So there she was, completely ready 15 minutes before the time Bill should be there to pick her up – except for the shoes, because she definitly didn’t need Mrs. Watson, from the apartment below, to bother her that night over high heels stomping over her head.
She couldn’t avoid looking at the clock every 20 seconds, when she mentally covered her checklist over again:
Cute dress: check.
Shoes ready to go: check.
Purse with lipstick (check), wallet (check), cell phone (check), keys (check).
When she was checking the list again for the hundreth fourtieth seventh time, she heard the buzz and ran to answer it.
“Jane, hi! Are you ready?”
His voice sounded like chocolate after a long diet.
“Sure, would you like to come up first?”
“I’d love to, but… Maybe on our way back?”
She didn’t know if there was hope or certainty in his sentence, so she decided to go along.
“Ok, then. I’ll be there in a minute!”
Then she ran to the full body mirror in the closet again, decided that the big bracelet was a no-go, got another one, more delicate, in silver, which matched her necklace, touched the earrings for no reason, and ran to the door. That was when she realized she left the purse in the closet, ran back there, got the purse, looked herself again in the mirror, touched the earrings again, then went straight to the door, got the shoes and put them when was waiting for the elevator.
“Oh God, please make this a good night!”, she thought while the doors closed and the elevator took her to the ground floor.
Yesterday I couldn’t add one single word to my novel. So now we know why the 20th November is so special in NaNoWriMo: everyone needs to go after those lost thousands of words!
So work was crazy and I went to a Pearl Jam concert – which was AWESOME, by the way. That’s the simple answer to why I’m already around 3000 words behind!
I just hope I can write this weekend. A lot!
At least I’m not missing NaBloPoMo!
The next day found Jane in a tremendous mood. Even her workmates noticed, as she was extra nice with them, no matter how many times she said “good morning” – very excitedly, by the way – and got no replies other than an occasional RESMUNGO.
The morning passed by as minutes, leading to a wonderful lunch with a phone call from Maggie.
“Hi, Maggie! How are you today, my dear?”
Jane was surprised by her high voice and excitement in greeting her friend.
Maggie was thrilled.
“Oooh, I hear you have got yourself a date tonight, haven’t you??”
She was just as excited as Jane was.
“Yes, I do, thanks to a great friend of mine!”
“You know, I didn’t even have a chance to tell you, but Bill is absolutely dazzled by you, Jane! He wouldn’t let me work yesterday until I promised him I’d find a way for him to see you at night!”
Jane’s voice was getting higher and higher.
“Ohmygosh, really?” That ‘really’ was heard from a certain distance by everyone around, which made a group of men start making jokes about it. Typical of both sides, of course.
“Yes, yes, yes! I’m so happy you liked him, he’s adorable! A great guy, really. You have to tell me absolutely everything that happens tonight, you hear me?”
“You don’t have to ask me twice, Maggie. I’ll probably be dying to tell you the minute it’s over, I’m sure!”
Jane went home and decided she could definitely go to the gym. She couldn’t put her whole life on hold just because she decided to write!
So there she went, ready for some workout, and sure that the great start would help her reach the 50.000 words goal.
Getting to the gym, she rushed to a streching class – her favorite – where some friends waited for her. They actually started the class a couple of minutes later because they heard her coming. Small gyms are like that, if you’re lucky to find nice people in them.
So half an hour later she started her weight-lifting training, as usual. That would take more than thirty minutes, for sure! So she tried to do the exercises a little faster than usual, thinking she could head home and keep writing. Forty-five minutes later, while talking to a couple of friends, she decided to invite them to have a pizza after gym. She was already feeling a little hungry, and having a (light) pizza after gym with her friends was a good treat.
But she made the invitation thinking about her novel.
So the little group of young women headed to the nearest pizza place, where they ate, and drank, and talked, and laughed together… till almost midnight! A couple of men, friends of one of the girls, joined them when they spotted her on their way to the restaurant.
Linda was Jane’s friend from a previous workplace. She moved to Jane’s neighborhood a few months before, and decided to join the gym and keep Jane company during the exercises – or the other way around.
Maggie and Jane met at the gym. Maggie was a little older, and was very fit and pretty. She was in that gym for 10 years now, and has always been very dedicated.
