I’m not sure where the past few weeks have gone except that they seem to have melted away much faster than the snow in my yard is likely to do. In the past few weeks I’ve completed the second draft of my Nano project and am more than halfway through a third draft (can I say how amazingly fast this has happened, earth-shatteringly fast, seriously.) I attended a seriously awesome EMT conference in Salt Lake City with teachers from around the country and participants coming from at least 7 states. I’ve worked a lot, dealt with a major snow storm last weekend, and actually found time to run on the ambulance a little too.

One of my online writing groups–the first one I ever joined–had 32 people participate in NaNoWriMo this year, at least half again as many as joined us last year. Our group’s total words written for the month is, drumroll, 1,144,102. Yes, that is over seven figures. Incredible, I know. We had fifteen people actually write the full 50K or more, and at leas half of the others added a minimum of 20K to their manuscripts–not too shabby considering the time of year. Honestly, this was such a huge revelation for me. I’ve known for a few years that I work best when I can punch out a huge amount of writing in a short time, but November has always been so terrible for me, so I’ve never ‘won’ at NaNoWriMo. This year I finished my first draft in eight day, then went back to fill it out and add all of the extra details that make a story interesting, and I found that as the month progressed, it got harder and harder to get any writing done, simply because my schedule went completely out of whack.

As for the project itself, all I have to say is wow, I never knew writing mysteries could be so much fun! I have ideas for upcoming books in the series and look forward to peeling back more layers on some of the minor characters who will be playing bigger roles in later books. At the same time I’m a little freaked out. What if the next story I try ends up being totally bad? What if I get in a rut (can you call it a rut if there are only two books?) and can’t come up with a fresh angle for the story? And can I say how excited I am with the twist at the end of this one–I totally thought I knew who the murderer was until I went to write the climax and then, hello, I was so wrong! I love it when the characters surprise me.

As for my conference, it was a blast. I admit, I had just come from working graveyard shifts several days in a row and then switched to early morning classes, which meant I struggled to stay awake a few times, even though the teachers were fantastic, and I didn’t do anything in the evenings but sleep, which meant I got none of those fun errands done that I had planned (like seeing the new Harry Potter movie, which I still haven’t done. My honey and I are going north tomorrow, maybe we’ll catch it while we’re up there). I came back on Saturday evening and went right back to graveyards that night, so it’s taken until yesterday to get my sleep schedule back into a normal rhythm, but it was worth it.

The word blizzard was thrown around like crazy early last week because of a major storm that was coming through Utah. Strangely it nearly fizzled as it crossed south into Utah Valley, and left only a few inches down the rest of the state. Ironically, hardly anyone discussed the big storm on Sunday, and it left a good foot in my yard and made the roads barely passable (if you wanted to take double the usual time to get anywhere) the entire length of the state. Slide-offs, roll overs, and stranded drivers galore. Thankfully there were no major accidents in my area.

Now I look forward to Christmas, and I’m starting to think, hey, maybe I ought to buy a present or two because seriously, we’ve done zero shopping. How did it get to be December so quickly? Five o’clock already and I have a huge to-do list to accomplish before the city rolls up the sidewalks in an hour. I love small town life.