7020 words long
have laptop, will go drinking
- 7,020 words (if poetry, lines) long
I'm finishing up my writing night at Loaded Joe's. The only event listed was "free games," but as it turns out there's live music tonight too. It's a little louder than I like, and the performance can most kindly be described as "unstructured," but what the hell. I was stalling out in the hotel and I needed some stimulation. So I came over here, bought a cup of darjeeling tea and a pastry, and made a small but meaningful bit of progress on the new opening to Iron Wheels.
It's weird. You'd think that "introvert trying to get writing done" would require being alone somewhere quiet. But sometimes where I really want is to be alone is somewhere out in a noisy, happy, rowdy public place. Hence, writing in coffee shops and bars.
Writing in coffee shops has come to be generally accepted. Sometimes I hear people mutter all disgruntled about how no one ever goes to a coffee shop to talk to their friends or just think--no, they always have to be on a computer. Kids these days! My lawn, get off it! But for the most part, writing in coffee shops has become the norm.
But sometimes--not tonight! Not so far, anyway. But sometimes--I get bothered in bars.
I'm not talking about getting hit on. Fortunately, I've been more or less spared by the lamentably common "woman! alone, in a bar! must be available!" phenomenon. I suspect it's a combination of my not performing femininity particularly well, so that I'm not the first woman whom That Guy wants to approach; and my failure to pick up on the subtle openings of the flirtation game, so that I inadvertently signal "Not interested, scram." Which is exactly what I'd want to signal if I knew flirtation was going on, so, great.
(I also have a tendency to shut down some forms of gendered approach with the verbal equivalent of a tactical nuke. Somewhere along the way I decided that if someone else fires the first shot in the rudeness wars--by, say, physically grabbing my arm or acting aggressively entitled to my attention--I will have no compunction about firing the second shot, and it will damn well be big enough to be the final shot. Ain't nobody got time for that shit.)
No, what I get subjected to is better described as, "woman! alone, in a bar! must be lonely. I will remedy this!"
Last year I was at Loaded Joe's on karaoke night and, as often happens, I was here alone. With my laptop. And to the woman sitting at the booth next to mine, this was obviously a tragedy. So she took it upon herself to relieve my loneliness by chatting with me.
Now, this could have been enjoyable if I hadn't really just wanted to play on my computer and rock out to the music. And even then, it could have become enjoyable if what she had to say was interesting. But it was bog-standard drunk person chatter. And every new volley in the conversation began with her practically punching me in my shoulder and shouting, "Hey! Hey!" in my ear.
(At one point she noticed my computer, a Dell, and began trying to convert me to the holy church of Mac. Only she kept framing the comparison in terms of Mac versus Dell, rather than Mac versus PC or Mac versus Windows. It was disorienting.)
I remember being a little irked that, while she chatted at me relentlessly, she never took the opportunity to say something like "Hey, nice job up there," after I took a turn at the karaoke mike. (I think she didn't care for karaoke in the first place, and considered it a necessary evil to be endured in the acquisition of booze on a Friday night.) It's not that I needed her to compliment me on my singing; it's more that she declined the opportunity to turn the conversation in a direction I'd actually demonstrated interest in.
The other version of this when someone--either a man or a woman, it's been kinda 50/50--leans in to scold me: "Hey! You are in a bar! You're supposed to be having fun." But thankfully this type of interaction tends to end after I say, "I am having fun," or, if they're being particularly rude about it, "Who the hell do you think you are to tell me what I'm supposed to do?"
Anyway, despite the pervasive narrative of "you're doing being-in-a-bar wrong," the above examples are more exceptions for me than they are the rule. For the most part I do succeed at carving out my Circle of Protection: Intrusive Extrovert (please, someone design that Magic: The Gathering card for me?). Which is awesome. I get to enjoy the atmosphere--and a drink--without giving up my alone time. I get to have my cake and eat it too. Tonight is, happily, no exception.
