Happy Thanksgiving! (To all the USians, that is – to everyone else, um… well… it’s Thursday. Woot.)
I have no advice for you today. Today is a day of family and friends and good food to eat, so just take the day off, relax, and worry about NaNoWriMo tomorrow.
Seriously. Don’t worry about it. It’s fine. You’re fine. Go have another slice of pie.
Okay, are the poseurs gone?
Good, we’ve got a lot to fucking talk about people, and a lot of work to do.
And we gotta be sneaky.
The thing is this: one way or the other, we need to get some writing in today, and there’s a few tricks you can pull out to make that possible, depending on how involved you are in the Thanksgiving prep and participation.
Scenario One: You volunteered to Host this year
No. There’s nothing I can do for you. You’re out of your damned mind. Good luck and godspeed, citizen.
Scenario Two: You are attending someone else’s shindig
Much better. This is workable.
Step One: Find out what single thing everyone in attendance absolutely loves, which you can purchase or make easily and quickly, and volunteer to bring that. Bring two. (Better if you can buy it, but if you can’t, make it on a day when you’ve got your minimum word count done already.)
Step Two: Be prepared to answer questions about NaNoWriMo. Your immediate loved ones (spouse, elder children) might decide to mention it or gently rib you about it at the gathering, or some of the people there might know about it and ask you how it’s going, but the fact is this: even if that doesn’t happen, you yourself will be physically unable to keep from talking about it. It will come up, so be prepared for specific questions.
- Q: Why on earth would you do something like that?
A: It’s challenging, rewarding, and I’ve learned a lot; writing is really something you have to do to get better at, and this was a good way to get motivated. (Also, make sure to mention how many words you’ve already written – that’s a damn respectable number.)
- Q: What are you going to buy me when you’re a big famous author?
A1: Oh, I’ve a year of revisions at the minimum before anything I’m writing right now would be remotely ready, and even then it will take quite awhile to get from ‘ready’ to published.
A2: I’m not worrying about publishing right now – I’m writing for the sake of writing.
A3: What was your name again? I have such a problem remembering the little people.
- Q: What makes you think you’ll finish this? You never finish anything else.
A: (This fucker doesn’t get any of the food you volunteered to bring. Make sure they know it.)
- Q: What’s it about?
A1: (It doesn’t matter what you answer. It matters that the answer is SHORT. Boil it down to the point where it will fit into no more than two Twitter-length posts, maximum. I’m dead serious.)
A2: “It’s porn.”
Step Three: Socialize
It’s Thanksgiving, dude; don’t be a troll. Talk to people. Find out how Uncle Bob and Aunt Myrn are doing in the new house. Play with the nieces and nephews, and ask them how their after-school activities are going. Bullshit about [currently active professional sports teams]. Whatever. It’s not just about you.
(Also, you can totally use all that crap they’re talking about in your story.)
Step Four: Chow down
Again, it’s Thanksgiving. Enjoy yourself. Have some good food. That said, don’t gorge, and take it easy on the turkey. Not super-easy, but you know… easy. There’s a reason.
Make sure to ask how the [Thing You Brought] is. Did it come out all right? Is it as good as last year? Note: You may or may not actually care about the answer, but it’s important that people remember you brought the yummy goodness.
Step Five: Tryptophan is your friend.
Here’s where you’re cunning plan unfolds. Post-meal, one of two things will happen: either everyone will sit down to watch some TV and doze off, or they’ll try to fight the sleepy with a walk or something.
If option one, make sure that the clean-up crew has all the help they need. If they don’t, then help. If they do, excuse yourself and find a room to write in.
If option two, volunteer to stay behind with Grandma and help with the dishes. This will work out entirely to your benefit:
- Good karma. Come on, you’re helping grams with the dishes. You’re like the best grandkid ever.
- Always ride shotgun with the best driver. Grams had cleaned up more Thanksgiving dinners than you’ve been alive. The plates will be stowed before the walkers get halfway down the block.
- Someone on your side. When things are wrapping up on the clean-up, mention that you really should get a little more writing done. Grams will send you on the way immediately – she’s totally proud of the fact that one of her grandkids is a writer – that’s a generation that appreciates the written word, and good for them. Give her a kiss on the cheek on your way out, and she’ll knife anyone who even tries to interrupt you for the next three hours.
Taken together, this should be all the mojo you need to get some writing time before ten o’clock that night — if you know the bits you need to get written, you’ll be done in no time, and can emerge from your writer’s nook looking calm and slightly smug.
Then have another piece of pie.