NaNo, Chickens, and Truth

Ha! See! It’s been two months since I posted. I stopped right after my first publication. Coincidence? I’ll let you be the judge.


National Novel Writing Month was a success for me. For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo happens every year in November. It’s a huge community of writers (millions I think) that sign up and track daily progress on their way toward ‘winning’. To win NaNo, you’ve got to write 50,000 words in the month. That’s 1667 words every day for each day in November. This was the first year I attempted it and it was valuable for me on a couple of different fronts.

It was a great target to try and hit. My daughter told me, “That sounds like a great goal, Dad. Even if you don’t make it, you’ll have a lot of words.” I love that kid. I decided that I wanted to maintain my general writing flow of five days a week spend the weekends with family. This meant 2,500 hundred words a day for me with some extra pushing to cover the anticipated shortfall over the Thanksgiving holiday. I managed to hit just shy of 51k when the dust settled on November 30th. 

It gave me permission to just write. I know this sounds stupid. Obviously, this is a personal problem that some writers will never experience. But, for me, turning off the internal editor that wants to revise now, Now, NOW is a big deal. I was still struggling on my first day so I fell back to some advice that I’d been ignoring because, well, it sounded simpleminded. I turned off spell check. Yep. The squiggly, red line was a huge impediment to my flow. With Scrivener’s full-screen mode and spellcheck off, I was able to meet and exceed my word goal every day except a few around the holiday. 

At the end of NaNo I had completed roughly half of the novel I’d outlined.  I hope to finish the first draft in December.  If you want to give NaNo a shot next year, send me a buddy request (user name is Mike Blackwelder) and we’ll race.

These long writing days are part of the reason I haven’t been posting in a while. One if the other reasons is, chickens


Did you know that chickens are going to be the marker for the start of the Anthropocene epoch? Neither did I! Quick summary – The Anthropocene is the name of the era we’re in right now. It is defined by the massive environmental changes we humans have made to the environment. Chickens, it appears, are a great marker for future archaeologists. I would have thought plastic bags or nuclear waste but, not unexpectedly, I would have been wrong. Since the chicken is the most numerous terrestrial vertebrate on the planet (I didn’t know that either!) and its biology has been completely shaped by humans, it makes a perfect indicator for vegan scientists after the distant, post-roaster, apocalypse. 

There’s a great article at Science Daily article. You can find it here. Which leads naturally into …


And you may be asking, what the hell that has to do with the price of corn in Iowa. Chickens, as it turns out, are one of the other reasons I haven’t posted in a while.  Chickens = Truth.

The truth is, there are long stretches of the writing process that are, by design, just writing. It’s not that interesting like when your friend runs a marathon and you show up to cheer them on and you only see them twice – once at the beginning and once at the finish line. Like the marthon, there’s not much to see and there’s not much to share while writing a novel. And, frankly, this whole blogging-about-the-writing-process-experience thing has been done a thousand times before and has been done far better. 

My passion has always been science-specifically archaeology, paleontology, space sciences, and futurology. Throw in reading and writing and you’ve got yourself a burrito. To keep my interest in this blog up, I’ve got to dig into those things I’m passionate about. Even if it’s not original or particularly interesting to whoever reads this, it’s interesting to me. 

I still plan on posting about how I’m doing on the writing front and posting fiction and personal essays. Along with that, I’m going to share the cool stuff I’ve been researching and tripping over when I fall into a Google hole. I may even throw in a book review here and there and some insight into the beta reading I’ve been doing for other indy authors. 

In short, I’ve decided to change things up to keep it fun. I’m not going to worry about platform building or brand building or SEO optimization. I need to stick to what I enjoy so this doesn’t turn into a job. Unfortunately, I had started to think about these posts in relation what you might want. I wanted you like me and maybe buy my shit someday when I have something to sell. That’s a dangerous path for a creator to travel and especially dangerous for me.  So, in the future, you’ll probably see posts about exoplanets and post-human body augmentations and cozy mystery beta reviews. You know, fun stuff. Hope you stick around. 

See. Chickens equal truth. 


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