Maggie worked with Bill and George in a company close to the gym, and that day they left work a little later – that’s why they were around.
Bill was a tall guy, very handsome and funny, as Jane found out when he joined their table. George was a little shorter, really smart and sometimes funny, too. They loved making fun of each other and enjoyed a lot when the girls laughed of their jokes.
Jane didn’t have a boyfriend. Actually, she’d been alone for some time now, and learned to enjoy the time she had for her own. She loved reading, and running on the streets nearby, and those were lonely hobbies. But sometimes she knew that she missed having a boyfriend who she could talk to, and have fun together, and share little secrets and opinions. She just got used to be alone – always better than in bad company, she said to herself when she felt a little sad about it.
And then she started noticing Bill looking at her in a different way. He was very subtle, which pleased Jane a lot, but she knew he was looking at her most of the time. At first, she felt a little shy about it, but then she caught herself laughing a lot with his jokes, and started noticing him, too.
“His eyes are so beautiful!”, she thought. Almost said it out loud, but hold it on time. And she enjoyed the night more than expected, and she knew it was solely because of Bill.
Before they all said goodbye that night, Bill said he thought Jane’s name was really nice – it reminded him of Jane Austen.
“That’s why I have this name!”, she said. “My mom loves her novels and named me after her.”
Bill replied with a smile that Jane would define as “melting”:
“What a coincidence! I’m named after a writer, too – my dad is crazy about Shakespeare! That’s why he always calls me William, no matter how many people prefer to use the nickname.”
For some reason, Jane thought that was the most wonderful story behind a name she had ever heard.
Then the group splitted, and Jane went home. When she got there, tired but happy for no reason, she thought about her novel again.
“It’s only the first day”, Jane said to herself. “I’ll get to my word-goal soon enough.”
And then she went to bed.
The next day was like any other day, only that Jane tried to write in every chance she had. Problem was, she didn’t have many chances at all! Who’d know it was so hard to write, after all?
She had many meetings that day, and she forced herself to pay attention to what was said – after all, she was not paid to be a writer (“yet”, she liked to repeat in her mind) and work had to be done. So reports were filled out, e-mails were sent, workmates were a pain – just a regular day at work.
And not a word was added to that novel of hers.
On her way home, she started to think what she’d do about it: Jane really wanted to go after those thousand words she missed the night before, and she still had another 1700 ahead. It started to look like a lot of work, and those almost three thousand words had a few oponents – Jane’s daily life!
That night, specifically, Jane had to go to the supermarket, since there was nothing to eat at home. And after that, she’d have to cook something for dinner, and because of the night-out she left the house a little messy – and that really bothered her, so she just had to tidy things up. At that point, thinking what she could do to speed up all the chores and get to the computer to write, the cell phone rang and she activated the speaker while driving her car.
“Hey, Maggie! What’s up?”
“Hey Jane! Are you coming to the gym tonight?”
“Aah… not sure, actually. I have tons to do at home tonight…”
“Would you like to grab a snack with me? You can run a little and then we eat something!”
They used to do that a lot, so no surprise for Jane. She quickly thought that it would be faster if she did that than go to the market and cook, plus she wouldn’t miss exercising that day and she could just go home, tidy things up and type until she got too tired for keep writing. Doing this math in a fraction of second, she replied:
“Sure! I’m almost home, meet you in 15 minutes.”
“Great! See you, girl!”
And fifteen minutes later, there she was, heading to the treadmill. Jane was feeling good about herself, and her plan, certain that she’d reach the word-goal for the night. “And I’m not losing shape on the way, running before writing!”
It sounded like a good plan.
Half an hour later, Maggie and Jane headed to a coffee house nearby, where they used to have some snacks. When they got there, the owner said hi, as usual, and Jane thought it was a little strange that Maggie was stretching her neck, as if she were looking for a table for them, while their usual table was right there, free.
Before she could ask her what she was doing, Maggie stretched her arm, smiling, and said hi. And when Jane turned her eyes into the same direction, she saw Bill and George. The only thing that Jane had time to think was “What…?”, but Maggie turned to her and said:
“I asked them to join us, is that ok? I had a feeling that you and Bill needed to talk some more…”, and then she winked at Jane.
