends. Good for you! I haven’t quite got the balance yet, but I’m working on it! Stay true to yourself! I really appreciate your honesty on your web site, maybe it will help US OTHERS to remember ourselves!

  1. Moon, you are full of positive reinforcement for what I am doing on my blog. Thanks so much for the encouraging words and for getting it. One of my goals is to show you the very human and real side of the writing process by being very honest and clear about my own process.

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