Tuesday, March 11, 2008

NaNoEdMo: Lessons for a slacker


What started out with a bang has dwindled to a pitiful fizzle.

Yep, NaNoEdMo is running amok. Don’t get me wrong. I’m doing fine on my scene and page counts. I consider those things the real tangibles of NaNoEdMo. But my editing hours have fallen into a slump.

I won’t make excuses. I booked a busy social calendar for the weekend and didn’t leave myself time to write. But, even while I was slacking off, some pearls of writing wisdom came my way.


This one came from a theatre outing with my husband Saturday afternoon. I enjoyed the production—a very tight rendition of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. The acting ranged from quite good to excellent. The set was pleasingly minimal.

What I didn’t like was being bludgeoned with a heavy handed Lazarus symbol, a too-oft repeated device used to impart theme and character development and to impose structure on the play’s deliberately fragmented structure.

Personally, I got the Lazarus symbol the first time I heard it. By the fifth time I was bored to tears with it. And when they closed the play with it, complete with hackneyed trick of Raskolnikov walking into the blinding light, I found myself feeling a little insulted. Before I even left the theatre, I’d added this to my DO NOT EVER DO list. An audience is smart. Give them credit for it. Let them put the pieces together themselves.


While out shopping with a few lady friends, I tripped across a bottle of nail polish that made story ideas dance through my head.

It was a gorgeous, saucy garnet, made by O*P*I, color name I’m Not Really a Waitress

I pictured innocent girls, leering greasy haired male customers, casting couches, dreamers and those sad, plodding women whose glamorous dreams have been strangled. I’m Not Really a Waitress. That name makes my wheels turn. I could write at least four stories off that single, provocative prompt.


A friend’s husband passed away Saturday afternoon after a vicious war with cancer. He was only 62 years old. No one expects to die in their 60’s anymore. For most people that’s just a beginning of a whole new phase of their lives. As I think about my friend and her husband, I wonder how many things they thought they’d have time to do, but didn't as they raced against the clock.

Since I know my readers are smart, I won’t belabor the point. And, really, I'm in no position to talk. I'm the one going off to plays and lunch and shopping, rather than sitting my butt at the computer.

So I remind myself to work, with the knowledge that life is short. Take time for friends, for family, for fun, but always make time to write.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

Greta wrote:

"So I remind myself to work, with the knowledge that life is short. Take time for friends, for family, for fun, but always make time to write."

Yes, my good friend, that is the struggle from day to day. There are so many things that easily distract us. It's our passion, though, that keeps us coming back for more.

Thank you for the reminder.