So why am I thinking about it? Well, I am at Loaded Joe's, and I'm even sitting in the exact same booth where I was last year when Generous Chatty Woman talked my ear off. But also, earlier today I was reading this Captain Awkward post and its subsequent comments about men acting entitled to women's attention, and this related Doctor Nerdlove post. Particularly, I was reacting to the Doctor Nerdlove post asserting that it's generally OK to approach a woman in a bar because that's a social context in which being approached is expected. And I thought, "Well, yes, usually, but not always..."
But it's OK. Doctor Nerdlove has that covered too:
People who are uninterested in talking to people – especially people they don’t know – will often make a point of signaling that they wish to be left alone through non-verbal means. ... Similarly, someone who is engrossed in a book, her laptop, her phone, an iPad or a sketchbook is likely not interested in talking to a random person at that moment.
There is an order of operations here, and, alas, some people get it wrong. Just remember: the non-verbal signals trump the locational context, 'k? K.
the many hues of being born yesterday
This blog post comes to you after a successful arrival and first couple days in Avon. I have run away from home for the weekend, which means I've got no responsibilities but the writing ones. Granted, this theory has been put sorely to the test by my having visited the library and brought six books with me back to the Christie Lodge--Terry Pratchett's Unseen Academicals is the first temptation on the to-be-tempted by pile, and I'm halfway through it already--but it is a test I intend to pass, darn it. Look, there's evidence in my favor. To wit:
- "Keeping Time," a 1,200-word expansion on what was originally a 739-word entry in the 2012 edition of the annual Weekend Warrior flash fiction contest on Codex, got emailed to a prospective market late Sunday night. Sunday, of course, was the deadline for that particular submissions call.
- Sunday was also the deadline for submissions to SpeckLit for publication during the first quarter of 2015. I sent in two new drabbles. I'd have preferred to send the full slate of ten, but two was what I had. I'm rather proud of those two, too.
- Speaking of SpeckLit, I cast my votes for the Best of SpeckLit 2014 Q3 (also a November 30 deadline). Did you?
I got right back to work on the novel today, too, and with inspiration from the most unlikely of places. I recently stumbled across The Pervocracy, "a kinky, feminist sexblog" if I may borrow Cliff's own words to describe it. (My own words began with "a whip-smart kink blog," but I couldn't seem to continue on from the pun. Which, I hasten to add, was meant with sincere admiration.) Cliff is reading Fifty Shades of Grey and blogging about it one chapter at a time. Like many people, I began reading this series for the lulz, but past chapter 12 my attitude became one of horrified ongoing enlightenment. I'd heard about this book's representation of BDSM being offensively inaccurate. What I hadn't known, because I hadn't gone looking for details, was that E. L. James has chronicled a deeply abusive relationship in disturbing detail--you can play Potential Abusive Partner Red Flag Bingo with these books--then marketed it as desirable romance. And if you're saying, "Well, but, duh, it began as Twilight fanfic, and that's exactly what Twilight is." To which all I can say is,
when Edward broke into Bella's room, all he did was watch her sleep. He did not rape her and leave her sobbing all night long on the bathroom floor.
Seriously. Chapter 12, y'all. It makes Edward's hinge-oiling shenanigans look sweet by comparison. Apparently some people really need to be told that D/s doesn't mean "the Dom is allowed to sexually assault the sub if it sounds like she's trying to end the relationship."
So what does this painful horror story have to do with Iron Wheels beyond a both having a nodding acquaintance with Twilight? I'm getting to that.
