Day 6: Focus


Excerpt from Beer & Chocolate

Saturday morning in the ghetto. She slept through five homeless people dragging their carts under her window on the sidewalk. Hundred drunken people stumbled by singing, crying, laughing and arguing when the bars closed at 2am. The bells of the Mission church struck loud and clear, pealing through her blinds and not waking her up. Dani blasted Regina Spektor and danced around with a broom inside her room, and still Liz was able to groggily turn over and thank her stars that 1) the car didn’t need to be moved and 2) it was Saturday.

Dani finally yelled “I’m going to Tartine!” and ran out the apartment, locking 10 locks on her front door. That woke up Liz. She was deathly afraid of being broken in on, and had a keen sense of hearing for the slightest metal against metal tumbling that was unfamiliar and fumbling.

Where are we, she’s going off to Medjool with this strange mix of people. It’s the Mission, and she’s with out-of-towners, and worse, some wealthy kids that kind of freak her out. Anyways, a night scene.

Hard to get in the mood tonight as I had a crazy day on site at a client and it’s just hard transitioning to writing mode. I whipped out The Writing Candle, another crutch to help me focus. The rule is, while it’s burning I can’t do anything else. The music this hour is Mendelssohn. May move onto VH1 Soul, that motivated me yesterday.

I’m making a dent on the word debt. 2,840 leftover from yesterday which is better than the 4K I had looming over my head past two days. Total today is 4507 words, making it a grand total of 10,002 words. I’m at half that, at 5494. I can hear you telling me it’s not all a numbers game. Strangely, though, it’s a marker of progress. It’s not a novel if it’s all in your head.

OK, one hour later and finished my day’s allotment, and it’s all word debt now. 7161, glad to see ya.

Update: 11PM and managed to only have 1512 word debt left! So that will mean 3179 words tomorrow, and since I’m not working, that is totally do-able.

I keep remembering this one time last Nano. I’m at my parents’ house in Monterey during Thanksgiving, and I have a few days left before 12/1, and I have thousands and thousands of words to write. I get a writer’s block. My niece and nephew are down there for Thanksgiving, so I spend time playing with them, but nothing is in my head and I can’t get through the word count. I keep having weird cravings, and one of them was Pakwan’s Chicken Tikka Masala. Basically, butter chicken. It’s a few blocks from my apartment up in San Francisco. My family is really supportive and give me all of these moments alone where I’m supposed to be “writing,” but all I can think about is this Indian butter chicken dish. I finally decide to leave early, drive home, and that night get the butter chicken. I eat it, and my writer’s block goes away. I pound through a few scenes, and end up finishing two days beforehand.