Alright, I’ll fess up. I didn’t make the NaNo goal this year. I could beat myself up, but I won’t. Part of it was that NaNo changed its notifications and some other bits that worked in the past didn’t work the same way this year. Plus, the two best ever ML’s dropped out and let the Buffalo group be led by N. Seriously, that’s her name. N and I never clicked. Sarah & Madeline were such great ML’s, so ‘spoiled me’ didn’t want to go to the write-ins and midway parties and the kickoffs because they weren’t going to be there. I had myself somewhat convinced to go to Perry to the write-in at Burlingham Books on the 20th, but that didn’t pan out.

On top of that, I went to my first workshop. It was on 5 November and the presenters were Mary Akersand Kim Chinquee. I had the best time! I learned so much! It was SO awesome. I’m beyond grateful to Husband for taking me to The Hodge Podge in North Tonawanda–what a brilliant choice for the workshop location. It was beautiful and inspiring. I’m so grateful I had the chance to attend.

So now you’re thinking I must have been slacking since I wasn’t creating new work? Oh contraire!

I worked my ass off this month. While still piling words into the latest NaNo novel (and had I gotten a fat letter from NEA instead of the thin one, I so would have changed gears since ‘Finding Forest’ was the project I wanted the NEA grant I applied for to fund.) I got my entry form for the Minotaur Books/ First Crime Novel Competition and dug into revising ‘Campus Crimes.’

Did I say revise? Oh, I hacked away. I took that beauty from 101,842 words down to 81,843. As Marko Fong commented, I was doing a reverse NaNo.

It wore me out. Strung me out. Made me hate the person I was when I wrote ‘Campus Crimes’ since I didn’t know squat then. (Not that I know anything now, mind you…)

Anyway, I slashed away, printed it out and sent it to a reader who had it delivered to him on Tuesday. Now, it’s in his hands. Could I have done better? Yes. The point is that I made the revision a priority and reached a deadline.

Goals and deadlines can be interchangeable, but sometimes it takes a person literally sitting themselves down to figure out which actions are most important. That’s what I had to do. That’s what I did. I think I made the right choice.

Neglecting NaNo also allowed me to concentrate on other contests I wanted to enter, and after I wrap this post up, I’m off to tackle the Buffalo News contest, cause you know, I‘m not competitive enough…

Last night, I attended a Grand Opening/Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for a bar and be the designated driver in exchange for the drive up to North Tonawanda. Seemed more than fair. It was pretty alien though. Husband turned into chatty Cathy social butterfly and I spent the night mostly alone. I mean, I was sitting at a table with some very nice people, I’m sure, but the band was right there and so conversation wasn’t possible without shouting. I still have traces of a malingering cold/flu. I didn’t want to shout.

I relearned two lessons though. 1) ALWAYS bring a book wherever you go–if I have one I never get to read it, if I don’t I wish I had. 2) Trim Husband’s moustache if eating/drinking will be done in public–self explanatory.

Ah well, I’m sure the experience will find a place in a story somewhere some day…

Speaking of which…I AM SO PSYCHED!!!! The Amazing, Awesome, Incredible Copyeditor Extraordinaire–Teresa Tucker will soon be done with Ellie’s Elephants. I am SO excited to get my baby back. I’ve missed her so much and am eager to see what she looks like now. I bet she’s even prettier than I imagine her to be, and I thought she was a great looking baby when I sent her to the equivalent of ‘finishing’ school.  SO PSYCHED!

*These are just my reflections. Your experience may vary.