Much earlier in the read-through, when there were red flags for potential abuse popping up everywhere but it was still possible to laugh about it, Cliff had a fantastic observation about the character of Anastasia Steele. James has, for the purposes of the plot, carefully written her to be so "pure" as to be unrealistic. This goes well beyond our toxic social notions of "virginity" or "innocence." Ana has not only never kissed anyone, had sexy thoughts about others, or experienced orgasm--she has also apparently never exercised in her life? Oh, and she has no idea how to use a computer. She has never used Google nor sent a frickin' email, ever, in her life. Despite
being a college graduate (apparently I'm wrong here, she graduates in chapter 14) who is currently pursuing a career in journalism. I cannot imagine how one can be a journalist in the 21st century without being able to do cursory fact-checks on the internet, but then I can't imagine writing a novel set in Seattle without fact-checking things like what the nearby international airport is called, or the relative positions of Vancouver WA and Portland OR. And yet here we are with a novel for which the author has apparently fact-checked none of these things and more besides. So there you go.
But Cliff's observation is this:
Okay, new theory: Ana spontaneously appeared out of nothingness, full-grown, a few days before the events of the book. She's never done anything before because she literally did not exist.
And I thought, "Oh. That's almost literally true of Etienne Farfield, isn't it?"
Etienne is a changeling. Her entire function for hundreds of years has been to look exactly like, so as to temporarily replace, stolen infants. The way I imagine it, this means she has not been an autonomous being at all until the novel takes place. Between "assignments," she is simply stored, in stasis, a wind-up toy that isn't wound up. So her conscious existence up to now has consisted entirely of a brain incapable of verbal thought and a body incapable of performing any but the most rudimentary of voluntary movements. But now, suddenly, she's walking around like a real girl, pretending to be a normal human high school senior.
For some reason, it took reading Cliff's half-joking observation about Ana Steele to make me realize that if you really do have a character that was born yesterday, you have to put some real thought into all the implications of that. You have to work with those implications. But the good news is, you get to play with those implications. What's it like, thinking in words for the first time? What's it like, suddenly confronting the ability to do things? How does she get up to speed on this whole "being human" thing? How does it work when she's not actually replacing someone this time around? Or isn't she?
So that's what I played with today--writing yet another brand new first scene, one that starts with her narrating what it's like to wake up as a human teenager for the first time.
Where it will go tomorrow is anybody's guess.
on taking a permanent vacation from nanowrimo
Confession: I'm not going to win NaNoWriMo this year. I'm not even going to try. My current word count means I'd have to write 8,689 words every day to reach 50,000 on November 30, and that includes today. That's not going to happen. Even if I didn't have other things taking up my time this week, I'm just not sure it's worth the blood, sweat, and tears. Which isn't to say NaNoWriMo isn't worth it, in and of itself, but this year, given my current situation, it's not worth it to me.
My novel draft is at a point where madly producing word count by the thousand isn't really the next step. The "rediscovery drafting" I've dabbled in this month has helped, certainly, but in the way of a kind of brainless blunt instrument. I'd be better served by nuance and planning. Planning! Heresy! But there's so much that I don't know about this novel. I could get lost, nibbling away at it one scene at a time, producing huge amounts of material that may never get used at all--because the scene doesn't end up making it into the book, or because the voice I've given my character is all wrong, or because I haven't actually figured out exactly what Mr. Greenbriar's political aims are or what Old Mack is really scheming or the exact nature of some other large-arc game-changer...
Meanwhile, November 30th is the deadline for two different calls for submissions to which I want to send stories. Getting the stories ready to email by Sunday is doable, but not if I'm using all my time trying to navigate a changeling protagonist through the day-to-day intrigue of a fictional Wyoming high school.
On the other hand, on November 29th I get on a Greyhound bus for Vail, in which region I'll be staying for a week, all by myself, just me and my laptop. I'll be there a glorious six more days after meeting my November 30th deadlines. Which means I can dedicate my solo writing retreat to digging this novel out of its rut and putting it on track toward a publishable state.
I've done NaNoWriMo every year since 2002. Do something for a decade or more, and people expect you to do it forever. Heck, I expect me to do it every November. But, honestly, I'm sitting on a lot of novels in rough draft form, and I'm tired of it. I want to publish novels, and that's not going to happen until I rewrite, revise, polish and submit. That's work. That's work I don't actually know how to do yet. I need to spend time doing that before I crank out another 30-day 50K monstrosity.
