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. 😀

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. 🙂

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!


This is Not a Good Place to Live

Guess what?

If you live in one of these ten places:

  • Springfield, Missouri
  • Dayton, Ohio
  • Corpus Christi, Texas
  • Flint, Michigan
  • Columbia, South Carolina
  • Waco, Texas
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Beaumont, Texas
  • Clarksville, Tennessee

Then you suck.

I heard this on the morning radio show I listen to and nearly came unglued.

For those that don’t know, I live in Springfield, Missouri. The first one listed.

The list? The 10 Worst Places to Raise a Family (from best to worst). Springfield is #10.

I suppose that’s SOME consolation. *growl*

Seriously, WTH? Just look at our beautiful city!

Our City

Look at those happy people! Look at that gorgeous tree in the foreground and that historic building in the background. And that fountain. Everyone likes a pretty fountain! It’s nice, I tell ya!

The article, in Best Life Magazine, actually talks about the top 100 best places to raise a family. Number one being:

Honolulu, Hawaii. The reason? “Schools spend almost $9,000 per pupil, unemployment ranks less than half the national average, and you can play on the island of O’ahu’s 125 beaches.” Okay, I’ll buy the beaches and the fact that it’s paradise on earth, but $9,000 per pupil?? Doesn’t the cost of living dictate parents spend that much per pupil?

And being from Missouri, I was STUNNED to see St. Louis and Kansas City make the list, and yet, Springfield, the city that has a lot less crime, pollution and better living conditions made the WORST list?

I just can’t buy it. But I’m afraid I’m going to have to because the article is woefully skimpy on details. The criteria for making the best place to raise a family?

… good schools with favorable student-teacher ratios, above-average test scores, and respectable budgets. Plenty of museums, parks, and pediatricians also contribute to a good quality of life, whereas multihour commutes, expensive houses, and divorcing friends and neighbors do not. Best Life editors used these categories and data from the U.S. Census Bureau, National Center for Education Statistics, FBI, American Association of Museums, National Center for Health Statistics, and American Bar Association to evaluate 257 cities.

Granted, our student-teacher ratios ARE high – I think the average is 30 students per teacher and we certainly don’t have very many museums and I have no idea what the divorce ratio is down here, but I strongly disagree with education test scores (our schools CONSISTENTLY make the top ten list in the state every year), we have parks coming out of our nostrils, we have a WHOLE MILE devoted to healthcare, our housing is ridiculously inexpensive and we live in the Ozarks – known for it’s beautiful countryside and clean lakes! I think our pros far outweigh the cons they have listed here.

But I can’t dispute details because the article doesn’t give details. I would love to know some statistics for our city because I just can’t buy the fact that we’re in the top ten WORST places to live.

No way. There’s simply some mistake. Show me some proof and I’ll be happy to eat my words, but in the meantime Best Life magazine? Your research is seriously flawed.

What about you? Do you think you’re living in a good place to raise a family?