Anyone else having a bit of trouble adjusting to life after NaNo? I find myself a little directionless without the ticking clock of the relentless NaNoWriMo countdown to face each morning. My pace has slowed to a crawl without the timed writing sprints to look forward to. Now that I’m responsible for my own motivation, I’m finding myself to be a less than ideal coach. Hey, there’s snow outside and Christmas decorations to put up and gifts to buy.
Distractions, distractions, distractions!
Maybe we all deserve a little downtime after the craziness of last month.
Here’s a wrap up of last month’s #writemotivation /NaNo goals:
1. Survive, nay, WIN NaNoWriMo. I did survive NaNo, and even though I didn’t officially win it, I feel like I made great progress on my new project. I wrote a little over 25K words and have about 100 pages of a new manuscript to work with that I didn’t have at the beginning of the month. ALL WITHOUT EDITING.That in itself is a major accomplishment for me.
2. Attend at least three NaNo Write-Ins and take some dares. Goal made. This is what helped me make the most progress in my opinion. I loved the write-ins and meeting so many new writers. And all the dares worked into my project really well. Even the bonus Dr. Who one. 🙂
3. Before Nano starts and maybe even into the first week, prep some posts for the month. I did better with this at the beginning of the month than the end. Still, I plan on using this more in the future. One thing this NaNo has really taught me is how to be more disciplined.
4. Try to look up every once in awhile and acknowledge family’s presence. Goal accomplished more days than not. There were a few where I failed to shower or make dinner, but I did peek out of my writer’s cave every day and spend some time with the most important people in my life. They love me even when I’m stinky and half-crazed from too much caffeine and when I’m ranting like a lunatic because I can’t make my story work out right, so I have to give them credit where its due.
One day I really tried to spend some quality time with my family was on Thanksgiving.
In support of my writing schedule and because he loves to cook (and I do not) my husband took on most of the burden of preparing our family feast. There was a lot of chopping and simmering that i steered clear of. My husband even did some fancy thing with the stuffing, using cornbread and wild rice that needed to soak in buttermilk like twenty-four hours before. I stayed out of the way in my office, working on my NaNo project, happy as could be. It was also in the middle of birthday week for me, which meant I could ask for special favors from my loving family members, smile at them and then scream at the top of my lungs, “Birthday week!” and they would have to do said task for me. (I love birthday week.) We came up with this a few years ago because my birthday always falls around Thanksgiving and we never really get a chance to celebrate it by itself. Now having a special week every year where I get to boss everyone around is the best gift of all. My birthday actually feels like a celebration. So imagine my surprise when on the evening before Thanksgiving, in the middle of all of these amazing preparations, my husband turns to me and says that everything is ready to go. “All you have to do is cook the turkey.” I stared at him blankly.
“What?” I’m thinking, isn’t that like the main part of the meal? What did he mean by telling me at the last minute that I was responsible for the biggest part of the dinner? He did remember how much I hated cooking.
“No big deal, just toss it in a roasting bag and pop it in the oven.”
I thought about calling birthday week on that one, but my husband had to work. He wouldn’t be around to cook the damned thing. I think he planned this surprise attack beautifully.
Besides, I could do it. I’d made a turkey maybe twice before in my life. Like eight years ago. After all, he was just making all this really fancy stuff, so what if I just tossed a dry hunk of dead bird on the table as my contribution. How bad could I screw it up? I put my head between my knees to keep from hyperventilating.
After having bad dreams of naked, headless turkey carcasses chasing me, I woke in a panic. I couldn’t just throw the bird in the bag after my husband had worked so hard on everything else. I wouldn’t bring down this holiday. I started with some research. I searched the internet for some sage advice. I needed a great turkey recipe to save the day. What I found were a lot of complicated or even weird ideas. One said I’d need to brine my turkey before cooking it – no time for that! One sounded really tasty, but it would take over nine hours and I didn’t have half of the ingredients. Arg! Then I saw several links telling me I could just pop the damned thing in the dishwasher, and it would be done in an hour and a half. Really? I was sorely tempted by this point, although after reading the fine print, I learned I’d have to carve it up, wrap it in plastic, then broil it in the oven to brown it after it was finished cooking in the dishwasher. No real shortcut after all.
In the end, I found this lovely recipe by Gordon Ramsey that was very doable as I had all the ingredients and I could watch the video. Repeatedly. Rewinding every five seconds and taking notes like a crazy person. And it included bacon. Who doesn’t love bacon? I did have to rub down the turkey with a lemon and parsley butter, which was so not my favorite thing, but the smell was divine once it started cooking. It turned out great in record time. The bird was delicious.
I decided that this is the only way to cook bacon from now on; on a turkey, basted in lemon parsley butter for several hours. And my turkey stood up to my husband’s fancified dishes like they were made for each other.
This experience was a little like my NaNo experience as a whole. Some panic, some experimentation, stretching my limits, and learning that I can do more than I thought I could once I pushed myself past my comfort zone. And I ended up with something pretty cool that I made myself.