NaNoWriMo “fail,” Toronto inspiration, and other news

Hello dearest readers,

Hey, remember that time that it was November, and I committed to NaNoWriMo without a plot?

… apparently that doesn’t work for me. I didn’t “win” this, my second year of attempting, but I did learn that I shouldn’t try for NaNoWriMo on a whim.

This last month was not as productive as one would hope, writing wise. I wrote maybe 20,000 words on my NaNo project, but stalled due to 1) an awesome vacation to Florida and 2) the busiest work month I’ve ever had. I’m not using these things as excuses (especially not the vacation, on which I certainly could have written more), but working half again as many hours as I typically do certainly demanded that some part of my schedule be sacrificed. For my brain’s sake, I let it be the writing.

Why was I so busy at work? I was put on a national project  that was all kinds of neato. It centered on innovation,  and I was working with the kickassiest team imaginable. At the end of November I was even sent to Toronto to help out on the day of (and days leading up to) the big event. It was tremendous. Toronto and I have a much better relationship than before: I got to see one of my best girls in the world (and eat much Korean BBQ with her); I fell in love with the people with whom I got to work; I even enjoyed the Toronto vibe — after I had thoroughly mocked the lack of cold weather hardiness in the very non-Prairies people. Picture me, scampering down the street, jacket open, smiling up at the medium grey sky, breathing in the cool breezes. Now picture others, Canada Goose jackets zipped to the neck, scowls and shivers as adornment, squinting eyes braced against the buffeting winds. They thought I was peculiar, but I hope there was a charm to it.

I really enjoy going somewhere new. Though I’d been to Toronto before, it was never as an adult and never on my own. It’s a small kind of exploration, but I enjoyed finding my way down the city streets, trying to make up shortcuts through the downtown buildings (with limited success — my sense of direction is comically bad), absorbing the emotional atmosphere of the place.

I feel like I could write it now – the feel of downtown Toronto – much better than I would have with my teenaged, chaperoned memory of the place. But I will not. Instead, I want to write characters. ‘Cause boy did I meet some.

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