a change of scenery

I’m currently participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, a version of National Novel Writing Month in which one can set any word goal (I went higher than the normal 50,000 — up to 60,000 — in hopes of drafting something that will be more marketable in the long run) as well as be placed in a “cabin” of other participants. I have written before about how much I love the NaNo situation because it provides encouragement, structure, and accountability to my writing life.

So I have to write about 1700 to 2000 words every day to complete my goal before July ends. Usually I sit at home, enjoying the quiet and my dog’s company. Occasionally I venture out to a coffee shop so someone else can provide my caffeine, and so I’ll be less tempted to go check Facebook or Twitter.

But sometimes, I want an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT atmosphere to get those creative juices a flowin’… which has taken me to the beach and to Disneyland!

One day I took Benny Dog out to Huntington Beach, where they have a section of sand & ocean for trained dogs to roam off the leash. Since Benny has a lot of shepherd in him, his instinct is to herd me and stay close, so he doesn’t wander off or misbehave like other dogs I’ve witnessed. I laid out on my beach towel, took my journal in hand, and let the sounds of the ocean be my background as I wrote. I kept getting distracted by the desire to cool off in the water or jog down the coast, so I allowed myself plenty of breaks to  do just that. When I got home and typed up my work, I realized I’d goofed off a bit too much, and only written about 1200 words. Still, it was worth the mini vacation.

Benny enjoying the sunshine

Then this week, since my husband and I currently live only half an hour from Anaheim, we purchased Disneyland annual passes. I drove myself over on Tuesday and spent a lovely day alone (well, plus 50,000 other people) at Disneyland. The lines are long and boring, but hey–I had words to write! So, my trusty journal in hand, I wrote out (in sloppy cursive because people kept looking over my shoulder, like “what in the world is she doing, is she writing about me? Is she a reporter? Is she psycho? I want to snoop”) my daily word count while standing around waiting for my turn on Thunder Mountain and Star Tours and the Matterhorn. Then when I got hungry, I wandered over to snack on Mickey-Mouse-shaped soft pretzels and the famous pineapple Dole Whip. It was very fun, and I left when the heat got unbearable around 1:00, with the added benefit of avoiding traffic that way. The nice thing about working by hand is that I had no little computerized word count ticker to stare at in the corner, so once I typed up my work for the day, I had written over 2200 words, above my daily goal.

Did you know that Lucky the horse lives at Disneyland? We’re friends now.

My WIP kind of sucks, but as Nora Roberts says, “I can fix a bad page; I can’t fix a blank page.” Plus, writing this novel is helping me broaden my perspective of the fantasy world in my head, which will benefit Copper when I go back and pick up those revisions again.

So there you go. Pick somewhere new to write this week and see what kind of inspiration hits!

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