NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH

I can’t believe that October is already here. At the moment I’m working on planning my novel for National Novel Writing Month, which begins on November 1. If you aren’t familiar with the activity, it is a month in which writers work to compose a 50,000 or better in 30 days.

30 days? 50,000 words? That means if you want to be consistent you need to write at least 1,667 words each day. You can do all the planning you want, but you can’t write a single word of the novel before November 1.

I’m discovering some things about myself as a writer as I think about what I want to write and jot down ideas and notes.

1. It takes detailed planning to write a novel. In the past five days, I have come to realize that my protagonist can’t tell the story as it goes forward. It almost begs for it to be a reflection of how his life has shaped him.

2. For some reason, I have always shied away from writing in the first person, but this story keeps me thinking about first person.

3. Most of the pieces I’ve written have utilized a female protagonist, but this time my protagonist needs to be a male.

WELCOME, WELCOME, ONE AND ALL

Hi! I’m Karna Tecla.

As my children were growing up, I considered myself a mother with multiple jobs for which I became an expert, but never got paid. Don’t believe me? Ask any mother if these occupations and careers are not in their repertoire. Of course, my children are now grown and live on their own, but hey, they helped me develop my abilities and interests. Now, I live with my truck driving husband, my cat, and my dog.

As a writer, I pull from all of these occupations as well as the ones I trained for and the hobbies/activities I enjoy.

CHEF: I cooked for my family, looking for interesting and tasty recipes and creating healthy concoctions that my children would eat.

NUTRITIONIST: If I’m going to cook, I’m going to make sure my kids eat a balanced diet. I kept some of the dinner table traditions I grew up with: milk, not pop, at meals; if it is served, you will at least try it; and most of the time, plates were filled before they got to the table

LAUNDRESS: Did anyone else separate the whites from the colors, load the washer, transfer the wet clothes to the drier (or in the early days, hang them on the clothes line outside), fold/put on hanger, and put the clothes away? It was monumental task just to get the kids to drop the clothes down the laundry chute.

HOUSEKEEPER: Dust? Vacuum? Wash floors? Organize? Repair? Yup, I did it all. Add to that shopping and appointment making.

NURSE: Fevers, sore throats, runny noses? It goes with the parenting territory. Remove a splinter? I can do that. Cuts? Oh, yes. Scrapes? Yes to those too.

FINANCIAL GURU: I work. I pay the bills. I balance the checkbook.

CHEERLEADER: I championed my kids in every sport and activity they decided they wanted to try: scouts, swim team, track, cross country, piano, band (one on the trombone; the other on the cello and then the trumpet), choir, writing.

CHAUFFEUR: It was my job to make sure the kids got to where they were going. They couldn’t drive. I drove to out of town swim meets and even a choir concert downtown Chicago. Oh, and by the way, these miles were all logged before GPS and cell phones.

TUTOR: Yes, it is a parent’s job to help the younguns with the homework, but NOT to do it for them. This required me to become an expert researcher in history and other social studies categories, science, math, English, writing, language arts, and music. Thank goodness I took classes in college in some of these subjects.

PROOFREADER/EDITOR: Yes, along with helping with the homework, I read and approved my kids work, OR send them back to redo or improve. I did give them suggestions.

MEDIATOR/REFEREE: Two boys? Less than two years apart? Of course, the household needed a mediator, or the referee. It depended on the day.

COUNSELOR: I made my boys talk about the things that were bothering them: friends, girls, teachers, divorce (The boys father walked out in the fall of 1997 when they were

ACTOR/VOCAL PERFORMER: I read to my children starting at an early age and changed my voice for the characters that came along. My interest in theater surfaced when I was in fifth grade.

GARDENER: We planted flowers and vegetables. The boys helped and learned along the way. They helped with the yard as well.

PARENT: Oh, wait. That’s what I am. It encompasses all of these skills, chores, occupations, or careers – it all depends on how you want to look at your position to parent your children.