So that's my Vacation From NaNoWriMo Manifesto. Hopefully it will lead to Interesting Developments!
good for what ails you
- 5,300 words (if poetry, lines) long
- 1,400 words (if poetry, lines) long
- 5,675 words (if poetry, lines) long
Lately my writing process, if not my writing itself, has been suffering from a feeling of futility. There's the guilt of still having not revised "Caroline's Wake" and a sinking feeling that I'll never get it revised ever. There's the sense that this rediscovery draft of Iron Wheels will not only not reach 50K by the end of November--my first non-winning NaNoWriMo ever! Say it ain't so!--but also isn't taking me anywhere useful. There's a creeping suspicion that the Friday Fictionettes project is just a cargo cult exercise, a needless new obligation I've imposed upon myself that, although it has the basic shape of finishing and publishing stories, is actually just a waste of time that could have been spent more profitably.
These are not rational feelings. They're not at all justified. But they hang around, stifling my workdays with this general "why bother?" malaise.
Then someone reminded me that a market I've had my eye on would close to fiction submissions on December 1, and I thought, I need to send them something now.
And then I thought, Could the reason I feel like I'm not getting anywhere be that I haven't submitted anything for publication since September?
So I've just emailed "Down Wind" off to that market. And you know what? I feel much better now.
this homesick fictionette does not welcome our kryptonite overlords
- 1,327 words (if poetry, lines) long
- 3,817 words (if poetry, lines) long
I'm going to blame today's lackluster NaNoWriMo performance on all the other things I did with my time, primary among them the posting of this week's Friday Fictionette. Last week was my first time being late to upload, and I'd like it to be my last, too. At least for a while.
This week's excerpt is chunkier than last week's, but then the same comparison holds true for the fictionettes entire. You just never know with fictionettes. 500 to 1500 words was the range I had in mind when I started this project, and between last week and this I've almost spanned that whole gamut.
Credits for the photos in that cover image, by the way, are detailed in the author's notes and also in my Patreon activity feed. Basically, I'm not in Metairie right now, so I had to scour flickr rather than just walk up the levee and take the picture myself. Yet another reason to feel homesick! Maybe when John and I are in town for the holidays, I'll re-release this fictionette with the cover photo I really wanted.
As always, if you want to read the whole thing, a pledge of $1 per month lets you do that. It also gives you access to every single fictionette I've uploaded since I started this project, way back in the first week of September. Have I mentioned that? I don't think I mention that often enough. I describe Friday Fictionettes as being an extremely cheap short-short subscription service powered by Patreon, but I ought to add that every "subscriber" (Patron) gets instant access to all the "back-issues" (Creations) that ever were.
Which, again, is why I'm not off the hook for September and October's audio. Which I hope to get to this weekend! I also hope to write about 6,000 words on the new draft of Iron Wheels this weekend. I have lots of hopes! I'm a hopeful sort of person!
I'm also a very happy and excitable person right now. The other major happening that ate up my NaNoWriMo time was driving up to Skate Ratz in Loveland to have my skate plates taken off my two-and-a-half-year-old Riedell R3s and installed on my brand-new Bonts. Skate boots that aren't falling apart! Skate boots that fit dang near skin-tight! So! Happy! Can't wait to skate in them! Which is why I'll be joining John for Phase 1 tomorrow. It will be an ideal environment for getting used to whatever needs getting used to. And figuring out whether my trucks need readjusting. And seeing how my brand-new toestops feel--I replaced my worn down Gumballs while I was there. Also my ripped-up elbow pads.
