Writing Stuff

A Race To Finish Before November

Race car drivers are sexy.

And if you don’t agree, then your X chromosome is asleep. πŸ˜€

They’re so sexy, in fact, that I’m going to base my NaNoWriMo project on them – well, one of them at least. Well, it won’t actually BE one of them, but based on one …. oh heck, you know what I mean.

In case you’re just tuning into the Internet and you’re wondering what in the world NaNoWriMo is – it stands for National Novel Writing Month and it happens every November. In essence, writers are asked to participate in a writing challenge by writing 50,000 words in 30 days.

And believe it or not, it’s doable. In fact, it’s VERY doable IF you commit to the challenge and write at least 1,667 words every day in November.

And don’t tell me you’re too busy – bah humbug. EVERYONE uses that excuse and if you WANT to do something, then you’ll find the time to do it, period. Get up an hour earlier or stay up an hour later. Write on your lunch hour. Write while little Joey plays t-ball. Tape your favorite TV shows then watch them later. (Think how much time THAT will save you alone!) Or take your laptop and write in your car while waiting for your youngest son to finish his saxophone lesson. (Yeah, that would be me).

I’ve participated in the challenge since 2005 – so this makes my fourth year to do the challenge.

The first year I did this, my novel was pure and utter garbage. But that didn’t bother me because what I took away from the experience was INVALUABLE. It taught me to just release my inner critic – ignore it really – and JUST WRITE. It gave me permission, if you will, to simply write and not worry about whether it made sense, or if I was using proper semantics, etc. I finished the challenge feeling freer than I EVER have as a writer.

I have no idea what I wrote the second year. In fact, I can’t seem to locate the binder (I print off the pages and put them in a binder because it’s SO SATISFYING to see the pages build up). But I’m not overly worried because it must not have been that big of a deal to me if I can’t even find it now.

Last year … I really liked my story idea. In fact, I still think it’s worthy of digging out and pursuing. And that’s saying a lot for me because I’m usually the first to discard anything I write as nonsense but this particular story … I think it has potential. So, I’m definitely keeping that one and may pull it out after this NaNoWriMo and work on it. I haven’t looked at it since last year and I think enough time has gone by now that I’ll be able to read it with an impartial eye.

This year … I had toyed around with the idea of writing a series of short stories, which I’d still like to try some NaNoWriMo, but not this year, I think. I’ve decided to write a fast-paced story around NASCAR racing.

And it’s going to be a romance story. Because I’m DONE trying to deny the fact that I enjoy romance stories – both reading them and writing them. And I’m GOOD at it. I’ve been trying to convince myself that I’m more of a “literary” writer when in fact, I think my writing is strongest when I write romance. So … why fight it. That’s what I’m going with this year.

Why NASCAR? Well, it’s my husband’s fault really. He’s converted me.

Though I wouldn’t say I’m a big-time race fan, I do enjoy watching races. Especially with my husband because he tapes the races and then fast forwards through them until someone wrecks because let’s face it, wrecks are exciting. I feel a wee bit guilty for watching racing simply for the wrecks, but, there you have it.

In the process of watching races, I’ve been paying attention to the kinds of characters these race car drivers are. They are arrogant, self-assured, and cocky, but they are also supremely vulnerable, passionate and completely flawed.

I think those qualities make up a sexy man. Hence the reason I plan on modeling my next hero after a race car driver.

The problem with writing a racing story is that I don’t really know a lot about racing, not really. I mean, I know the basics, but I know nothing about the inside “track”, so to speak. So, I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday after I dropped the boys off at school (and after I took a shower and picked up a coffee from Starbucks – hey, the kids are IN SCHOOL. Isn’t that reason enough to celebrate? *grin*).

I have to tell ya, I felt a TAD guilty indulging in one of my guilty pleasures (book shopping) while the boys were trapped inside new classrooms and having fresh syllabi shoved down their throats.

But then I got over it so … *evil grin*

At first, I picked up “NASCAR for Dummies” because let’s face it – I am a NASCAR dummy. But then “The Girl’s Guide to NASCAR” caught my eye. And when I read that Liz Allison, the author of this book, “has been a veteran of the speedway as a fan, girlfriend, wife, mother and reporter,” I knew this was the perspective I wanted to capture in my story. (And after doing a little research on Ms. Allison, it looks like she’s actually written quite a few NASCAR romance stories herself – JACKPOT!)

I can’t exactly TELL you the plot of the story, I mean, what if I go on to sell this book and make loads of money? Talk about a spoiler. *grin* But I will say that I’m excited about learning more about the sport and about writing this particular story and when you’re a writer? Being excited about a project is always a good thing.

So, I have some research to do. My goal is to have a tentative outline and character sketches drawn up before November 1st so I’ll have a general idea where I want to take this story. And I’m QUITE looking forward to the research part of it so I can impress my husband with all my new-found NASCAR knowledge. hehe

Is anyone else out there thinking about participating in NaNoWriMo this year? If so, do you have any idea what you might like to write? You’ll be hearing about NaNo A LOT on my blog in the coming months, so brace yourself. πŸ™‚

By the way, here’s an amusing time killer: Have an issue? Let a race car driver help you.

