Summertime, NaNoWriMo and Me

Hi Gang, let’s catch-up.

I love this song and this version especially. It’s one of the few I can recall the words to well enough to sing, though it’s best experienced if you or I–and preferably both–have had a few cocktails.


But now summertime is over and I can no longer pretend I’m on vacation. There’s a chill in the air and I’ve just returned from Vermont where the trees have begun putting on the blaze of glory show.

I haven’t been slacking off completely since my last blog post. I’ve been working steadily on The Illusion of Marriage but recently hit a bit of hiccup. I realized I’d been rewriting and reading the same chapters over and over and not making much progress. The diagnosis–lack of an outline.

There comes a time when you have take a serious look at your process if you aren’t completing projects. While I’ve always been keen on the idea of outlining, the practice of it has eluded me. Presently, I’ve come round to believing that outlining is crucial to finishing. That’s where I am creatively.

Steven Pressfield has a new book coming out Authentic Swing which is about the writing of his first novel, The Legend of Bagger Vance. He utilizes a way of outlining called Foolscap which he talks about in a new video series. It’s helping me conceptualize my own work, and frankly I just like listening to Steven talk.


Yes! It is nearing that time of year again and the WriNoShores, our local group of NaNoWriMo participants,  are gearing up for another epic month of write-ins, cookies and creative expletives. Sara, our intrepid ML, and I have a shiny new design featuring our mascot George, which I will reveal in a later post. George had an interesting summer observing teenagers in their natural habitat (sprawled on my couch in front of the television) and traveled to Smuggler’s Notch in VT on a writer’s retreat where he watched Sara and I sprawl on the couch in front of the television. Apparently, George needs a higher quality of experience than he currently being exposed to.

I must apologize to Sara though, I’ve thrown a bit of a monkey wrench into the plans and taken on a new position, which unfortunately begins November 4th. Not that it’s unfortunate for me-I’m thrilled-but it does mean I won’t be available to attend the daytime write-ins during the workweek. I’ll really miss Mondays at Plum Island Coffee Roasters in Newburyport, and the Thursday crew at the Haverhill Public Library.

No worries, I will still be my usual competitive self, aiming to be the first to fill out our super useful word counters with sparkly new stars (I have a reputation to uphold).

As for my new job–I never expected to be a nanny again, but in an opportune moment of serendipity, a close family friend’s shiny new boy came early necessitating personal care. I offered my services and they accepted. I love that I can be there for them and I’m honored by their trust in me. I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about him in the future.

College Tours

YIKES! Also on our end-of-summer agenda, college tours. If any of you have been down this road, you know that the tours are all pretty much the same or at least they feel that way after about three of them.

Basically, you show up, they corral you for a presentation on the school’s philosophy, facilities and policies, have a Q&A, then divvy you up to charming (hopefully) student representatives who lead you around the campus pointing out the highlights while regaling you with tales of traditions and student antics. Some are more successful at this than others, which is often clue enough as to whether the school is a good fit for your child. How we were treated by the student body while we were on the tours was a determining factors for at least four of the schools, two positive, and two negative. One of the schools surprised us though not in a flattering way, but rather they turned us off with their self-centeredness.

Not everyone bothers visiting the schools which surprises me. Of course it isn’t always financially possible, especially if the school isn’t within driving distance. We didn’t have that problem since my eldest daughter aims to stay in New England. The younger daughter won’t have the luxury of visiting the schools she interested in since she aspires to go as far away as possible–le sigh.

We’re getting closer to a decision. She’s narrowed it down to a handful of schools. We’ll be making one more foray to Vermont before the early admission deadlines start in November. Then begins the acceptance waiting game. Then the shell game of financial packages. Then the torrent of tears from her mother who is not ready for her first little chickie to leave the nest. Maybe accepting this new boy into my care is compensating for the loss I am anticipating.

I’m determined to keep the focus on my work despite all the changes, events, and holidays coming. Most important is putting taking care of myself first on the list so I can survive all that is scheduled-not to mention those eventual unscheduled surprises. Which reminds me I need to hit the liqueur store to stock up on wine, the cheese shop and Staples.

Now that the lazy days of summertime are over how do you prepare for the hectic days ahead?