Derby gear! It is a source of endless geekery. Also of recurring expenses. Hooray for skate shops with roller derby discounts!
i console myself with roller derby equipment
- 3,198 words (if poetry, lines) long
It is so very cold along the Front Range this week. It tempted us to light a fire in the fireplace yesterday, which was lovely and cozy and bright and romantic and all--but now the whole house smells like woodsmoke. Also we turned the heater up a notch last night and forgot to readjust it before bed. I woke up overheated, dehydrated, and with a sore throat. I also woke up late, and didn't really get moving until later. This may have something to do with my only reaching 3K and change rather than the hoped for 5K on the Iron Wheels "rediscovery draft."
After my 1,000 words, I gave in to nap temptation and allowed myself to fall asleep reading the 2013 draft. I have to say, the story in the 2013 draft--at least in the first half--isn't all that bad. It's missing huge gaps, but the overall arc is strong. Why can't it just magic itself into shape without my having to do all this work? That's what I want to know.
But enough complaining. My new skate boots arrived yesterday! They are heat-moldable Bonts. So tomorrow I will put them in the oven (at the recommended temperature) and then stick my feet in them and lace them up (after the recommended cooling-off period), and hopefully the results of doing this once or twice will be skate boots that fit skin-tight, like rock climbing boots do. And then I can have them mounted onto my Avenger plates, and then I can skate without worrying that my equipment is about to fall apart. How cool is that?! It is so cool.
in which the avoided thing becomes the exciting thing
- 2,179 words (if poetry, lines) long
So I started writing it today. And it's not a revision, it's just rank rough draft, exactly as awful and wrong as I expected. But I kept on writing it, because sometimes the process toward completion involves multiple rough drafts rather than a series of neatly and incrementally improved drafts. And because "discovery writing" leads to discovery, darn it.
So away with expectations of a more structured draft and a more disciplined outline! Let's have experimentation! New points of view! Different framing devices! Throw everything at the wall and see what sticks! If 51K in 2013 wasn't enough to figure this story out, maybe another 50K in 2014 will help.
Not that today's progress represents the rate that will get me to 50K by November 30, mind you. But to go from zero per day for eleven days to 2179 on day twelve is, I think, significant.
Something that helped a hell of a lot was a chance conversation on Saturday with someone who's been on the local roller derby scene for years. He was regaling us with tales from the bad old days of High Melodrama In Colorado Derby. "I probably shouldn't be telling you this," he said, so I'm not going to relate any of it here myself. But what made my ears really prick up was when he said that his dream is to see junior roller derby in the high schools along side football and basketball and soccer & etc. He had a concrete idea of how to do it, too, which he shared with us. And I said, "This may sound weird, but please go on and don't spare the details--I need this for my novel."
Sadly, I don't remember the details. But whatever they were, they totally inspired me.
See, my original idea was that my fictional high school, much like many real life schools in today's political climate of ill-advised austerity, loses its physical education component entirely due to budget cuts. Katie's dad, Mr. Greenbriar, who's the president of school board or the principal or something like that (why I thought I was ready to revise this novel when it's still full of "something like that" holes, I do not know), is trying desperately to keep the kids active on no budget whatsoever. One of the things he does is partner with a nearby league's junior derby program.
My thought now is that it's actually a county-wide recreational junior derby league that he's collaborated with a nearby adult league in creating. Its membership pulls from area schools, resulting in two or three teams that play each other in exhibition bouts at the different schools over the course of the school year.
So in the first scene of the novel, in which Old Mack (the puck) brings Etienne (the changeling) to a junior roller derby bout, the featured bout is an import. It's more of an exhibition bout. Like, "Here's an option we'd like our kids to have. What do you think?" Mr. Greenbriar is desperate to get local parental buy-in so that the rec league he has in mind can actually happen. So when Katie--who's been commuting out to practices with one of these out-of-town leagues for several months now, so she gets to play with them in the expo bout--when Katie gets impatient with her teammates' level of play and just hauls out and hits the opposing jammer as though this were a full-fledged adult WFTDA bout, Mr. Greenbriar benches her. He doesn't want her scaring off the community. (He's also not happy that she got an insubordination penalty on top of the hitting penalty. He wants her to take the rest of the bout to think about what she's done.)
