Why, oh, why, do we use the word “taxi” to describe an airplane’s free motion along the ground? Apparently they’re traveling on land known as a “taxiway,” but why should that be called that? Maybe to differentiate it from the runway? But who chose taxi?
Also, double i is a really intrinsically weird letter construction in the English language. I wonder how many words there are that use a double i? I’m guessing not many because offhand, I can’t think of another. Ah, but Hawaii and skiing, of course, and all of skiing’s forms. Plus Shanghaiing and shiitake and alibiing. But not a lot of others. (Technically 50-some others, if you include all the ones on the word game cheat list that I just looked at, but a bunch of them are pretty dubious — Hawaiian plant names and words with no definition online, etc.)
If I had discovered the answer to the question about taxi, I’d stuff this blog post with keywords so that other people could find the answer more easily, because I’ve wasted a scary amount of time trying to discover the etymology of that phrase, but alas, I didn’t find the answer, so there’s no point.
But today is the last day of NaNo.
Achievement One: Write a blog post every day. Unlocked as soon as I hit Publish on this one.
Achievement Two: Write a 50,000 word novel entirely within the month of November. Nope. Achievement not unlocked. Maybe next year.
Achievement Three: Write 50,000 words within the month of November. I have ten hours and approximately 4500 words to go.
That’s an average of 450 words per hour. Phrased that way, it still seems possible. And since these words count, I may as well continue babbling here for a little bit longer. Overdrive — in the interests of making it impossible for me to success with Achievement #3 — very kindly auto-checked out the complete Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger to my iPad this morning. I’ve had to hide the iPad in the other room to discourage myself from distractions but I did read at breakfast and lunch. I read another series by her — The Finishing School series — last week, also mostly courtesy of Overdrive. It’s encouraging in some weird way to see that she has become a better writer as she’s written more books. I don’t know why exactly, except that sometimes I think I’ve gotten a lot worse, but maybe it’s just hard to see your own growth in progress? And maybe it’s just a satisfying affirmation that yes, authors grow and learn and develop, and if I’m not as good as I want to be today, that doesn’t mean I won’t be later.
Also, although perhaps less optimistically, it reminds me that I’m a good editor and I’m a good editor on my own books, too. The reason I’m saying this is that there are clunky sections in the first book of the Parasol Protectorate series — repetitions, infodumps — stuff that pretty minor edits could have fixed and it’s satisfying to me to know that I would have caught them and fixed them. It reminds me that even if this first draft that I’m working on is the worst thing ever, ever, ever, I am entirely capable of fixing it in rewrites. I wish I could remember that a little more easily. I should be more confident when I’m writing about my own skills as an editor, because that would probably let me relax a little more while I’m writing. Hmm, another useful insight.
So as I hit the end of my blogging every day month, what have I learned? I have learned that I’m probably not going to blog every day. I never check my traffic, but I bet my traffic has gone lower and lower this month as I’ve bored more people with blog posts that say nothing. I’m not even sure that I’d bother to read my own blog if it weren’t, you know, my own. But I’ve also found it really useful to blog every day as a way of beginning my writing process and also forcing myself to relax about what I write. My normal process, even with a blog post, includes a lot of revision and tweaking, but this month, there’s just no time for that. I bet it’s not even that noticeable to anyone who’s managed to keep reading. But it’s relaxing for me.
And I just drifted off to google analytics — a terrible way to spend my now less than ten hours — and yep, I’m dramatically right. The little blue line plummets at the beginning of November. That’s okay, though — it’s a nice reminder that I should blog for what I get out of it myself and not to take up other people’s time. If I worried too much about my audience I would probably stop blogging entirely, because time is a precious resource for all of us and not one that should be wasted. But I can waste my own time, because I’m getting self-analysis, writing discoveries, encouragement and experience out of it. Words, words, and more words! They count for something for me, even when they’re not useful for anyone else. (Technically, of course, all reading is good because spending your time interpreting symbols is good for our brains and keeps us mentally agile, but there are a lot of worthwhile things to read in the world — my blog does not aspire to be one of them. Not that a blog could aspire, but you know what I mean.)
Almost 1000 words on this blog post, which puts me at under 4K left to go in my nine hours and forty-five minutes. Do I have anything else to say about my blogging discoveries in the month of November? I don’t think I posted any recipes, which might just mean I wasn’t a very creative cook this month. But book reviews were obviously my fallback position — when I have nothing else to write about, there are always books. I wish that worked in real life, but it so seldom does. Never once have I survived a stilted conversation with a stranger by discovering that we both liked to read the same things. But maybe I should try more often, since I don’t think I often try the “Read anything good lately?” line. (I don’t actually wander around talking to strangers all that often, anyway.) Writing, reading, cooking, dogs — if I ever try to do the blogging every day for a month thing again, I will have to make sure to take an interesting vacation during the month!
Anyway, I’m going to get back to my attempt to produce words that will eventually go into A Gift of Grace. Tomorrow I’m going to have the fun organizational job of reading everything I’ve written in the past ten days and pulling out all the coherent bits to see how they fit together or how they can be fit together. But today I’m just going to try to write some more of those coherent bits. With any luck, Noah can get on with his confrontation with Lucas and I can get through this section and into a more fun section with Akira. More fun because Akira is always fun to write, I think, and it’s been a while since I’ve been with her.
Tomorrow — if I manage to get all the words done today — I am going to reward myself with a box of these chocolates from CostCo. I shouldn’t, because I seriously don’t need the sugar — it makes all my joints go wonky — but they are oh-so-good and I need the motivation. Yay, chocolate.