Tuesday mornings at 10:00 I have a sacred duty to yell at a bunch of people to SHUT UP! But don’t worry—it’s sanctioned! I co-host a Shut Up & Write group through the California Writers Club. We used to sit around a table at a real café with the whirrr of the coffee machines and a repeating loop of pop songs, but we’ve transitioned to a two-dimensional world on Zoom for the duration of the pandemic. After our allotted half hour of chatting it’s officially time to Shut Up & Write! No more talking, no last words, until we come out the other side 90 minutes later.
I’ve been rehearsing for this role since I was very little when I would ride my red tricycle in circles around the basement singing a little song I’d made up. The lyrics went: Shut Up, shut up, shut up, shut up!
Never did I think that when I became an adult this skill would be considered acceptable, much less come in handy, but it turns out my underground singing was good practice for this role.
And it’s especially useful during November, which is NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. This is my second year participating, though it’s been a thing for 21 years now.
The goal is to write 50,000 words in the 30 days of November, which breaks down to 1,667 words a day.
I’m entering into the home stretch this week. I’m a little behind on word count, but only by a couple thousand words, not that the words are any more than a very rough draft.
Last year I did memoir, this year my goal, besides word count, is to write ten short stories. In spite of the name, non-novel projects are also encouraged. The most fun is writing titles. You can look forward to A Trip to Ancient Egypt, On the Banks of the Lazy River, and Mission Dakotas, among others. If I can get a good title, maybe that will inspire me to write a good story to go with it. And then revise, revise, revise. Wish me luck! It’s time for me to shut up and get back to work!