The Game Plan

I have about 30 hours left until the start time of the 3-Day Novel Contest. At the moment, it’s breathing down my neck and its breath smells like last week’s grilled asparagus. I know the contest is one of those monumental tasks that seem insurmountable on the outside, but I’ll be well into the flow of things by one o’clock on Saturday morning. This uneasy standing in the shadow of a giant beast feeling will disappear soon enough.

When I attempted the contest for the first time in 2008, I successfully completed my manuscript, but I was in a sorry state by the time I finished the thing with three minutes to spare. My biggest mistake that year was forgoing sleep. On the first evening, I wrote until dawn broke; since I exhausted myself so far in the beginning, the rest of the long weekend was painful and my productivity suffered. For the 2009 contest, I paced myself well, writing just a few pages after the midnight start and attempting a normal (sane) person’s schedule for the rest of the competition. That approach worked well, and I wrote a manuscript that was considerably longer in my second year.

To help me write as much as possible while retaining the majority of my sanity, I’m planning to come home from school tomorrow for a long nap. After that, I’m going to cook up some tasty things, probably a beef stroganoff and a pot of spaghetti sauce, so I have real food in the fridge that’s easy to heat up. I’ll wash all my stretchy pants tonight (hooray!) so I can sit on the couch, on the floor, on the kitchen table, and on the verge of losing my mind without any uncomfy clothing distracting me. At some point tonight, I’ll file my fingernails right down so I can type swiftly and accurately. This is serious business, folks.

Sheesh. I feel like I’m preparing for some kind of marathon. Wait: this is most certainly a marathon. I won’t, however, be adhering to all the practices of long-distance runners. I was a little bit disturbed a few months ago when I marathoner I know admitted that serious athletes pee themselves during long runs. Apparently, losing time to stop for even the most natural of reasons isn’t okay for the really hard-core runners. I promise I’ll visit my bathroom when the urge strikes me, which will ensure regular breaks given the finicky nature of my bladder. I have also decided that dousing myself with cups of cold water and slurping soup on the run are off the list of strategies this weekend. Depending on the weather, though, I might be found in short shorts and a sweatband. These are the kind of things that won’t be shared through photos here on Blue Speckled Pup. You’re welcome.

I have a very loose idea for a plot line, which is permitted in the contest regulations, but I don’t have anything written down. Formulating a stricter plan isn’t forbidden, but I’m reluctant to fence myself in too early with a rigid blueprint for my manuscript. I’m a think on the fly kind of woman. Heck, I make up my blog posts off the top of my head most days, without putting anything on paper before I start typing away, so writing a novel in three days will be an extension of that free spiritedness. I’m nervous. I’m excited. I’m planning to go for broke.

Send me your positive, productive thoughts tomorrow at midnight, will you, and please don’t be offended if I don’t pick up my phone again until Tuesday. Updates will run here at B.S.P. throughout the weekend.

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Cinderella says:

    Glad you aren’t going quite as hard core as the marathon runners, Kay.
    Sending positive, productive thoughts your way.

    1. Kay at Blue Speckled Pup says:

      Thanks, Cinderella! It’s going to be great: I can just feel it.

  2. SUZANNE says:

    Since I will most likely be asleep by midnight and have no computer at home I am sending you my best wishes for a wonderfully productive weekend now. I will be anxiously waiting to read about the weekend on Tues. ” Break a fingernail “

    1. Kay at Blue Speckled Pup says:

      Thanks Suzanne. I love “break a fingernail,” clever!

  3. Janet says:

    This is awesome, why have I never heard of this event?! My daughter would love to try this.

    All the best for a suspension of time and fingers that fly over the keyboard as fast as your mind thinks up the words!

    1. Kay at Blue Speckled Pup says:

      Thank you, Janet. I love the suspension of time bit. I know many times this weekend I’ll look up and wonder where all the hours have gone.

      Your daughter, unfortunately, missed the deadline for this year, but encourage her to check it out for next year. It’s a fantastic experience and it really forces writers to trim their practice to the bone and focus on the fundamentals.

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