Never Plan a Road Trip During NaNoWriMo

Oops, I forgot to tell you guys what NaNoWriMo project I picked.

I decided to go with my urban fantasy story that wants to be a novel. It involves a lot of small-town Indiana settings and characters I really like. It also has an overwhelmingly female cast. It’s a lot of fun, but let me tell you, trying to win NaNo while you’re road-tripping through Texas? Not the smartest idea.

We drove from Indiana to Texas, which gave me a lot of writing time in the car. I put that time to good use…and then my iPad, which relies solely on wifi, didn’t save those words. I lost a good 2000-3000 words that way. And trying to recreate them isn’t much fun. (Also, being stuck in a hotel room while you’re crying over unsaved words is a lot worse than being at home, since you don’t have a purry cat that would make you feel better.)

I learned my lesson, though.

Even though the iPad was much more comfortable to use in the car, I switched to the laptop from then on. Many many years ago I invested in a power-inverter, so I can plug my laptop into a box that plugs into the cigarette lighter. Plus I have a USB bracelet that I saved to every so often. No more lost words.

There were a couple of days I got no words at all, though. Texas is a big state with lots of attractions. And huge distances between those attractions. We had sort of a history theme to our trip. We hit Dinosaur Valley State Park first to see the fossilized dino tracks and do some hiking. Then two nights in Austin, where we visited Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and caught up with some good friends. Then we spent two days in Fredericksburg taking in the National Museum of the War in the Pacific. I think we could have spent another day there, easily. There were also all kinds of shops and neat-looking places that we didn’t have time to check out fully. But from there we headed to Houston, where we saw the Battleship Texas and made a brief stop at Sabine Pass before heading home. Texas is a gorgeous state, and I’m definitely planning to spend more time there in the future.

But in the meantime, where has November gone?!

Here we are at the 20th and I am sitting right around 26,500 words. I know I can recover from that, but the road trip really sabotaged me–which means I sabotaged myself, because I knew about it going into NaNo.

Of course, it also didn’t help that, as we drove home through Illinois, we were being chased by some seriously nasty weather. We made a brief stop at Sleepy Creek Vineyards near Danville (one of my favorite wineries–try their Three Amigos!) and their super-nice employee let us in 10 minutes early so we could buy a case and get back on the road. After a couple of stops in town to get supper and fill up the tank, we headed home. We had only been there about ten minutes before the tornado warning sirens went off.

We spent the next hour in the closet under the stairs. When I came back out, the power was off, and my favorite Starbucks writing spot had been decimated. I think the last tally has 26 tornadoes in Indiana Sunday, and I know there were a lot more across the Midwest, along with six people killed. We were blessed–we lost one young tree, but had no other damage. And while the power was out, I got in another 5000-word day before my laptop battery died.

Tonight I have big plans. I’m going home and going for another 5000-word day. If I can hit 30k this week and 40k by Thanksgiving, I know I’ll be fine for the home stretch.

How are all of you doing in NaNo? Did you come through the storms okay?

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