>The Calm Before the Storm

>These last two days of October are the calm before the storm that will hit with gale force winds in November.

That November storm is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, for long), in which the ever optomistic would-be novelist attempts to write 50k words in a novel–from scratch–during one month. Yes, my virtual friends, that’s 50,000 words. And just in case you forgot, November has only 30 days.

It also has Thanksgiving Day and the Friday after it, four Sundays, and four Saturdays; all of which I have not scheduled as writing days. I don’t write on Sundays, the Thanksgiving weekend will be busy with multiple family gatherings and mega cooking enterprises. And Saturdays are not scheduled as writing days because I will need a day at the end of the week to try to catch up on neglected work and word-count goals.

If my math is correct (and I trust it in this case since I am relying on an Excel spreadsheet to do my addition), I must write 2,500 words on each working day. That’s a lot of words. And that’s in addition to my regular work and family commitments.

I am working on six (some very difficult and involved) articles for Christian Renewal and have several more under consideration. I’m working on two for the next issue of the Messenger, which is the newsletter for Mid-America Reformed Seminary. I need to figure out illustrations for Not My Own: Discovering God’s Comfort in the Heidelberg Catechism, which is the Grade 5 volume I wrote for the “Life in Christ” catechism curriculum project. I am developing a PowerPoint presentation with secondary students as the intended audience called “Living on Your Own, Without Living on Your Own.” I also need to put together a comprehensive devotional proposal before January for a major Christian publishing company. There are other projects on the sticky notes strung above my computer, but just typing this list has made me realize that I may need to reconsider some of them.

Then there are my family commitments, which usually include having one or two adult children at our home for Sunday lunch and caring for a grandson two or more days per week.

In my October 8 post, I wrote about the annual madness that is NaNoWriMo. . I also invited readers to be my NaNoWriMo buddies and set a target of 10. I’m happy to announce that I now have 13 writing buddies. We will spur each other on toward prolific word counts through encouragement and, possibly, threats.

My novel this year is tentatively titled Living Echoes. It will be a first person account in the literary fiction genre. The protagonist is a middle-aged pastor’s wife who’s experiencing a crisis in her marriage and faith. The novel will begin with an accident. My plan is for background information to be provided in flashback chapters interspersed with chapters in which she gradually becomes more aware of her surroundings in the hospital. I initially envisioned it as a sort of Charles Martin construction, but I’m not at all sure how this will all fall into place.

Since this woman is a pastor’s wife who has moved around a lot in her married life, the issue of “home” may be a major theme (I think). I don’t know her name quite yet, but I know her voice. I think her husband’s name is Jeff. I like them both very much; however, they are Calvinists, which according to Marilynne Robinson means: “We’re all beautiful, and we’re all flawed.”

I’m not sure what will happen to them, but I will find out in November. And I’m not sure what will happen to Ascribelog, but I hope to post regular updates on the novel’s progress. I’d like to continue posting meditations and Christian Renewal articles, but time will definitely be at a premium in November.

Although I’ve met my goal of writing over 50,000 words in a new novel for each of the last four years, my anticipation regarding the upcoming rush of creative effort and energy is accompanied by a barely submerged sense of panic ready to pop to the surface. It’s as if I’m viewing the Doppler and the quickly approaching storm appears riddled with red cells.


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