NaNoWriMo Update: Candy Canes, Unicorns and Subway Trains

I am waiting to have some blood drawn. No worries peeps, this is all just routine. I can’t get any novel writing done when all I can think about are gargantuan sized waffles and bacon strips the size of oars. I’m fasting. Can you tell?

As I waited, I thought I would give you a NaNoWriMo update (in case you didn’t notice that cool widget at the top left that syncs my word count). So far I have written 12,083 words! I push myself to write at least 3,000 words a day – because Thanksgiving. I want to get my eat on, and my sleep on. I’m not cooking this year, but heading out to my in-laws where they will be serving all the delicious, traditional Puerto Rican food (and drink) that I love to eat (and guzzle), and sort of hack-make. I am front loading my words, so I don’t feel compelled to race at the end of the month.

The writing isn’t easy, and it isn’t hard. I think, that’s the point. It’s almost both, if that makes sense. I don’t have the luxury of habit when I write because I have a “take it where I can get it” approach. There’s no special place for tea, or a must have tea cozy before I spin around in a chair three times and am ready to write. Nope, none of that luxury.

As a full time working mama, trying to squeeze in 3,000 words a day means that the only control over my environment that I have is what I hear. Pandora to the rescue! At first, I was listening to the soundtrack to the movie Solaris. It’s truly one of my favorite movies. The concept? Love! Being confronted with your past, humans that are not humans but manifestations of beings based on your memory of them, and all the science-y stuff? Yes, please!

As I crawled into the beast of my story, that music didn’t work. What did? Byzantine Chant. Go figure. I found that if the music was loud enough, I couldn’t hear my inner editor! Isn’t that awesome? I think so, because that inner editor has the quickest, sharpest tongue and not in a “wow she’s funny” kind of way.

As I am typing, I know there are areas that I should have fleshed out more, parts that needed reworking, better words I could have used or character details that would have made the scene more WOW, but I won’t go back. I never go back. I take a peek at the last paragraph or two maybe so I can remember where I left off and I keep going. This novel is a train, an express train. Ever been on the 7 express in NYC? That train stops for no man! I mean it does, but when it does stop, it’s a quick exchange of people, and the platform blurs behind you as you look out the window and the train speeds down the track (I always liked the last car, I would look out the very back window to see the buildings). Kind of exhilarating actually because all choice is removed. Sorry 69th Street, we ain’t stoppin’! (Can someone tell me why the stop at Vernon Jackson is necessary?)

New Post: Candy Canes, Unicorns and Subway Trains a #nanowrimo update #amwriting by @fillpraycloset

At home, it’s a little different, my husband has been overwhelmingly supportive. I would just look at him and say, “Gotta write” and he would say, “OK babe, see ya!” (In my house, I’m a babe) and then I would head upstairs, to my writing corner and my must have books:

BUT, always, I wing up some prayers, for my friends, my family and my husband, of course – early in the morning before I do anything else. I make sure to listen to my Divine Office too. So, all the prayers, then tap, tap, tap on the keys until I hit the 3,000 word mark.

I also find that I need to get away from my story after I hit my mark. My brain needs erasing, shaking and renewing, you know? I watch basketball, and scream bloody murder for the Knicks (who lost last night, boo!), watch a movie, or cook my face off. Something about the stirring and mixing of things, that keeps me at arms length from my characters, just enough to keep my mind lucid for the ideas.

The characters and places come by way of art inspiration too, like these (one of them is a little off-putting so I’ll link it here, sorry about that, but my story isn’t candy canes and unicorns).

New Post: Candy Canes, Unicorns and Subway Trains a #nanowrimo update #amwriting by @fillpraycloset
Dies Slowly Who Transforms Himself In Slave Of Habit by Paulo Zerbato via Fine Art America

New Post: Candy Canes, Unicorns and Subway Trains a #nanowrimo update #amwriting by @fillpraycloset
Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1526/1530–1569) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
And now I’m off. I need to hit that 3,000 mark today. Headphones? Check! Styrofoam cup of hot water for teabags? Check! Catch ya on the other side of my words!


9 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Update: Candy Canes, Unicorns and Subway Trains

  1. Whoa. Blown away and honored.

    I’m constantly amazed by how you intuitively learn lessons that took me awhile to get. Case in point: at 3,000 words, you recognize that your brain needs a break. That was SO hard for me to get. I’d keep pushing and pushing and pushing and just write crap. It wasn’t until later that I realized the true power behind just taking a break and letting my brain work on something else. It almost always leads to better writing for me.

    Not to mention that I now have to go check out Byzantine Chants on pandora. I lately got a suggesting from a guy on G+ for the sky rim soundtrack while I’m writing. Amazing. You should try it. It makes writing emotional scenes even more epic.

    Speaking of music and writing: I listened to Katy Perry’s Dark Horse over and over while editing and writing the final scene for Antebellum Awakening. The line, “So you want to play with magic? . . . DO you dare to do this? Cuz I’m coming atcha like a dark horse.” always made me think of Bianca and her badassery.

    🙂 Sorry. Longest response EVER.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now, that YouTube link I sent you? I was driving yesterday and didn’t realize I was humming it the whole way home. Talk about living and writing in a loop!! (and I love


  2. Wow. That is a LOT of words, lady! Good for you!

    A few people I know write with music in the background but I usually don’t. I have never heard of using it to drown out your inner critic. That is awesome!

    A huge problem for me is that I always go back and reread and edit. Maybe, after all this time, I actually will do a NaNoWriMo just to break me of that awful habit.


    1. I tried writing without music yesterday and it was an epic fail! It took me a lot longer to “find the hook” (you know, because I’m a fish and need to be dragged along the story). I need to drown my monkey brain out!


    1. Thank you, Chris! I feel like I have been off the grid for a while, you know? But I keep up as best I can on Facebook. Loved your “work outfit” pic the other day (I won’t tell anyone you had on a bath robe on and your feet propped on the desk fluffy slipper style!).


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