Missing Mrs. Wilson

I woke up this morning, excited that it’s Wednesday. I have logged over 6300 words for my NaNoWriMo novel (which will most likely turn into a very long short story, but that’s okay). I thought a quick post on Wednesday’s word would be a nice little break.

After my laptop warmed up, I clicked on over to Wordsmith.org. Today’s word is nihilarian – one who does useless work.

That’s a terrible stream of words for a writer to read smack dab in the middle of week number one of NaNoWriMo.


Writing every day for 30 days straight isn’t useless. I know that. What is useless is my right and left hand that keep typing the letters b-o-l-t every other paragraph. Bolt here, bolt there. He bolted again. He’ll get whiplash from all that bolting if my fingers don’t stretch a little further and start typing something different, like bound or hightail it or even just walked away.

What isn’t useless is the strikethrough tool, which lets me keep all those repetitive words, plus the choppy scenes they describe. I wish I had used strikethrough on the first day of NaNoWriMo. I wrote a lovely opening scene with an elderly Mrs. Wilson as she got out of bed at midnight. Then, later that day, her rise at midnight seemed unimportant and took the story in the wrong direction. I hesitated to use strikethrough, since that felt like cheating, like I was padding my word count. So, I deleted about 700 words on Mrs. Wilson instead.

I’ve missed her midnight spirit ever since, which brought home one of Chris Baty’s tips for – and benefits of – finishing NaNoWriMo: ignore the delete key. A NaNoWriMo first draft is a smorgasbord of ideas that hopefully, but may not, go together. Don’t delete anything, because 1) you’ll cross that 50,000 word mark before you know it (and won’t that be a feat!), and 2) the scene you save may turn into another story later on.

I’m hoping Mrs. Wilson didn’t take my cut personally, and she shows up in her slippers again at some point.



8 responses to “Missing Mrs. Wilson

  1. It’s amazing how many folks are writing these days. My human went to his 50 HS reunion and found 16 of his class mates were working on novels, 4 on how to’s, and 1 on his military experience. that was 18% of the class. Now if they can only find a way to….


  2. I guess that’s what you get for breaking the no editing during NaNo rule! 🙂

    • Yep, you’re right. I thought I had a handle on that “no editing” deal, but the delete key is irresistible! By the way, how does the no editing rule translate into your NaHoCleMo challenge?

      • Ha ha, wouldn’t no editing mean I couldn’t mess up anything I just cleaned? Now, if I could tell dust not to settle on anything ever again, or the cat not to shed, or crumbs not to fall THAT would be a rule I’d follow.

  3. I love the title of your post, and the bolting make me laugh! Glad you’re doing so well, and have gotten past the “delete” problem.

    • Thanks, Cathryn. Mrs. Wilson was my favorite English teacher, and I miss her too. Though, she’d be appalled that I named an elderly character after her; the real Mrs. Wilson drove a red Porsche and had bleach blond hair and refused to act her age. I hope you’re enjoying your first NaNoWriMo experience!

  4. I am loving it. I’ve done fast writing before, but not consistently like this.

    I’ve already learned a lot and find the process fascinating. I enjoy the feeling of freedom from the inner critic. It’s really quite amazing.

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