Yes, it’s NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month, in case you missed the announcement. Once a year, for a month, insanely ambitious writers attempt to write a novel in the 30 days of November. Not a good novel, but 50,000 words that can be revised and polished, and might just become something worthy. Later.

I’ve won NaNo before. That is, finished my 50,000 words before Nov. 30 at midnight. That’s called winning. However, it brings on a level of crazy, plus 10 extra pounds of weight, every year. Because, in an effort to reach my goal of 50,000 words, I find myself eating at (over) the keyboard, not even looking at the food. Sandwiches, apples, bags of cookies, popcorn, cheese sticks, baby carrots, you name it. Mostly cookies, though. And coffee consumption? Also insane. I have two words for you: glug, glug.

This year, planning ahead, I joined a gym to stay fit, and got through the introductory week, where they taught me how to use the machines and facilities, ahead of time. I was determined not to gain (another) 10 pounds. Visits to the gym since Nov. 1? One. Yesterday. But the month is not yet over.

I also thought ahead about my abused and ignored family: They who must put up with my neglect for a month. Last year, it was Taco Bell and frozen lasagna. I thought I could do better this time, so I ordered some of those fresh organic meals that come to the house ready to cook. I won’t mention the company, but suffice it to say that I didn’t really read the fine print, and found myself with six meals that included the need to shred apples and mince fresh ginger; making fresh sausage for meatballs that my family later refused to eat anyway took up an evening of my time that I had not counted spending in the kitchen. I freaking minced. I don’t even like ginger.

I have two meals left that include yet more meatballs, homemade teriyaki sauce and several kinds of veggies in need of preparation, and I can’t avoid cooking because all the ingredients are fresh and costly. (Insert angsty howl here.) I cancelled the service and hied myself to Trader Joe’s where premade meals are a specialty. Next week’s meals are a snap – even that vexing holiday, Thanksgiving, which will be (not even kidding) frozen lasagna, pickles, and chips and dip. Hey – it’s NanoWriMo. Turkey Day is not on the agenda.

My word count is less than stellar – as of the halfway point (Nov. 15), I have 22,000 words, not the 25K I should have to finish on time. But there are days ahead, and miles to go before I sleep. Who needs sleep, anyway?

It’s NaNoWriMo. What are you doing to get through it?


Find Julia’s novel from a past NaNowriMo here: Veronika Layne Has a Nose for News from Booktrope Editions.

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