November is National Novel Writing Month.

50,000 words. 30 days.

I jumped in this year to rewrite my first draft thriller.

In “Thornton Park,” Delgado, a middle-aged, burned-out homicide detective, three months from retirement to the beach to fish and find love, works to solve a serial slasher, his nemesis, Zakhar, fellow Army sniper from Gulf War I. When Delgado gets close to uncovering the truth, Zakhar pushes back and Delgado battles for his life and love in this fast-paced, harrowing story.

Okay-my blurb needs work, but that’s why I’m working on it. Don’t judge.

This is my work space.

Yup, clutter works for me during this month of wordy madness.

Maureen C. Berry's deskToday marks the day before the NaNo (as its often called-we’re so busy writing we have to shorten things where we can) halfway mark. My word count so far today: 20,718. 

2,620 words behind the 23,338 I need to stay on track.

29, 282 words to go.

NaNoWriMo takes logophiles and prodigitalians to a whole different level (that’s the Neiman-Marcus version for those who love words and numbers.)

With an average of 1,667 words per day, one can write a short novel, or the beginning of a novel in a month. I did my first NaNo challenge in 2011. Same story line. Well, almost. I changed the beginning, added a character, and deleted a few characters. I use song titles from some of my favorite musicians for chapter headings: Cuts Like A Knife Bryan Adams, Diamonds and Pearls Prince, Give Me Shelter Rolling Stones.

While I write my NaNo, cooking and photographing food is on the back burner.

Because I also have distractions.

Not the nine-to-five, Monday through Friday work for the corporate machine variety, or the four days on, three days off twelve-hour shift variety.

I’m talking the four-legged variety.

ReaganReagan, (who is seven going on six months), barks at the wind, the deer, turkeys, and squirrels, the sound of the washing machine and dryer, and (sadly) the birds when they fly into the windows. And he needs walks. Lots of walks.

Wire fox terrier anyone?


In between writing and dog walking, I still have to eat.

This is not develop a recipe, take a few photographs, and blog about it eating. NaNo-eating is yogurt and toast for breakfast, followed by copious amounts of coffee. Then cottage cheese or sliced turkey for lunch, or a chocolate coffee and biscotti at the local coffee shop, Big City Market. Mid-afternoon I reach for crunchy foods, like crackers or pretzels, followed by an orange or banana for sugar and more carbs, then more coffee. For dinner, I reheat soup, toss a salad, order cheese pizza or make pesto pasta for a quick, easy meal.

Late in the day when my back and butt can’t take anymore strain, I pour a glass of wine to unwind, nibble of some cheese, a handful of nuts and more wine. Cause at 3 a.m. I’ll wake to plot Delgado’s next move, or Zakhar’s next victim.

I miss cooking and blogging (which is why I had to post-plus I needed a break from my thriller.) Don’t get me wrong, I made chicken vegetable soup this month, roasted a whole chicken a la Julia Child, even made a fancy sit down with halibut and lobster tail.

Today for instance, to keep my knife skills sharp, (or do something other than reach in the fridge for a quick bite), I placed a butternut squash and a pomegranate on my cutting board. Lord knows what I’ll do with them.

I’m thinking about it though.

I’m thinking roasted squash for a purée or maybe squash muffins.

Eventually I’ll pick apart the pomegranate so I can top my yogurt and cereal in the mornings. Maybe I’ll crush a few arils for a pomegranate vinaigrette.

Or maybe I’ll just think about it.

Today I had to feed Oscar, my sour dough bread starter, which will force me into the kitchen later today and then tomorrow. But that’s a good thing.

It’s not all writing, dog walking and eating during NaNoWriMo. I take daily walks and collect leaves, too.

Kentucky Fall leaves 2013I found Elmore Leonard’s The Moonshine Wars, a yellowed 1969 paperback, for $.25 at the public library. I’m reading Anne Lamott’s Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith. Lee Child’s The Affair, and Lisa Unger’s Darkness, My Old Friend.

I’m in the middle of a memoir class with Gotham Writers’ (more reading and writing). In conjunction with the Hopkins County Public Library, I founded Center Street Writers’ Guild, a free ten-week writing/critique workshop (five writers enrolled so far).

While I miss the satisfaction of blogging-working with food and creating pretty photographs-I’m okay, cause like I mentioned earlier, it is almost halfway to NaNo!

In fact, 10 hours and thirty-five minutes to go.

What are your eating habits during NaNo? Are you food blogging while you NaNo? Do tell. And while you’re here, sign up for my weekly posts to be delivered to your inbox.
Thanks for stopping by,