She didn’t know what to do, and it took a moment before her legs started moving.
She couldn’t help noticing that Bill was very happy to see her, though.
“Hi boys”, she said.
“Hi, Jane!” was the answer from both.
Jane didn’t know what to think, or feel, or say, but the last one was easier, so she hoped no one would notice what was going on her mind. Maggie was always trying to get her a new boyfriend, since they were friends during her last relationship, and Maggie was crushed when it was over – sometimes Jane thought that Maggie suffered even more than herself. But her friend really loved her, and felt so bad for seeing Jane having to get back on her feet while being forced to face the guy everyday (they worked together at the time), that every time Maggie could think of a nice guy to introduce Jane to, she did.
What bothered Jane is that Maggie matched her with nice guys without even asking her if she liked them in the first place.
But that time…
That time Jane really liked Bill. And she could only hope that Maggie had been the only one who noticed her interest the night before.
Things went pretty well, after all, and it was another pleasant night with friends, and snacks, and laughs. What was not to like about that? Bill’s eyes were still beautiful, and she loved his sense of humour, and got herself thinking more than once how it would be like if they went out alone, just the two of them.
She couldn’t help felling it would be awesome. That Maggie really nailed that time!
It was past eleven o’clock when everyone went home. Jane was walking down the street when she heard Bill calling her:
She turned around, smiling.
“I was wondering… I know tomorrow is Thursday, and you probably have other plans, but… would you like to go to a book signing with me?”
“A book signing?”
“Yeah, my sister is a photographer and she will be signing it tomorrow. Would you like to come?”
“Well… where will it be?” She said and thought “what the hell, why didn’t I say yes??”
“At Central Bookstore, I can pick you up, if you like, and we can eat something afterwards.”
“Ok, sure, why not? Sounds like a plan!”
“Great!” He was really happy, wasn’t he? “May I ask Maggie for your address?”
“Sure, go ahead!”
“Ok, I’ll pick you up at 8, all right?”
“Sure, ok!” she said, thinking “ohmygosh, is that ‘sure’ the only word I can say??”
“Ok, see you tomorrow!”
“Ok…” she said in a low voice, while he went away and she was left there. Smiling.
That night, she wrote until her hands stopped moving over the keyboard, and she got 2642 words.
Her name is Jane. She is a woman in her late 20’s, with a reasonably good job, living alone in her own apartment in a big city.
Jane loves writing.
One day, she heard – or read online, actually – about something called NaNoWriMo. The name itself was very curious, so she followed the bread crumbs.
Turns out that NaNoWriMo is a game – one that you play against yourself. The goal is to write a novel during the month of November, one that you must start and end (hopefully) during the 30 days of the month.
“Now that’s an interesting challenge”, she thought.
She still had two days before November and the game started. She wondered if she’d have the time to do it.
“I think I could skip the gym for a month if I only ran for 30 minutes everyday… And I could grab a snack afterwards, so I can get home and just start writing.”
But she still wasn’t sure about it.
Only one day or one year to start challenging herself – “after all”, she caught herself wondering from time to time, “if I don’t join this year, there’s always the next one!”
Talk about procrastination…
Sometimes she thought it was totally doable, sometimes she was 100% sure she would never meet the target.
Sometimes, when she was at work and got up to get some water, she thought that would be a good time to use writing the novel. Every coffee break could be used to write, she could do it on her phone! And all that unused time waiting for elevators, or in traffic, or on lines for whatever she had to wait in line…
“We do waste lots of our time in this planet, don’t we?”
But she dismissed that thought with a wave of hand. There would be no use wasting even more time thinking about how much we waste our time!
So after all that mind blathering, Jane was hit by the truth: if she ever wanted to write a novel, that would be the best incentive of all!
“Let’s do this!”, she said to herself – outloud, by the way, which startled the old lady sharing the elevator with her. Jane thought she’d better wave away what the old lady might have guessed with her sentence.
After all, she had been named after Austen!
So there she was, on the first of November.
