Saturday, November 03, 2007

And so it goes...

“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.”
-Robert Burns

Marcia Colette (who is still riding high on her first print contract) asked for the final numbers of my two-week challenge.

Sadly, they are what they were in the last post - 84 pages out of 280. My best laid plan was to write as much as I possibly could in the two weeks before November first, when I knew I would have to do some serious job hunting. I decided to try to write at least 20 pages or 5000 words a day (depending on which came first) for those two weeks. (This was an effort to break out of some serious writer's block - or laziness, whatever you want to call it.) :)

Well, as it turned out, I got off to a good start the first 3-4 days, then I got two contract jobs that I needed to take (in order to take care of little details like food and shelter) and those contracts ending up being so much work that I've been putting in 12-15 hour days for the past week and a half. In fact, I need to work this weekend, but I'm taking a short break just to save my sanity. (Not to mention I'm fighting sinusitis with accompanying pain and dizziness.) Nevertheless, I have a lot of work and a Monday deadline looming, so I'll have to get cracking soon.

In the midst of that, I actually even signed up for NaNoWriMo - what can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment.

Soooo..... how did/do I think I'll accomplish all this? I had commented on Spyscribbler's blog recently that I was completely clueless when I started writing. (I'm still fairly clueless, though I like to think I've learned a little.) In some ways, that complete ignorance served me well when I was just starting out. See, I hadn't as yet learned that writing is hard, and getting published even harder. In my naive enthusiasm, I thought I could handle it.

It reminded me of a time, many years ago, when I moved five large bags of something - I believe it was cement mix. See, back then, I only weighed 103 pounds. My (now ex) husband and his brother had left these big bags blocking the back walkway to the porch and I went outside and moved them to the side of the house.

When the guys came home, they wanted to know where the bags were. I showed them where I'd put them. They asked how they got there. I wondered how stupid could they be, and said I put them there. They didn't believe it and asked me to show them. Still mind-boggled at what idiots they were, I picked up a bag and moved it. Sure, it was heavy, but it wasn't impossible.

They were stunned and I still couldn't figure out what the big deal was until I looked more closely at the bags. They weighed a hundred pounds each. The guys had left them in the middle of the sidewalk because they were too heavy to carry for any length of time, yet I'd moved them all several feet away.

There is not a doubt in my mind if I had actually read the weight on the bags before moving them, I wouldn't have been able to do it. In fact, after I knew they weighed only three pounds less than I did, I suddenly couldn't carry them as easily. I had been working on the assumption that they weighed about 40 lbs each. I knew they were heavy, but I had no idea. My ignorance gave me the belief that I could carry them, and I did.

I gave this post the tag "Magical Mondays" (even though it is Saturday) because that experience illustrates the power of belief. I might have done better with my challenge if I hadn't allowed the belief that I was too tired/too stressed to overtake me. On the other hand, since I did so well on the days I wasn't working, I now believe that I can handle Nano. Heck, if I could write 5000+ words a day (the equivalent of moving 100 lb bags for me) I'm sure I can write 1667.

That's all they figure it takes to complete NaNoWriMo. 1667 words a day.

Piece of cake. :)


  1. Becky, that's an awesome story! Good going with Nano. I know you'll do it!

    I'm nearly done with my first draft. I'll finish today or tomorrow. :)

  2. You go girl!!! It just proves that we can do anything as long as we set our minds to it and don't worry about the details in the middle.

  3. You said CAKE.

    See how easily I'm distracted?

    Good luck!

  4. The power of the brain is an incredible thing, not only in what it "knows," but clearly in what it doesn't "know." This is why medical diagnoses can be a frightening thing, indeed. (I know at least 2 people who have chosen to run with the diagnosis ball their doctors have given them, rather than just seeing what they're capable of without someone else's judgment.)

  5. Who said cake? Does Travis have cake? Where's the cake?

    I want cake...

  6. Edie, Marcia & Lana - you all know the power of positive thinking.
    (and Edie, congrats on finishing the book!)

    Steve & Travis - I'd like some cake too. I may have to go make us some. No point in writing when there are better things to do.

  7. Whoa, cement mix is super heavy, Kate! That was one hell of a workout. If you can do that, you can DEFINITELY write 1667 words a day! All it takes is belief in yourself. :-D

  8. Is cement mix heavier than cake mix? How much cake mix?

    I'm somewhere in the neighborhood of 29,000 words, most of them about frosting....

