Clean as You Bake (or What I Learned from NaNoWriMo)

I learned something important about myself today while baking cookies for a pot luck. I love baking, but I haven’t done a lot of it lately since I’ve been a bit under the weather.

As I was happily dropping ingredients into the mixer, I took the no longer needed measuring cup to the sink, gave it a quick rinse and dropped it into the dishwasher.

Back at the mixer, I put each ingredient away as soon as it was used.

By the time I was done, my kitchen looked the same as when I’d started, except now there was a plate of cookies all wrapped and ready to go, sitting on the counter.

If I didn’t wrap them, I’d eat them.

And if I didn’t clean while I was cooking, my kitchen would be a wreck.

Now most people would think, “So what’s wrong with that? You just clean it when you are done.”

But I know me. It would be days before I cleaned that kitchen.

My family would probably wind up cleaning it for me.

No, I’m not a slob, either.

But if I see a big mess, I lose heart and wander back to bed.

I have fibromyalgia and chronic low energy. Translation: when I do stuff, I hurt.

My energy has to be focused and used wisely. Once I’ve accomplished the task, I’m going to flop on the sofa with my computer.

See? That’s where I am now.

Well, actually, I’m on the floor next to the sofa…but I’ll get back up there eventually. I can see the computer better from down here. Don’t ask.

So, what does any of this blather have to do with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, also known as November)?

I’ve completed 3 novels through NaNo. I love NaNo.

But wait, you say, you haven’t published any of them!

Yep. Because they’re a mess.

And it turns out that I’m not good at cleaning up that big of a mess, either. I pick up the book, flip through it, and then remember why I had to put it down last time. The POV is a mess. Usually, when I write, I clean up that sort of thing as I go.

But not with NaNo.

Somehow, I need to create a new work pattern that involves writing fast, but also cleaning the big messes as I go.

My goal for 2017 is to finish cleaning at least the first of those novels.

It’s already passed the “read this and tell me not to torture the world with it” stage. My brutally honest guinea pig said it is a keeper.

Once I sort out the POV and a couple of gaping plot holes.

So…how am I going to write so that I end up with a publishable story all wrapped and ready to go, sitting on my computer, rather than the cyclone remnants currently inhabiting my hard drive?

Maybe I’ll have that figured out by the time I’m done editing the third Spaceport novel.

Happy New Year!

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