Monday, July 30, 2012

I Survived Muskoka Novel Marathon 2012


Yes, I survived. More than that actually: I loved it! (MNM2012)

Imagine 72 hours to do nothing but write as much as you like. Heaven!! You could take time out to eat and sleep if you wanted/needed to. Meals were provided and prepared by and the lovely den mother Mieke, who even did our dishes afterwards (and didn't kick me out on the first day when I spilled my coffee).

On top of it all is knowing that while you’re there writing you're raising money for the YMCA Literacy Services. This will allow you to feel fine about ignoring your family for the whole time (because you get up before they do and you come home after they’re all in bed--heh heh. Thank you, family, for being so amazing and understanding.). And thank you so much to my sponsors. I'll be sending you individual thank you letters. All together the writers this year raised an astounding $14,572.50 last I heard.!!

I admit that I was a bit worried going in. I mean, me, write a novel? I wasn’t sure there was a story of novel length proportions in me. Okay, so I’m still not sure the story is worth anything but my amusement in writing it, but who cares at this point? I went in with an initial idea, and I came out with 60 pages written and a workable outline to keep going with. Here's my 60 page milestone ribbon (and note how there are others much bigger than mine).

For someone who writes at home in the (mostly) quiet it was scary to think about writing in a crowded room. But with the help of my iPod and some playlists it worked out just fine. I was focussed when I wanted to be and distracted when I wanted to be.

Susan Blakeney
The wonderful writer to the right of me was Susan Blakeney, who taught me that physically acting out things can really help you. And she is an amazingly prolific writer in that she STARTED AND COMPLETED her novel at the marathon. Wow.

Cathy Olliffe-Webster
The wonderful writer to the left of me was Cathy Olliffe-Webster, who is an amazingly brave and funny writer who demonstrated the power of perseverance because during the marathon she was able to write the ending of her novel--a goal which had alluded her in the past. Way to go, Cathy!

View beyond my keyboard
It was energizing to be with such a diverse group of writers, some of whom I knew going in and some I didn’t. I've definitely added to my "to be read" pile.
(LtoR) Kimberley Ann Sparks, Cheryl Cooper, Sharon Ledwith, Lena Coakley, Lori Twining

I didn’t submit my manuscript to the judges for the contest portion. Walking away with a huge chunk of a draft completed and a workable outline was reward enough for me. Thanks to Karen Wehrstein and Paula Boon and Dawn Huddlestone for all their work organizing the marathon. Check out the storify of the mnm Dawn put together: http://storify.com/MuskokaNovel/mnm-2012

Most memorable moments:

  • Anne Millyard dropped in!
  • Creme brulee from Spencer's Tall Trees--I went back for seconds
  • Watching Sandra act out being very pregnant (thanks to a well placed pillow) and getting down to and up from the floor so Susan could see how that action would play out.
  • The guy who stuck his head into a quiet room of writers writing and announced "It was a dark and stormy night--There, start with that." Groan. He was chased down for a donation.
  • The three cats I narrowly avoided hitting on three separate drives to/from the marathon.
  • Realizing it's truly astounding how many times some people stir their coffee before drinking it.
  • The slurping, gushing noises of Karen's green tea thermos which she could not hear thanks to her noise cancelling headphones.

And some other random shots:

They provided all the essentials--earplugs, ibuprofen, antacids, bookmarks, and popcorn!

We all donated to the marathon to thank Mieke (in red) for looking after us all weekend

What a goody bag! Loved the pipe cleaners and playdough.

Susan decorated my water bottle and christened it "Swamp Water" 

Look at all those 10 page milestones people had!



2 comments:

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

OH Lizann, it was SUCH a pleasure meeting you! You're so sweet and charming and funny and nice... and yes, wasn't the novel marathon the BEST time? I am still glowing thinking about it. Congrats on those 60 pages! No one knows better than me how hard-earned they were!
Anyway, loved your write-up! Hope to meet up with you some day soon.

Lizann Flatt said...

Aw, thanks, Cathy. Yes, it was definitely an amazing time. And yes to the meet up soon!