You know you’re doing Nano when …

1. … you’re at school listening to your child’s classmates read and you can hardly concentrate because one of the characters in the book is called “Great Aunt Desdemona” and all you can think is hey, that’d be great for Nano – that’s three whole words every time you mention the character’s name.

2. … you hardly hear the kids’ chatter on the way home from school because you left your heroine literally hanging off a cliff with a venom-spitting dragon just above her head and you need to get home and save her.

3. … your husband wanders past about 5:30, sees you still pounding away on the keyboard and says “So, I guess it’s takeaway again tonight?”

This last was a base and unjust accusation, I might add. In fact I made him his favourite dinner tonight, just to prove I can do Domestic Goddess and Creative Genius simultaneously.

Not that I’m getting cocky. As usual, I no sooner started crowing about how well the words were flowing the other day than it all came unstuck. I struggled through a couple of horrible days where getting the words to come at all was like pulling teeth. Yesterday I decided to have a life. Nice day, but unproductive wordcount-wise.

It was about this time last year that things got ugly. The first enthusiasm peters out and you’re left staring down the barrel of this huge dog’s breakfast, full of half-baked ideas and mind-numbing dialogue (and hideous mixed metaphors like that one). I wrote very little a couple of days, and even missed altogether on another couple, and before I knew it 50,000 words was receding into the distance faster than you could say “holy diabolical plot twist, Batman”.

So this year I’ve resolved not to miss any days, even if I only write a little. Now I’m closing in on 20,000, which is a good feeling. Finished on 19,390 today – before dinner even! So I get to watch a DVD and relax tonight, for the first time since October. And no, it won’t be Harry and the Honey. I’ll be laughing my head off at Pierce Brosnan all over again in the wonderful Mamma Mia.

One of my Nano buddies, the fleet-fingered Jaye Patrick, has already passed 50,000. Last Friday, in fact, which is a truly astonishing effort. It’s so far beyond my abilities I can’t even be jealous. I’m just awed. She’s now streaking off into the distance, and will probably arrive at the finish line with around 200,000 words under her belt.

I definitely need to find some one-fingered typists to buddy up with next year.

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