It Is Election Time

October 25, 2010

- See all 164 of my articles

It is almost November, and we all know what that means, National Novel Writing Month. I guess you thought I was going to writes something about the election. I figure with all of the writers on this site (except Johnny and Bob, thank you both so much) having voiced their political opinions over the last few weeks, enough had been said already. I want to focus on writing.

I started this column last year as I embarked on my first attempt at writing a complete novel. The fine people at help me with a challenge and various on line support activities. There are also local gatherings at coffee shops to put real faces and bodies on the messages. I was successful last year for many reasons, none more important than that I was on a significant amount of travel, two weeks at a time away from my family. When I try this year, I will have the challenges of every day life impacting my ability to perform.

The goal of National Novel Writing Month is not actually to write a compete novel, although that may be a happy outcome. The goal is to write down 5000 words that are conceivably part of a larger story or novel. The challenge is to achieve this goal in a single month, November 1 through November 30. No fair grabbing an old story that you already had several thousand word complete on. The reward is writing, and if you succeed, some nice icon gifts for your book, your facebook page and a certificate to always remember your achievement.

As with last year, I plan on tracking my progress here at I will encourage all of our readers to write, and maybe even share some of their effort. Unlike last year, I will focus on what I am doing to write, not a blow by blow of the story line.

So the question is, will you “elect” to join me on this adventure? You do not have to write, but I always encourage people to do so. You can just ride the journey with me and anyone else who is willing to share in the odyssey.

A few months ago, I pledged to embark on a different journey. I was going to set up my computer on a treadmill table so that I could walk my way across this great land of ours as I wrote this column or watched television. Although I did set up the table for a short while, my progress was so slow that I never had enough success to write about it. The treadmill and table took up so much room in out family room that my wife asked me to move it to the basement. Out of sight, out of mind, and the experiment came to an end. This writing pledge will not suffer the same fate. I may succeed or I may fail, but I will undertake the effort for the full month.

When I made the cross country treadmill pledge, I had several helpful exchanges with Evan about ways of adding physical activity to our otherwise stationary work lives. As a result of those discussions, I will be investing in an under desk peddle systems. I will cycle my way through the day as I sit at my desk, reading, writing, phoning, texting and doing all the things we do at work that cause the day to pass with little or no physical motion.

So, go to tonight and join up and in seven days let your ideas flow. Catch them all, sting them together and who knows what you will end up with.

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Squeaky
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 14:12:50

    You’re right, Martin. That was interesting about Juan Williams.


  2. Martin Kelly
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 18:14:02

    I noticed an error in my blog, the word count should have read 50,000 not 5,000.

    Yeah Squeaky, Juan was treated poorly even if I do disagree with him on some issues. Luckily, all of the commercials will be over soon. I like to watch the day after to see who wasted money buying TV time after the election.

    I expect to see quite a lot of opinion over the next few days.


  3. Onij
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 20:35:59

    lets go Dems!


  4. Squeaky
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 21:49:02

    I totally agree Martin, there will be a lot of opinion for the next couple of weeks. It will be interesting to watch how things unfold as we move forward. I’ll start by saying:

    Let’s go dems! (Go back to France, Canada and Kenya).


  5. Onij
    Oct 26, 2010 @ 10:00:46

    @Squeaky – OMG Kenya!!!? LMAO

    please tell me you believe the President was born in Hawaii.

    am i reading too much into that? i really hope i am.


  6. Evan @40Tech
    Oct 26, 2010 @ 11:47:30

    The hardest part of writing (for me at least) is getting that kernel of an idea that makes it stand out. I have had a rough idea floating around for years, but giving it direction, and making it have an actual point, is the hard part. I guess finding time is the hard part, too. I think it would mean I’d need to sacrifice time from my wife (not an option) or writing less for my blog (don’t want to do that, either).


  7. Squeaky
    Oct 26, 2010 @ 12:56:00

    Hi Onij—yes that was a joke. Glad you got it. =)

    Evan, I struggle with that too. I have two loving daughters that need time with dad, one exhausted dad that needs time with his daughters and a loving wife that deserves quality time with her family. I won’t sacrifice any of that to write either. I usually just write enough to irritate people and sacrifice just a little bit of sleep. Keep that balance!



  8. kosmo
    Oct 26, 2010 @ 13:37:21

    Evan wrote:
    “I have had a rough idea floating around for years, but giving it direction, and making it have an actual point, is the hard part.”

    Write it down. You don’t need to write a novel starting one page 1 and ending on page 300 – disjointed writing is perfectly OK (and my modus operandi). If you have a good chunk that would be around page 50 and another that would be around page 187, put those down on paper (OK, hard drive). You may be surprised at how a plot fills out as you continue to write other chunks.


  9. Onij
    Oct 26, 2010 @ 16:03:04

    @Squeaky – “I usually just write enough to irritate people and sacrifice just a little bit of sleep. Keep that balance!”

    ooOh thank goodness, LOL.. You never know these days lol. I’m not sure about sacrificing sleep, I get so little as it is from work an all, but as far as slipping in a few zingers here & there.. I can relate. 😉

    PS needless to say, from the sounds of it your doing a great job as a family man, keep it up.


  10. Martin Kelly
    Oct 26, 2010 @ 16:49:10

    Evan, Kosmo is right. If you just capture your ideas, eventually you will have a hour or two to look and organize, maybe once every six months. It may take years to get a complete story, but it will grow.

    Like you I have a wonderful wife and children (only one left at home), so this year will be much harder to sacrifice the time. I truly believe that the only reason I finished last year is that I was out on the west coast with my family in the mid-west. I had nothing to do on weekends that would not get me in trouble.


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