Thursday, November 19, 2009

I'm with the band ... um, where'd they go?

I'm pretty much recovered now from my long weekend chaperoning the marching band at Nationals Competition. It was exhausting, but amazing to see how hard the kids worked. They had a great run in prelims, getting one of their best scores of the season and one of the top ten of 91 bands at prelims. They were pretty tired for their semi-final run Saturday morning, though, and barely missed out on making Finals. Still, 13th in the country is pretty damn good, especially when some of the competition has half again as many musicians in their band. And no one had as cool a show as PCMB this year: watch the video below, and the last 60 seconds will have you shaking your head and wondering, how in the world did they do that? (Click the square box in the lower right to see it full screen.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More lessons from NaNoWriMo

As you can see by the progress bar at the top of the page, I've officially reached the halfway point in my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) goal of writing a 50,000 word novel. I've learned a few more things about writing during these first couple of weeks:
  1. It really helps to have some quite "thinking" time before you get started writing. I've tried starting each day by taking my pretty journal book and making notes before I get started. It gets me set up for what I want to write, and gets me in the mood as well. It also invariably attracts the cat, since I sit in the front room which rarely gets used otherwise.
  2. It is possible to write 2000 words a day and also work on assignments. It's a lot easier when the assignments are copyediting (ie fact-checking and review) instead of original writing, because it's two different types of thinking and it's a relief when I give up on the business articles and get back to my novel.
  3. I'm loving my whole "encyclopedia article" structure, because I just make my list of words and write. Not having to think about plot (except during early morning thinking time) sure makes the writing a lot easier.
  4. One can fit in writing while one is sitting outside watching kids practice the marching band show, or inside waiting for them to finally get ready for bed to turn lights out. It's not easy, but it is possible. One must avoid skipping ahead, though; although this is usually a great technique to avoid writer's block, if one is extremely busy one tends to forget to go back and fill in the holes.
  5. One cannot fit in writing when one is sleep deprived. Actually, you might manage to fit it in, but you'll just end up staring at the screen as the cursor blinks hypnotically and your nose ends up typing "hjkjhkjhjkhjkhjkghjkhjkjhkh" when your head hits the keyboard.
I've gotten a bit behind my target of 2K a Day, but I'm close to the average of 1667 words a day, and hope to get further ahead as we get to the end of the month. I'm almost done with the "M" section (letter 13 of 26), but I figure "O" and "Q" will only be half-sections, so I'm still making progress. We'll see if I last with Thanksgiving coming up; I hear there are already pies to be eaten.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Photo of the Week--11/16/09

You know this look, don't you? The one that says, "I don't care how cool the ocean looks in the background, I'm tired of climbing stairs and just want to get it over with. No, I won't smile for the camera, because I know in ten years you'll post this photo on the internet, and everyone will think I was a Harry Potter wannabe, even though it the first book was barely out and I hadn't read it yet. I don't care about King Arthur and whether he really lived at this castle, just get on with it!"

Oh well. Maybe you guys will appreciate the Cornish scenery and the poetic ruins of Tintagel despite the grumpy looks.