Oh, one more thing – here are four race car drivers that I’m thinking about basing my hero on – can you guess which one of the four I have a huge crush on?

Favorite Racecar Drivers


It’s fun!


The First Day of School – Years Later

My husband spent the entire weekend going through old home videos. In the process, he uploaded this one so that I could share it with you.

This video was shot in our screened-in back porch. We (well, the husband) has since enclosed it and it is now his office/music studio. I had no idea he even TOOK this video until this past weekend when he played it. (Talk about a nice surprise!!) I was working nights at Wal-Mart back then and missed a lot of the sweet, evening stuff that went on between father and sons. 😦 However, I’m SO THANKFUL that the husband had the foresight to “interview” the boys like this. What a precious moment in time!

And thank God for video cameras, eh?

Side note: I have NO IDEA why there were wild squirrels trapped in our porch. I guess they had somehow gotten in through a hole in the screen and made a home behind our lawn chairs. I’m surprised the boys could even form coherent sentences given that distraction, but there you go. Neither the husband, nor the boys, remember this moment in time which is really weird because how can you forget about wild squirrels chirping to be let out? It’s not like that happens every day.

But I digress …

Every time I hear the boys’ sweet voices on this video, my heart melts and I feel such an overwhelming feeling of tenderness toward them, I almost feel nauseous.

I’m thinking that’s a good thing? πŸ™‚

My God, they were both so honest and full of boyish charm, weren’t they? I mean, they are full of charm now, but it’s a different sort of MANLY charm now – back then, they were simply scrumptious with their wide-eyed innocence and high-pitched little boy voices.

And I MISS their overall enthusiasm and optimism for school. They enjoyed it back then. They came home excited to tell me stories, or what so-and-so did that was so funny or how such-and-such chased them at recess or the new tricks they learned on the monkey bars. They were eager to learn and were so proud of their efforts.

And what is up with the cute adjectives my boys used in the video to describe their first days of school? Words like “perfect” and “super.” AARGH! Are they TRYING to kill me with their cuteness!! And when MK tells daddy about what he did that day, “We talk about the ruuuules. And we played outside … and we watched TV and uh … it was lunch time. And then it was lunch time again …”

HAHAHA! Sounds like MY day! πŸ˜‰

Okay, not really. (I wish though).

Now? I’m lucky if I get more than a grunt of acknowledgement when I ask how their day went. And I consider myself fortunate if I happen to learn about anything school related. (Perhaps that’s why I so eagerly got involved with designing and maintaining school websites – to keep in the loop? To be a part of my boys’ lives whether I was invited or not? Hhmm… I smell an ulterior motive here.)

And forget about smiles. They ain’t happening. It’s “cooler” to frown nowadays. (I should know. Heh).

*sigh* Yes, I miss those sweet, innocent years. But instead of getting depressed about it, I’m now choosing to appreciate them in different ways. The fact that they can feed/bathe/entertain themselves. Their senses of humor and impeccable timing when they make off-the-wall comments that cause me to snort water up my nose. Their struggle for independence. Their surprising intellect and the fact that they “get” so much more than I give them credit for. The fact that they are really good, honest, fun kids and that the husband and I? We made some pretty awesome people, if I say so myself.

I used to cry on the first day of school. No scratch that, I used to BAWL my eyes out the first day of school. Would they be all right without me? Would they make friends? Would other kids be mean to them? Would they be able to keep up with their studies? Would they stay safe on the playground? Would they just stop growing up so fast!?

And then the rest of the day, I’d walk around like a zombie. Not sure what to do with myself because so much of myself was wrapped up in those two little boys. Around noon, I would jostle myself out of my numbness and proceed to finally take a shower and get my day started. And I would then purposefully stay busy so I wouldn’t think about them too much.

Things haven’t changed much over time. Though I didn’t cry this year (which is the first time, actually and I think that’s mainly due to the fact that both kids are going to the same schools as last year so there wasn’t really any “surprises” to deal with), I’m still in my PJ’s and sort of “in a zone.” I’ve had these boys close to my heart strings for the past three months and now … nothing. Silence.

Dead, dead silence.

*sigh* I need to pull myself together and get this day started. I think I’ll treat myself to a few Krispy Kreme cinnamon buns and some Starbucks coffee and “The Girl’s Guide to NASCAR.” (Heh! Curious? Check back later and I’ll tell you why I wanted to buy this book).

Hey, it’s HARD WORK letting your children grow up.

And just think, in three short years, GD will graduate from high school and then I’ll REALLY have something to cry about!!

EDIT: I just finished signing about ten million syllabi and it sounds like the boys are going to be QUITE busy this year. However, I was PLEASANTLY surprised to find them in good spirits when I picked them up after their first day of school and I think (hope/pray) this is a good year for them. GD has his best buddy in a few classes and seems a lot more comfortable with school this year. He acts like he’s looking forward to learning about PhotoShop and studying Japanese.

MK is mentally preparing himself to play in band, jazz band and has already said he’s trying out for pep band (which requires 80% attendance at the school games!!) AND honors band. This is IN ADDITION to his other, regular classes.

Whew. I have a feeling I’m going to be putting quite a few miles on my car this year.

Here’s to a successful, and FUN, school year! *cheers!*