NaNoWriMo and Other Updates

Oh, hello! Have you been wondering where this blog has gone?

I shall tell you. I mean, it's still here, but . . .

See, there's this thing every November called National Novel Writing Month. Or, NaNoWriMo for you acronym lovers. During the month of November, those of us who are a few crayons short of a box think, "Hey! I know! I'm going to torture myself for an entire month and try to write a freaking book! In a month!"

The point, of course, is that you're supposed to learn how to "make room for your creative self." Um, sure. But even when you do everything right, you still have little shit-darlings walking into your writing time, saying, "Can I have a snack?"

Friends, mission accomplished. I did it. I wrote the damn story. It wasn't easy. It wasn't pretty. There were tears of frustration, where I decided to blame impending failure on the girl-children I had created and the household that needed running. I fell asleep on top of my laptop many, many times. I wrote a few sentences at a stoplight here, worked out a plot problem during a commute there. I pounded out some dialogue in the lunch area at work, plotted the next parts of scenes during showers, and even when I was utterly exhausted, I kept writing writing writing.

I was not super efficient. My biggest blocks of time were, of course, when the children were in bed, dishes done, obligations met. And this was, alas, around 10:00 p.m.

Because my children do not stay in bed.

Unfortunately, my brain is mushy by the time the clock hits double digits. So, writing was not very fast. Or great.

I stayed up past midnight dozens of times. I got a few good writing stints in during early mornings or Saturdays when Chris took the girls to Costco or whatever. (Thank you.)

I sound whiny, but It. Was. Hard. I regretted taking it on. But I didn't want to let myself fail, either. My biggest obstacles were TIME and ENERGY. But what's new? In other words, if not now, WHEN?

So, friends, I got that novel written.

Yes, I am drinking a glass of wine (um, two?) to celebrate.

I hadn't realized how much this novel was pressing on me---in the midst of work, visiting family, another big ballet show, and impending Christmas preparations.

Until it was over. I skipped around the house, I was so relieved.

Now, it sits for a month or two until revisions start. Like, in late January.

So, that's where I've been and why this blog has been quiet this November. We have gazillions of episodes saved on our DVR because I haven't watched TV in a month. I've only "read" audio books while multitasking, and they have all been related to my novel.

What has happened since then? Here are the bullets:
  • We had our first ever parent/teacher conference. It turns out that Charlotte is a genius--due to stellar parenting, OBVIOUSLY. (I kid, I kid.) She's a crazy good reader and a good little rule follower (which might be problematic long-term, as she has "DOORMAT" written all over her--but for now, Charlotte is beloved by her teacher and has the kindergarten curriculum by the balls).
  • Chris and I celebrated our EIGHTH wedding anniversary. Once my mom got to town, we fled to a hotel in Georgetown. Oh, and had a nice dinner out. :)
  • We hosted Thanksgiving. Mums flew in from California, my dad from South Dakota (fret not, they are still married---Mums is dwelling with my aunt while Dad builds their house on the prairie), and my brother and sister-in-law came from Seattle. I had parental bonding with both halves of my parental unit: Mums, with somewhat drunken floral arranging and the moderately more sober (but not entirely) Nordstrom holiday party; Dad and I went to the Redskins vs. Giants game yesterday, because This Girl got club level tix with all sorts of nifty perks from a vendor I often use.
  • It (FINALLY!) became public that a little Opp is on the way! I get to be a auntie again! (Oh, I just about melted the first time one of our nieces called me "Aunt Ashley"---I lurv being an aunt). My brother and Christine are expecting their first little bundle in May, and HE will be oh so very loved. This will be our first nephew. Obviously, we're all just over the freaking moon. By my count, I'm the only aunt so far, which should make my planned ascension to the role of Favorite Aunt a smidge easier. I can hardly wait for this little boy to be born. Can you tell?!
  • Charlotte danced in her winter ballet show, A Christmas Carol. It's a double-edged sword, having these performances (yes, plural) during Thanksgiving weekend. It's a LOT of stress and time during an already packed week, but having my whole family in town for the show was amazing. I plan to blog a full post on it, so I'll keep this brief, but  . . . wow. How this little academy and theater company exists at this caliber in our teensy town has been so unexpected and so awesome. It has been a phenomenal experience for Charlotte, in every way. And I'm exhausted.
So, that's where we've (I've) been. Life continues to whirl mercilessly--Christmas is upon us, and I travel to Dallas this week for work.

While in Texas, I'll miss Charlotte's Gingerbread dance in front of our town for the town lighting on Friday night. The thought makes me ill and teary-eyed--when I learned Charlotte's dance had been chosen, I actually started calculating whether someone could go in my place. I don't much mind traveling for work, but this early December trip is a tough one for me. Yeah, I get to see a new city dolled up for Christmas, but I really miss my little town getting all lit up. It's a really special night around here. I missed last year, working in North Carolina, and I'll miss this year. Meh. Now I'm getting cranky.

Which means I should close. Hopefully this post is long enough to make up for a month of silence. And I'm ecstatic to get my life back!


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