“A day as good as any other day to start the novel that will rock the world!”, she thought. And then she giggled. She wasn’t going to write to anyone else but herself, and she was sure the result would not rock anyone’s world – but her own. Jane embraced the game and decided to challenge herself. Nothing more, nothing less.
Fifty thousand words. How much is that? She still was at work when she decided to actually join NaNoWriMo, and she was at her desk. So being in front of the computer, she just moved the mouse over the right option and opened a calculator.
“Fifty thousand words in 30 days… that would be 1666,66666 forever, which means I have to write around 1700 words a day to nail this.”
She stopped for a moment in front of that number.
“Can I actually do this?”
She had never written with a goal like number of words before. Well, not for herself anyway, school assignments didn’t count. So she had no idea if that was doable.
“I wonder how long it takes for me to write 1700 words. I have never timed my writing!”
But then she started thinking that maybe she’d do best if she just started typing.
She decided to create a blog for that, since it would be easier to write from her phone by doing that. She would also be able to see the word count that the mobile app had and keep track of how much she’d write every day. So she quickly setup one, wondering for a moment if she should make it private of not.
“What the hell”, was the conclusion, so public it was.
And then she started typing.
For a while, words flew from her keyboard (since she still was writing from work). Then she had to stop from time to time because, well, she was at work! During lunch, she only had a quick meal and then went somewhere she could just sit and write on the phone. And the lunch hour was gone by with 433 words added to the blog post.
“Four hundred, thirty-three words?”
Would that be a good mark or not? She had no reference to know!
“Just keep writing”, she thought to herself. It was the only strategy she had so far.
In the afternoon, she kept going back and forth between her work tasks and writing some more. Sometimes she felt it difficult not to write, what looked like a good sign. She was secretly afraid of having a writer’s block in the middle of the story, another waved-away thought.
Before going home, she had 832 words.
I’ve just found out that the Android app for WordPress hasn’t actually published any of my posts for August. That’s really darned. I hate it when things don’t work as they should.
Anyway, I’ve decided to try something bold: not only to commit myself to blog everyday for NaBloPoMo, but also do it for NaNoWriMo!
Which means I have to blog everyday an excerpt of a novel of my own!
I have no idea if I can do it. If we were talking about, well, talking, I am more than certain that I could accomplish the task! I talk all the time, if not to others, in my own head! (not everyone around wants to hear what I have to say, right?)
But write almost 1700 words everyday in a blog post… can I do it?
I’m willing to try. Wish me luck!
My favorite book of all times is 1984. I do love many others, from Asimov to Tolkien, passing through so many different titles in the middle, but that’s my favorite.
It’s an amazing story about the human nature, in the end. How we search for power and happiness and what we are able to do to reach them. It’s a serious book, a real drama, and written in a very catchy way. It is a punch sentence every page, ideas so profound that hit you every time you read it.
Brave New World is similar to 1984 in many ways, and it has its own merits – but it’s not so enjoyable to read. The first pages are a little hard to pass, with no specific characters being introduced and us not knowing exactly what we’re getting into. But they are both highly recommended, if you somotimes want to get more from your books than just plain fun.
I keep forgetting about blogging here, and I’m sure it’s because I still haven’t specified a time to do it everyday. It’s like any other habit, if you don’t make it an appointment in your calendar, it’s hard to accomplish.
I am personally a big fan of lists, so I think I just need to add this blog to my daily to do.
I said I was going to tell you about Agatha Christie, but I’ll keep today’s post short and do it tomorrow.
I’m blogging on my cell phone, in the garden outside the building where I work and the wind is freezing my hands! (not to mention the mess it’s doing to my hair)
So I’d better go back from lunch and put some order in said hair – probably not in this order! 😀
After I lost the first day of posting on this blog, I totally lost motivation. But getting back on this horse, I’ve been thinking how odd it is that, before facing this challenge, I always had ideas for writing texts. But now I get myself wondering about themes and can’t seem to find any.
Life is full of little misteries and funny things to talk about, but putting them down on paper (whether the actual paper or the digital one) seems to be a real challenge.
I remember reading a text by Agatha Christie where she talked about her writing process. But I think I’ll save for tomorrow’s post! 😉
Would that be the secret to writing everyday? Being my own Sheherazade? What a great idea! 😀