    Did someone say cake?

  9. Never look back when you're running full throttle ... might run into something.

  10. I love that analogy! So true, too.

    By the time I catch up to Nano, it's going to be 3,000 words a day, LOL. That's okay, I guess!

  11. LOL, Kate, I remember weighing 103 on my wedding day. Thanks for the great memory. And I can see you now struggling with those heavy bags. I love that you had no clue how much they weighed. What a great lesson for all of us. Take care of those sinuses too, and good luck with the Nano!

  12. Hi Kate,

    That was a great story. I can relate in all ways, actually.
    I am trying to write more as I am home and unemployed (and have the time, right?)...yet the guilt of not working mixed with hunger, accumulating bills and the approaching holiday season has me looking for work or so preoccupied with looking that my writing falls short in content, quality and quantity.

    As for the ant that moved the rubber tree plants...yes, ignorance is bliss. But more than that, I think we are so conditioned by the limits of the shoulds, should nots and can'ts that we 'buy' into them. i.e. "Once you have children your body and your life are never the same..." well, of course not - nothing stays the same. Yet, I interpreted that as a negative; no time for me, my body will remain overweight, I can settle into the soccer-mom image as expected...etc...Then, thank God, I snapped out of it - out of the stereotypical expected image of a mother.
    We need to NOT buy into those so called "expectations" that society expects of us. It's more than 'where there's a will there's a way' and 'mind over matter''s ridding ourselves of the mind that thinks in those limited terms. Besides, the "will" is forceful and irritating while a "vision" is effortless and exhilarating.

    I recently moved into a small upper apartment and with the help of my doubting sons the three of us moved my impossible huge sofa couch up many narrow steps and into an awkwardly angled doorway. I had a vision of HOW to make it happen while these two young strong lads were shaking their heads side to side in the negative. Afterwards I said: "Let this be a lesson to you both. 'I can't' does not exist."

    Take care, Kate. I hope this finds your writing flourishing and your job hunting successful!


  13. That's a really great story. It's funny just picturing it, because I'd probably have done the same thing, privately cursing them for them the way they had. Still, the fact that you moved 100 pounds is great, I can barely pull about 50 along. Your numbers on NaNo are good! We need a writer song, something on the lines of a cowboy song with lyrics that fit a writer.

  14. Fascinating story! And best of luck on your writing (I sure do love big pieces of cake--they always taste great!).

  15. Happy Thanksgiving, Kate. I hope you and your family have a lovely, peaceful holiday.

  16. Hope the writing's going well & that you had a great Thanksgiving. :)

  17. Hi Everyone - I'm so sorry I've been MIA for a while. The last several weeks have been very busy and stressful. When I have a moment to breathe, I'll get caught up and tell you about it. There is a "Magical Monday" story in the midst of it. :)

    In the meantime, I have to go take a cake out of the oven, believe it or not. :) I blame all of you for ruining my diet--though I think it started with Steve. :)

  18. Mmm, I'm eating cake right now...

    Just wanted to thank you for your super-challenge. It inspired my recent week of madness! Cheers...

  19. I understand your madness, Kate. I'm just now getting a lockdown on things at my house. It's a miracle my blood pressure is normal.

  20. Hope things calm down for you soon! Don't worry about the diet--'tis the season, after all. ;) Take it easy, hon!

  21. Can't wait to hear how things are going! I miss your blogs!

  22. Hey, everyone - thanks for hanging in there with me. :) This new job has been kicking my butt. I'm hoping things will settle down soon.

    Steve - you've been awe-inspiring. :)

    Marcia - glad your vacation went well. I know you've had a lot going on too.

    Lana - Thanks for the good wishes. I see you added your new name to your profile! :)

    Spy - thanks. :) I've got a little more energy & time this weekend (though I haven't done a thing for the holidays yet, so we'll see how long that lasts!) and I'm hopeful I'll be able to provide an update tomorrow.

    I've been reading all your blogs when I can, just haven't had the energy to give it the concentration I'd like. :(

  23. Yes, I've added my new name to everything. I may be 40, but it's my first marriage, so I figure I'm entitled. *L* Happy holidays, yet again! Hope all's well. :)

  24. Lana, you and Charles are so cute. :)

    It does the heart good to see how happy you are. :)


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