That's another thing. In the first draft, Katie was just penalty heavy in general because she didn't give enough of a damn to be careful, to play clean, or to work with her teammates. But I didn't realize at the time that JRDA rules differ from WFTDA rules--and why the hell was that? Shame on me. Boulder County Bombers has a junior league--I could have picked the brains of any one of our dedicated junior derby instructors! In any case, the missing piece for me was knowing that, for juniors at level 1, all hitting is illegal. And at level 2, though intentional contact becomes legal, it's limited to "leaning into" opposing skaters. Accelerating into the hit or block remains illegal. There's even an added hand gesture for signaling the penalty.
So I could just see Mr. Greenbriar arguing the school board around with, "It's not violent! No more so than basketball. Skaters try to keep other skaters from getting past each other, but they don't hit each other. It's not like what the adult leagues do at all!" And he's just about got them convinced when Katie lays the opposing jammer flat.
Did I mention that Mr. Greenbriar's political goals are going to get more stage time in this draft? It's true. Just as soon as I figure out what those goals are.
Anyway, the climactic Roller Derby Bout Against a Faerie Team With Our Protagonists' Happiness and Freedom at Stake--that's going to echo this first expo bout very closely. For the regular humans who don't know the first thing about Faerie, it's the bout that they've been working toward all school year long: an away team wants to come and play our league! Excellent! They just don't know how very far away is. And, again, Katie's going to pull a totally illegal (for juniors) hit on their jammer. With consequences.
So this has been a lot of enthusiastic brain-dumping about Iron Wheels. I guess that's what happens when I finally sit down and start the rewrite. I get excited about where it'll go this time. Excited is good! Excited keeps the writer coming back to the page day after day.
Tomorrow I'll be looking for the 5K mark. 5K and change, ideally. Wish me luck!
go away snow you have made your point
- 0 words (if poetry, lines) long
It's still snowing. It was snowing yesterday and it's still snowing today. WTF, sky? You have the worst dandruff. It's all freezing cold and it clogs up my windshield. It also clogs up my brain. I watch it out the window and all I want to do is curl up in bed and go back to sleep.
I didn't even want to go out in it at all but apparently I made today MMLocal Pick-Up Day for myself, so off I went. Their Boulder base for share pick-ups this time around is the Avery Tap-House, so at least I got to order a beer while I was there. And also devour the most amazing pork belly small plate.
And now there are 24 jars of various delicious and wholesome things in my house. Two of those jars are only half-full now, because you can count on me to yield to temptation where food is concerned, pretty much every time. The holiday beets and the bread-and-butter zuke pickles were just there, taunting me; they were all, "Oh, too bad you're full from dinner, because we are yummy..." and I was like, "Too right you are! Get in my mouth." So.
Meanwhile I continue to have trouble setting words to page on Iron Wheels. Rewrites and me, right? Gahhh. This is why the word count is now set to 0, rather than 51K and change. Because zero is how many words I have logged on this rewrite.
See, I have four characters in that first scene whose interests/motivations/goals/story-arcs need to be moved or at least hinted at, and I do have good ideas about how to do that, but they are ideas that will be expressed mid-scene. Meanwhile the first words of the scene escape me. I just know that the moment I start writing it, it will all be wrong. Argh.
So my freewriting these last few days has comprised attempts at approaching the story by way of worldbuilding and backstory. Which probably doesn't help, but it lets me feel like I'm doing something worthwhile.
Coming tomorrow: Me effin' well sitting down and doing it. Damn it. Even if the snow does persist in coming down. Which it will.
go team go
Every day, every work day, presents another face-off between the warring factions of Stuff To Do and Not Enough Time. Yesterday, the latter won, and it was a depressing wipe-out. Today, a decisive victory went to the former. Which is to say: Today I got to prove to myself that, yes, all the different things I have to do can coexist in a single day.
