National Novel Writing Month 2009 Kick-Off

I’m five days into NaNoWriMo, and not doing terribly well. I’m right at 1/4 of my target word count. My writing group is on fire, though, and I’m taking a little bit of (probably undeserved) paternal pride in that.

We started things off in a big way last Saturday night (Halloween), when a bunch of us met at a local IHOP for a big kick-off party. I think I’ve seen differing counts, but I’m pretty sure there were seven of us writing (and an eighth writer who left before we actually started writing), and two visitors who came by just to spectate.

We met at 11:00 PM, so that we could socialize a bit before getting down to business. I spent most of that time talking with Shawn about World of Warcraft. That was, without question, an accurate indicator of what I should expect out of the night, and out of my November. Don’t mistake that for me placing blame anywhere but on me, though.

Anyway, it was fun, and we all had a good time socializing. There was a real air of anticipation, too, as we got closer and closer to midnight. Somewhere in the midst of that, a young couple headed toward our tables — one of the seven writers, and one of the two spectators. The latter of those was also one of my students in my Tech Writing class. He’s a young man with considerable personality — more than he can reasonably keep to himself.

It was my intention to get 2,500 words written. I was willing to leave as early as 1:00 if I managed to hit my word count by then, but I was expecting it to take until about 2:00. That’s okay — I’ve closed down bars in the not-too-distant past, so I figured I could handle 2:00. We had the advantage of Sunday morning being the end of Daylight Savings Time, too, so I’d get the extra hour of sleep.

Most of our writers had laptops — no, check that, all of them did. Except me. I had a scribblebook, because that’s how I roll. We’d picked IHOP for its late hours, but one of the major selling points had been the free WIFI. Unfortunately, when midnight rolled around and everyone opened up the laptops, we found ourselves unable to locate that free WIFI. I don’t think anybody ever did. There wasn’t easy access to electrical outlets, either, but I think everyone’s batteries survived longer than their writing impetus, anyway.

Anyway. While they were wrestling with their network management utilities, I was scribbling in a cramped cursive at laughing at them all. Muah hahaha! I filled two and half pages (a hair over 500 words), and ran out of words. I spent the next thirty minutes or so forcing words one at a time to fill another page and a half, and then I gave up. Oh, what a shining example I am for my writing group!

About five minutes before I gave up, though, my oh-so-personable student Sean (no, not Shawn, that was someone else) gave up on his project to get ad hoc StarCraft going, and came to our tables to talk some more. I was able to pretend to humor him, and act all friendly as an excuse for closing my scribblebook, unclicking my Pilot G-2, and spending the rest of the night just emptying glass after glass of Coke.

That was one-ish, so I had an hour left before I was going to let myself leave. Fifteen to two, a hostess came by our table to warn us that the bars were about to let out, and the clientele would become considerably more boorish. Courtney proudly proclaimed that we were writers, and we delighted in observing vibrant characters in action.

We got more than we bargained for there, though. Just past two, a fistfight erupted in the parking lot which quickly ended up as four guys beating the hell out of a fifth guy down on the ground. Our table gave us an easy view of it, but everyone in the restaurant was quickly on their feet, watching the fight through the wall of windows. It was impossible to look away.

Courtney called the cops. A manager and some employees risked their lives to try to intervene (and quite possibly saved the fifth dude’s life in the process). Fifteen minutes passed before the ambulance and firetruck showed up, forty-five before the cops. None of us really felt like setting foot outside until that happened.

So I stumbled in the door well after three in the morning, too buzzed on secondhand adrenaline and caffeine to fall asleep, and I spent half an hour lying in bed thinking, “Oh, the hangover tomorrow is going to suck.” That was habit, because the only time I come home after two in the morning is when I’ve been out drinking (and, when I spend that long out drinking, the hangover tomorrow always sucks). I kept having to remind myself I hadn’t actually had anything to drink.

And then tomorrow came, and the hangover was awful. I’m way too old for three in the morning.

I cleared eleven hundred words on day one, and then had to go to work on day two. I taught a class on day three. I’ve been swamped with a Maintenance Handbook on a Nov. 14th deadline, and too exhausted at the end of the day to do anything but log in and zone out. I ended yesterday at 2,485 words. Got another five hundred done today, though, and the weekend is looking shiny and full of promise.

Every novel I’ve ever written has had at least one 8,000-word day in it. Maybe this year’s will come early.

Anyway, that’s most of what’s been on my mind. I’m off to a slow start, but I’m still a long way from out of the game.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

One Reply to “National Novel Writing Month 2009 Kick-Off”

  1. WoW! And to think I missed it to go out of town! I felt out of the game too, so I’m happy I still have a chance. Is there any chance of getting together to write again?

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