33. Ways to deal with life interrupting NaNoWriMo

THE new novel went on hold today. Four days into the project and I officially hit a brick wall. It was all down to a bed.

When I say that I don’t mean I just couldn’t face getting up, going downstairs and sitting in front of a laptop until the words came.

I mean that my wife saw a bargain bed for our 5-year-old to replace the cotbed she has had since birth.

Admittedly the bed has been “upgraded” a couple of times. It’s not like she still peers at us through the bars.

But when your little ones feet are hovering perilously close to the end of the bed yet she is one of the smallest in her class, you know it’s time for drastic measures. Or, rather, my wife does.

So late last night we took delivery of the bed, and first thing this morning my little one noticed it and got all excited.

I was quite prepared to leave the assembly, plus rearranging of bedroom furniture and 15 boxes of seldom used toys, to my wife as a nice chore for the weekend. The rugrat was having none of it though.

So today, when I should have been firmly engrossed in my Nanowrimo story adding to the 5,000 words I had painfully eked out so far, instead I was performing back-breaking tasks of manual labour.

I’ll be honest. It’s not my forte. Infact, I hate it. Still, what I hate even more is seeing the look of abject disappointment on a 5-year-olds face when you tell them “Sorry, honey, daddy was just too busy to put your new bed together today”.

Anyway, the point of this long-winded tale of parental guilt is that the new bestseller took a back seat and I added exactly zero words to it today. I could, I suppose, be working on my masterpiece now but it seemed far easier to tell you the story.

I do, however, have a recipe for writers block and will aim to catch up tomorrow. I’ve already a plan in place for much of the book which I can follow, but as I am expecting to stumble tomorrow my first task will be to throw together some dialogue.

I have a few characters involved in the next scene – chapter 4 in a writing project I would loosely term “science fiction” which I’ve called State of Reality – and the way I shall endeavour to make progress is to construct a long conversation between them.

Like people in everyday life they will shoot the breeze, discuss the weather and – like certain people I know – enjoy the sound of their own voices. No doubt, while this frank exchange of views takes place some germ of a good idea will come about on how to progress the plot.

Even if it turns out to be poor material it won’t matter too much. Nano is about the first draft and you can include all sorts of crazy things, many of which will hit the cutting room floor when you start the editing process.

So don’t fear. If you are in the same position and life has already interrupted your best laid plans, adopt this catch up formula. Pick a couple of characters and imagine they are meeting up to discuss life, the universe and everything. You never know, they may just give you some very good ideas.

If not, well at least you’ve gone some way to understanding your own characters.

Happy writing and if anyone wants to touch base on NaNoWriMo feel free to look me up and become my “buddy” (a term that makes me want to put my fingers down my throat – I imagine the Americans are to blame!).

Best of luck.