Well, that may be a little optimistic. To be precise: home improvement projects (paint-stripping and sanding closet doors--we're down to the sanding now, folks) coexisted with a well-rounded writing day (morning pages, freewriting, fictionette prep, novel work, Examiner blogging, this-here blogging). And on a Wednesday, too, which is when I record an hour-long reading of employment ads for the Audio Information Network of Colorado. Also there was a not insignificant period of time spent on Puzzle Pirates, mostly during the AINC reading and the paint-stripping.
Notably, my day did not include roller derby practice, and I bowed out of my usual Wednesday night trivia outing. The only "out" I went was to the craft store to reward myself for getting the doors from the paint-stripping stage to the sanding stage. (Aida cloth and DMC embroidery floss. I'm going to finally cross-stitch that "Hurricane Chart, Cajun Style.") Well, and to the restaurant next door for chicken korma and an hour's writing. So. Many things can coexist in a single day, but not, alas, everything. I suppose that's why we gave ourselves seven different days in a week.
About that novel work: I have decided, between yesterday's "we'll see" and today, that I'm constitutionally unable to just sit back and not participate in NaNoWriMo. I don't think I could look myself in the mirror on December 1 if I didn't give November by best novel-writing shot. Besides, I started off this year with the idea that every work day should include some short fiction and some novel work. I might as well try to get back to that.
However, I'm still at a total of zero words. My editor brain knows I'm trying to write a second draft of Iron Wheels rather than a first draft of something new. It won't let me just start typing away. It's got a point; I don't want to repeat the aimless, unstructured journey of the 2013 draft. Since I couldn't bring myself to just blart out rough draft, I instead blarted out thoughts on characters and plot. I especially had some thoughts about Katie's dad and his school board politics, and how these sort of disappeared from the 2013 draft. I'd like to give Mr. Greenbriar a significant role in this draft, maybe bring him face to face with the Faerie Queen and have them argue over who gets Katie. (Spoiler: It's Katie who gets Katie. That's what "growing up" means.)
Maybe tomorrow I'll manage to lay down some "real" words... depending, of course, on which team wins the battle over Thursday. I suspect it's going to be a very close contest.
oh look it's schroedinger's november
- 5,300 words (if poetry, lines) long
The savvy reader will have noticed that it's November now. November: The month officially designated National Novel Writing Month. The month when Niki Writes a Novel.
But this year, for the first time in ten years, I'm not in charge. I'm not planning write-ins or parties, I'm not sending mass emails, I'm not the municipal liaison.
Do I sound really, really happy about that? That's because I am. Instead of putting together an all-night write-in to host on Halloween night, I got to spend all that day in a sports bar watching Day 1 of the 2014 WFTDA Championships, and all that night sleeping. Instead of hosting write-ins for the kick-off weekend, I was helping to host an out-of-town guest, playing Puzzle Pirates, and attending roller derby practices. NaNoWriMo was going on somewhere in Boulder, and it wasn't my responsibility. After a decade of things being otherwise, that's intensely liberating.
Which prompts the next question: Am I going to participate at all?
Theoretically, yes. I've spent some time this year trying to revise the structural outline of Iron Wheels, so this would be a good time for me to start re-drafting the novel.
But practically... I'm not sure. I barely got any writing done today at all, and tomorrow will be taken up from start to finish with ongoing efforts to repaint the bathroom and refurbish the living room closet doors. And I have other writing tasks of higher priority, like the requested rewrite of "Caroline's Wake" and the latest Friday Fictionette (still haven't recorded an audio for October, by the way). There isn't enough time in the day to do everything.
And yet, emotionally, it would be a shame to break a twelve-year streak of participating in, and winning, the annual 50K-in-30-days challenge.
So. The answer is "I'm not sure. Let's find out, shall we?" And so we shall.