Writing No Mo (for a moment)


With Desert Chrome out (now also available as an audiobook, read by me! https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9798822620391to) and an essay collection circulating, I decided to pull an in-progress novel from a back shelf and get to work on it again. That’s when I saw that my good writer friend Becca Lawton (https://beccalawton.com) was offering NOMOWriMo to writers at large. What perfect timing. I hopped on the boat with Becca and friends.

NOMOWriMo is Becca’s shortened (500 words a day) and intimate version of the popular novel-writing and now memoir-writing practices that people have enthusiastically followed for Novembers going back years. Although daunted at first by the commitment to produce 500 words each day, I quickly realized the magic of it: I can write from bed at 5 a.m., and because my subconscious is already working before I start (or wake up), the characters are ready and the writing itself takes little time. Perhaps, for me, stopping is harder than starting. What a joy to be completely immersed in my novel again (thank you Becca!).

This morning I interrupted myself by clicking on election news mid-paragraph, and then it was 6:30 and I had to get going, grabbing clothes and food and my mare to head out to the cabin, needing to ride through cattle on the way. Only that last part didn’t happen because wind gusted mightily, the cows had sheltered down behind sage bushes, and my urgency vanished in the pending storm. I unloaded Savanna at the cabin, unsaddled her, and turned her loose to graze our surprising abundance of warm- and cool-season grasses. She kept nuzzling grass through what turned into blizzarding snow, and since I couldn’t invite her inside I built a fire and cleared the table and settled in to finish my morning words.

Which I did. Or overdid, by about eighty words. The moment I hit SAVE my computer ran out of juice. But I hadn’t! Though Becca councils us to stop at 500 words, I was cozied up at the mustang cabin in a snowstorm–perfect writing whereabouts and weather! But. I forgot to pack my power cord. First time ever. Panic rose. ALL my in-progress manuscripts are on that laptop. Town is an hour and a half away, longer and stupid in a blizzard.

Ken will have my power cord when he and his horse show up in the morning–we have to move those cows regardless of weather. Meanwhile, I’m writing on a different computer. Unfortunately I can’t find the spellcheck or word-count tools on this computer, or even Microsoft Word. Yep, that’s me. But at least I’m smart enough not to drive eighty miles in this weather.

P.S. My title here reminds me of my aunt Natalie: Years ago Peg, my younger sister, was a passenger in Nat’s car heading south along the California coast to meet us at the family ranch near Santa Barbara. Nat is bilingual, and Peg was nearly so, and they made a game of translating each Spanish word on all the roadsigns with Spanish names they encountered. When they got to Pismo Beach, Peg said, What does that mean? And her usually rather dignified aunt said, I have to piss mo and mo and mo.

Happy birthday, Nat!

4 thoughts on “Writing No Mo (for a moment)

  1. Love your writing more and more. I’ve commented on this post and the last one but not sure if they appeared as a WordPress password was needed and I may or may not have entered it! In any case I’m thrilled to be reading your words and am going to purchase your audible book asap

    Much love,



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