Writing on a jet plane – NaNoWriMo

Last night I flew to Houston, because I have the privilege of sharing my experiences with Hospice Jinja (Uganda) at a fundraiser here tonight. It’s a long way to come for a short thing, but anything I can do to help the great people at the hospice is worth it.

The flight from my city to Houston was three hours long. The day had been that weird sort of day it always is when you have a later flight: you pack, you pace, you do some errands, you check that your family will have food, you check that you didn’t forget anything, you panic when you realize you did forget something, you check Facebook and the weather report a million times. I finally left a bit early for the airport, thinking I’d have time to sit down in my airline club lounge and write.

Well, the line at security was the longest I’d ever seen it. It took me forty-five minutes to get through, so by the time I got to the club I had less than an hour. By the time I got my Diet Coke and cookies (because they cancel each other out, you know), I had less than thirty minutes. When you’re starting a new chapter, that can be a difficult amount of time to try to squeeze some writing in. So I didn’t.

Another long line to get on the plane. I’m spoiled by having an “elite status” with Delta due to all my flying, but I was flying United. In some sort of strange airline math, they called group 7, then group 1, then group 3 (there was no 2), then 4 (there was no one in group 4), then group 5 (me), and finally (I presume) group 6. More line in the jetway, then the usual jockeying for your carry-on bag’s position in the overhead bins. Then the “no electronic devices” period, because, God forbid, we crash the planes with our Kindles.

So finally, I got my laptop down when all danger of triggering a dire airline disaster was past. I was on the aisle, and another guy with a laptop was by the window. The poor college student between us just sat there, unentertained. The guy was doing math problems and waving his arms around… Best not to watch, lest we be diverted to Chicago with an F15 escort. Anyway, I got to writing, finally. NaNoWriMo waits for nothing! (Okay, not totally true, but at that point, I was determined!)

Because I had no internet access for maps, and I had two groups of characters off on adventures, I just had to let bad things happen to them where they were. Bad things are good when you need lots of words, so, in less than an hour and a half, I had about 3300 words (for a total count of 23,725). One group was safe, and one woman’s life is still hanging in the balance. It was quite fun, actually, but I’ll have to resolve all that today and move along.

At almost 25,000 words, since this is a Young Adult novel, I’m probably 1/3 of the way through the story. I may have to change the title, which has been Darian’s War, because I have somehow managed to have very little to do with Darian so far. But otherwise, I’m pretty happy with it, and with my NaNo progress.

How are you doing? We’re in the dreaded Week 2 – are you struggling? Are you flying with wings of pegasi? Keep plowing through, even if you don’t make your word count… Remember, this week and next are the hard ones. You’ll get a second wind once the end is in sight and you’ve had your turkey and pie.

Here’s my mandatory disclaimer – this isn’t an official NaNoWriMo site, and the opinions are my own! Happy writing!



Filed under NaNoWriMo, Writing

8 responses to “Writing on a jet plane – NaNoWriMo

  1. What can I say. I like your writing style. The NaNo stuff is interesting. It has sucked me in despite my best efforts to stay above it. I’ve got 300,000 words to write by Dec. 31. BUT…I was listening to country music which i’ve developed a taste for later in life and heard the very popular “if I had never met a woman like you” which tells a great story in a very few words – and a very true story for most married men – and the idea for a novel (hopefully a short novel) came to me and I couldn’t shake it out of my head. it’s the way my four volume million-or-so word legal/romantic/contemporary marriage “when we were married” (WWWM) got into my head and wouldn’t let me go until i’d written the first 400,000 words and now i’m onto the next 300,000. So now I’m writing ‘if i’d never met a woman like you’ as a short romantic novel for the NaNo competition I just read about. I have no fear about giving my project away because I honestly don’t think anyone’s ever used this particular idea before. Which is a stretch, I know, for any writer to assume, but I honestly doubt it’s been used in a romance before. But back to your stuff. Yoiu’re a good writer, as least as far as the blog goes. Haven’t had a chance to read your other stuff.

  2. WOW! That’s awesome! I’ve written a lot of words this year, but not all on one story. The book I’m doing for NaNo is book 2 of the series I inadvertently started for my Aug Camp NaNo, so the total will be longer. Probably 3 books, maybe 4. It’s hard to know. But at about 80k each, that’s still a lot less than you. 😀

    GREAT job! And thanks for reading!

  3. Spring

    I love your posts, and I love your Calvin and Hobbes cartoon!
    My goal is to reach 80k this year, and I’m just slightly ahead of that goal. My two friends, who I talked into doing NaNo with me both keep telling me how well I’m doing … but they’re judging by the 50k goal. Really, I’m just managing to keep ahead of it. One bad day, and I’ll end up falling behind and getting dashed to pieces by the stampeeding horses that are my demanding daily word count.

    • Haha, I know the feeling. But that last week adrenaline is amazing for beating stampeding horses! I’ve had a good number of 5-6500k days that last week. So I know you’ll do it! Thanks for reading (and I LOVE Calvin & Hobbes! My kids were all introduced to them at a young age.)!

  4. Cool article 🙂 I’m actually doing fine. My hands and arms hurt and I’m chronically sleep-deprived, but I’m still very motivated, love my novel and are well ahead on word count. I’ll have to try writing on a plane, though – I’ll have to go on a business trip on the 28th and while I’ll probably “win” before, I don’t think I will be done with my novel. Unfortunately, I hate flying. But after all, NaNo is supposed to be a challenge 🙂 trying to concentrate on my novel on a plane might well be one.

    • I did well on the plane; I’ll be leaving for home in a few hours so I’m hoping to get the day’s writing done again. We’ll see! Good luck – you’re doing so well. 😀 Thanks for reading!

  5. This is hilarious. I’m so impressed you were able to write on a plane! I’ve tried – and failed – multiple times. Even trans-Atlantic. But, maybe because then I was actually WRITING and not typing? Those bumps mid-flight are brutal, even on the smoothest of flights.

    • Oh gosh – not by hand! I’ve tried to journal on flights before, and, well, let’s say it’s even more indecipherable than usual! haha! 😀 I couldn’t write on the trip home, although I tried. It was a very small plane and there was no room. Plus it was hot and bumpy. No bueno.

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