Friday, November 30, 2007

I Did It!

So much for Writing: Impossible. I, a working mother, wrote just over 50,000 words in a month. I honestly didn't think at the beginning of the month that I would make it, but after the first couple of days when I did meet the daily quota, I became determined to finish despite a couple of unproductive days. It took a lot of effort, but I caught up. The last thousand was a bit tricky because today was so busy; I'll blog about that in a separate entry.

I learned a lot from doing this. I found that lunchtime is a productive time of day for me; I can write over a thousand words then. I learned how to turn off my inner editor and just put words down on paper, even if they're filler or awkwardly phrased. In fact, it's fun in a way to just let loose. At the same time, I also discovered that night time might not be my "write time." My exhaustion catches up to me at night, making it harder to write. There are more online distractions; even more importantly, I want to spend some time with my family instead of being forced to the keyboard to meet quota.

Speaking of family, I'd like to thank Eugene for his support this month. He offered me encouragement and gave me the time at night to write. One Saturday, when I was still a few thousand words off target, he even took off early from the clinic so he could babysit Alex and let me write at the bookstore. Love you lots, hon!

I still have a fair amount to go before I finish my story, and then it's going to need a major self-edit before it's ready for other people to crit. I think I'm going to continue to write on my lunch hour but slow down writing at home. I'd like to spend more time with Eugene. Besides, I have a new project to work on. I'll post about it next....

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Christkindlmarket and Counting Down

I've been immersed in working, baby-tending, and writing so much I haven't had much time to blog. Still, I've surfaced every now and then to meet with friends and family. We got to see our friends Adam and Natalie (and their daughter Sarah) last week. It was great seeing you again! (waves) As for Thanksgiving, we celebrated at Eugene's aunt's house. There were a lot of people there, and unfortunately Alex didn't handle the noise well, despite our efforts (and Eugene's parents' efforts) to soothe him. He's also showing more signs of teething these days, such as chewing on things and drooling, so that doesn't help.

Despite all of this, we decided to try taking him downtown today to the annual Christkindlmarket in Chicago. This is becoming a family tradition of ours, so we were looking forward to it. We also thought it would be better to go now, instead of doing it in December when it might be even colder. I brought my camera along, but I only took a couple of pictures, which I haven't uploaded yet. One of the funniest sights was seeing all the pigeons gathered around a fenced-off memorial flame for fallen soldiers. I guess in the winter it serves a dual purpose, though some of the birds got so close to the fire I thought they'd roast themselves.

We stopped at some of our favorite vendors at the market. Eugene bought some pieces for our holiday village (we started collecting them last year), and I bought an embroidered runner for the holiday table. We didn't get any ornaments this year, though. Alex looked around for a while but then started getting fussy, even after I changed his diaper and tried to feed him. He finally fell asleep, which gave us a chance to eat. But we didn't stay too much longer after that. Alex was much happier when he woke up, so we stopped at my in-law's house so they could see him in a good mood. They appreciated the unexpected visit.

Writing Update: I'm over 40,000 words, which means I have less than 10,000 words to go. (To meet the NaNoWriMo goal, not to finish my story. My novels never turn out so short.) I have a lot to do now to start prepping for the holidays, but I think I can make my goal if I push. Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Back on Track!

I've been lagging on my word count for National Novel Writing Month since Day 3. (Between Alex and a party that night, I only wrote 50 words.) Since then, I've been struggling to catch up. Tonight, I finally did:

Target Word Count = 17 * 1667 = 28, 339
Actual Word Count = 28,435 (according to Word; I think the Count Validator for NaNoWriMo gives me a few extra words)

Given everything that's been going on this month, this is incredible. It makes me more determine to reach 50,000 words by November 30th. Hopefully I'll have some extra time to write over the long weekend, even if we have other things scheduled too. May the muse be with me, please!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I'm So Stoned, Duuuude...

I bet anyone who knows me never thought I would say that. (big grin)

After calling the doctor's office a couple of times and spending the last few days at work with my cell phone by my side at all times, I finally heard from my doctor. Well, techincally she didn't speak to me; someone else at the office called me while I was driving home from work tonight. The ultrasound I had on Friday "is consistent with gallstones." They didn't tell me much more than that; they just referred me to another doctor. So I'll call him or her tomorrow and see what's recommended. Maybe they'll be able to break up the stones instead of having to remove my gall bladder. From what I've heard from other people, however, having the gall bladder removed isn't too bad in terms of the surgery or the aftermath. I would have preferred not having two major surgeries in a single year, but you have to do what you have to do.

