NaNoWriMo Unsolicited Advice Part 2: Time

No Telling

Remember when you were in your early twenties and all the world was an unrealized epiphany? Every day filled with fascination, raw understanding, the daily freshness of discovery and insight? Other than the obvious developmental reasons for this, you were able to see the world as unending possibility because you had time to think about it.

If you’re still in your early twenties, then bless your heart. Those are some good years.

It’s not as easy to be reflective and creative when you’ve got eleventy-seven things to do after nine hours in a cubicle or whatever. And all those people you’re responsible for – where did they come from? Now you want to write a novel in a month.

We need time. A little silence wouldn’t hurt, either. Stop laughing.

For inspiration, I defer to T. S. Eliot and his boy Prufrock:

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

(There are some more lines about wriggling on a pin and coffee spoons and being ignored by mermaids, but we’ll save those for later when we commiserate in rewrite.)

There is time, I promise. All you need is an hour. The ebb and flow of your daily madness may dictate which particular hour, but if you’re like me you have to steal it from something else.

I steal mine from 5:00-6:00 am. This works for me because The Perfect Grandson is asleep and all my synapses are firing up. The bonus here is that I leave for school full of self-congratulatory mojo for having written my 1,700-ish words already. Instead of walking around with guilt all day, I can let my story percolate and the rest of my life gets done.

Maybe your Magic Hour is late at night. Maybe you have to break up your hour into two Magic Half-Hours. It doesn’t matter, really, as long as you’re realistic about it. Just keep in mind that the first few days are slower than the rest and give yourself permission to miss the word count a bit until the story really takes off. Luckily, NaNoWriMo begins on a Thursday this year and you’ll have a weekend handy to get into the rhythm.

What if you manage to find extra time? Wow. Use it to hedge yourself against the unexpected, because at least one unforseen time-gobbling event always happens at some point during the month. Anticipate trouble. Embrace your bad luck now and write an few hundred extra words here and there.

Simplify everything. Use this weekend to cook massive amounts of freezable food. Stock up at the grocery store and vote early. Train your family to do some things for themselves and vow to live happily with the results until December 1st. Plan to stay away from Ebay, Facebook, Pinterest, or whatever vile online thing distracts you. Think Lent.

In December, we can all take toast and tea.

Weekly No Tellin’ Scribble Challenge, and last week’s winner


April isn’t really the cruelest month, it’s actually National Poetry Month. We should celebrate. Between the tornado sirens and the Arkansas River floodwaters, there needs to be some moment of peaceful, poetic delight. Otherwise, we would all sound just like ‘ol T. S. – and have you ever really heard him? Well, I don’t know many voices that can conjure up such large-scale depression. On with the delight, then.

The first exciting bit of news is that we have a winner in last week’s Scribble Challenge. Aedh’s poem “Tulips” wins hands down by following Cruelanimal’s lead a few weeks ago and scaring off the competition. Congratulations, Aedh! Be sure to copy/paste the coveted No Tellin’ Winner’s Blog Badge to your own blog. You’ve earned it.

This week’s Scribble Challenge needs to be something celebratory and April-y. And I’m convinced it should be poetry in some form or other, in Honor of National Poetry Month. Write about dancing. It can be anything from your first junior high dance to Britany Spears doing The Stumble. You can write about your high school prom or your first trip to a strip club. Hopefully they didn’t occur on the same night, but if they did, write about that too. Write about the ballet or the mosh pit, I don’t care. Surprise all of us. To get you rolling, I’ve included a couple of inspiring dance videos. Now, go make poems.