PrepOutMon-day: Trick-Or-Treat!

Happy Halloween week! Halloween is so exciting now that I have a little one! My little strawberry is going to playdates, trick-or-treating, and sing-alongs dedicated to this not-so-spooky holiday. So much fun!

Strawberry at a Halloween jam.

Strawberry at a Halloween jam.

You know what else is exciting about Halloween week? When it ends, NaNoWriMo begins! We’ll all have sugar-highs and optimism as we dive into these projects we’ve been thinking about for so long. I am ready! I’m through with the planning, wondering, and  mapping! I want to write! (It just occurred to me that some of you are probably child-free and will be starting NaNo with a hangover…probably after making out with a slutty green crayon all night. That is cool too. Let me know how that goes.)

I’m taking my wobbly-walker trick-or-treating as my NaNo prep this week. Mama is going to load up on candy–the fuel of word-sprint-when-I-can writers!

Looking for a fun way to kick off NaNo? I’ll be joining @FriNightWrites #writeclub to get my first 1667 words. Hope to see you there! (I’m @penandstink)

Happy Halloween, Trick-or-Treat, and NaNoWriMo!

No-Pressure November

As if committing to fail NaNoWriMo wasn’t enough, I promised my writing workshop folks 15-20 pages of a polished manuscript by mid-November. Last Tuesday, they built me up so high after a reading that I couldn’t say no!

I don’t even have regrets now that I’ve come down to reality. I’m just excited to get some “real” feedback. We only get/give positive reactions to the unpolished pieces we write during workshop. But manuscript review promises negative feedback too! I want it all — the good and the bad. Oh by the way, I don’t have any pages “written” yet. All I have are some prompt-responses that I scribbled on looseleaf during workshop (and that one Sunday that I abandoned my family to write). They are brainstorms at best.

What do I have going on in November? Oh, not much…

  1. Writing 1667 words/day for NaNoWriMo.
  2. Movember. I already have the mustaches.
  3. Polishing 15-20 pages of a manuscript that doesn’t exist.
  4. Two Thanksgivings to prepare. (1) Mini-Thanksgiving for guests the week before (2) Real Thanksgiving for family. No big deal.
  5. Full-time nanny/cook/clown/teacher/cheerleader/maid/nurse.

In sum, I’ve got this. Totally.

6 Polished mustaches. Check!

6 Polished mustaches. Check! Let’s do this, November!

PrepOutMon-day: Oh My Blog!

You guys…with a sick family, a kid learning to walk, and Homeland marathons during my downtime, I’ve been MIA. But I’ve been thinking and brainstorming about the novel I’m going to start writing during NaNoWriMo. This is going to happen.

I wrote a bit during my last writing workshop and it was well-recieved. I’m feeling pumped! Is it NaNoWriMo time yet?

Also, I am 100% certain that I won’t win this year, but my personal goal is to write something every day. No matter how much my daughter drunk-walks that day; no matter how good Season 2 of Homeland is; no matter how sick we get with the next strain of cold-from-hell…I WILL write every day in November.

Anyone else off-roading for this NaNoWriMo? Just me? OK! Hope the rest of you write all of the words!


Wordless Wednesday: As I Found Them…




My First Sunday Roast

I recently got a lot of flack from my favorite UK pals because my FIRST Sunday Roast was “non-traditional.” You guys, I slowly cooked a tough piece of sale-meat until it was melty and flaky and delicious. This is as traditional as I get! So, for now, let’s agree to agree that we’re all better off after The Blues vs The Reds War. The Blues sometimes serve egg noodles with pot roast and The Reds eat Yorkshire pudding every Sunday, whatever that is.

Anyway, I took pictures while I prepared dinner, look!

First cook some finely chopped veggies until they are tender.

First cook some finely chopped veggies until they are tender.

Don't just bung it into the slow cooker! Sear your meat!

Don’t just bung it into the slow cooker! Sear your meat!

Boil some wine until it turns into a syrup (with meat and veggie flavors in it).

Pour wine syrup and boiling beef broth (or water) over meat and veggies.

What can you do in 9 hours? I wrote, shopped, played with kid, and worried the meat would never become tender.

All done! It was tender. I did a dance that resembled a deer frolicking in the woods. It made my daughter laugh at with me.

Carrots and parsnips are almost finished roasting. Egg noodles are nearly finished too!

When meat was resting, I poured the liquid from the slow cooker into a bowl using a strainer. I pressed the veggies into the strainer to squeeze all of the deliciousness out. Graaaaavy!

Almost forgot to take a pic! I had already started eating. Sorry!

BTW, see the package! Egg noodles go with pot roast, ya Reds!

Also, this is how you do lunch leftovers the next day.

PrepOutMon: The Bad Beginning

I spent my Sunday morning in a coffee shop writing. It was great. My writing was horrible. But being out of the house, milking a medium latte, and writing sans child nearly trumped the hair-tearing-out anger I was experiencing as I wrote, revised, and my story didn’t budge a centimeter.

I know what this book is about. I have mapped out the story. I even know how the climax of the story will play out. And am stuck on the beginning. Beginnings used to be my thing. I thought that setting up the bones and foundation of the story would help me avoid the pain of writer’s block. Nope.

I could have skipped to the middle — the part of the book that is organized and more or less mapped out — but I stubbornly attempted to pound out a direction for the beginning. How do I get from the introduction of my character/story to the middle action? You aren’t supposed to answer that. I have to.

My plan is to just write the damn first draft and get on with it. Easier said than done. But that is what NaNoWriMo is for, right? I’ll keep trying to brainstorm-write until November…then it is go-time.

At least I have Writing Workshop tomorrow night. Another opportunity to write and work through this blurgh!

First Writing Workshop

"You've got this, right?"

“You’ve got this, right?”

On Tuesday, I left my child (as pictured above) in my husband’s hands and walked to my very first writing workshop. I won’t lie; I was grinning during that five minute walk down the hill and across the road. I wasn’t nervous about writer’s block, meeting new people, or that I left a very messy baby with my husband for his first solo parenting gig. I was just excited to be walking to a writing workshop on a crisp fall evening.

The hostess of the workshop is just…lovely — a perfect blend of humor and kindness. I felt immediately warm and welcome upon meeting her. She seems like the kind of person you can have a cup of tea with and laugh about anything.

The other writers in the workshop are so, so, so talented. The pieces they came up with in response to prompts were just amazing — detailed, mysterious, tender. My work sounded so different. So light and silly. But that is me. That is my voice. I doubt it will change much.

Writing and sharing work in a comfy sitting room, with tea, prompts, and talented writers, with no interruptions for 2.5 hours…it is heaven. It is luxurious — reading during a rainstorm, wrapped in a soft, worn shawl luxury.

And all of that serene, comfy, luxury walked home from the workshop with me. I opened the front door to hear a welcoming whisper from my husband, “Take off your shoes and tell me all about it!” Our baby had been sleeping for an hour; the house was tidied up; and the dishwasher was running. My husband and I swapped stories about our evening in the quiet of our living room.