(Russ, isn't it odd we're both blogging about health issues at the same time? I don't know if I should start feeling middle-aged because of my health or youthful for using technology to discuss it.)

OK, I better get back to writing. Tomorrow is the halfway point for National Novel Writing Month, and I can't quite seem to close the gap between where I am and where I should be.

Still Waiting....

Thanks to all who sent good wishes/thoughts about my abdominal pain. In case you're wondering why I haven't posted an update on the situation, it's because I don't have an official diagnosis yet. I did go to my primary physician last Thursday, and she recommended an ultrasound, which I had Friday morning. Unfortunately, I don't have the results for that yet. I was supposed to get them Tuesday, but even though I called the doctor's office to remind them about it, my doctor didn't get back to me that night. Hopefully she'll call me on my cell later today. In the meantime, I do have medication in case I have another attack. I still feel some pain in that area (and I'm noticing other symptoms having to do with gall bladders), but it's nowhere near as bad as it was last week.

(And in case you're wondering why I'm blogging at 2:30 a.m., it's because I just finished giving Alex a nighttime bottle. He slept through the night a couple of times last week, but now he relapsed into needing a middle-of-the-night bottle. I hope this phase passes quickly!)

Writing Update for NaNoWriMo: I'm still slightly off pace. I should have reached 20,000 words on Monday, but I'm currently at 19,800 or so. It's frustrating because I'm only a couple thousand words behind where I should be; I should be able to catch up. I would catch up if I could write as well at home as I do on my lunch break. All I can do is keep at it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The News You've Missed...

Personal news from me, that is, since I've been writing instead of blogging.

Actually, I did very little writing on Saturday. Alex was doing his usual weekend routine of resisting a rest during the day, and that night we attended a birthday party for Eugene's cousin. Alex had a bit of a meltdown from fatigue, but even so, many of Eugene's relatives wanted to see him. Eugene's mom held Alex while he napped so we could eat and socialize.

Alex was again fussy Sunday afternoon, when we celebrated my grandmother's birthday at a Polish buffet. I have some pictures from that, but I haven't uploaded them yet. I did get to see my cousins again. Although they're not that far away, we haven't gotten together since the wedding or shortly afterwards.

On Monday, we lost power during the day. Alex's daycare lost power first; I got a call from them saying I might have to pick him up if they couldn't get it fixed. A few minutes after that, we lost power at work too. Luckily, the power was restored fairly quickly.

Unfortunately, I have to end with some not-so-good news. I wound up in the ER last night with abdominal pain. It started shortly before I went to bed and just kept getting worse until I woke up Eugene. (Alex was already up.) I felt bad about doing that, but it was necessary, and Eugene reassured me about that. The three of us checked in around 2:00 a.m. and stayed until 5:00 a.m. The pain got better, but my bloodwork came back showing signs of a possible gall bladder problem. I'm going to see my regular doctor tomorrow to follow up. Too bad I forgot to bring the lab results with me when I was discharged, as that may mean they'll have to repeat it (which I can deal with) or delay further tests. Maybe the doctor's office can get the results faxed over.

And Russ, I'm a day or so behind schedule with my writing challenge. I should be at 11,667 words by now, but I'll be lucky to break 10,000 tonight. Maybe this weekend will be better for writing, maybe not. I'll just have to do the best I can.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

So Far, So Good

I started National Novel Writing Month today (I blogged about it earlier). I actually started at 2:00 a.m., since Alex woke me up and I didn't get back to sleep right away. I also brought my computer to work and wrote during lunch, then I got another hour or so in after Alex went to bed. So far, I have over 1,800 words. I need to average 1,667 per day to complete this challenge, so let's hope I can keep it up.

As for writing like this, I'm forced to think less about what I put down and just focus on getting words on the screen. I'm writing a lot of cliches and repeating some words; this first draft is going to be too raw for OWW. But maybe this is a good way of learning how to write more quickly. I 'm sure this draft will need a lot of revision, as many of the scenes will be made up on the spur of the moment. The main thing is to finish the draft, though. Wish me luck that I can keep up this pace.

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