Monday, November 2, 2020

Sink or Swim During NaNoWriMo 2020

I’ve been sucked into the NaNoWriMo whirlpool again. My husband says, “Oh, no! That means no big meals and no housecleaning for a whole month.”

“Except Thanksgiving,” I respond. I plan way ahead for that meal because it’s my favorite of the whole year. I still make homemade bread stuffing, and I buy half turkey breasts to roast. Often we repeat the whole meal for Christmas, especially if we don't have company coming.

And this year, there won’t be any company.

But back to the dear man’s comment about big meals and housecleaning. Unless you do a little housecleaning, I think to myself. I don’t say it aloud. After all, he mows the lawn and shovels the snow and several other things it would pain me to do. Literally. I’m grateful.

About NaNoWriMo. I’ve jumped in the pool several times over the years, but I think I only made the full 50,000 word total with a real novel one time. I’d have to check, but I might have done 50,000 words of combo short stories and rewriting in another year.

By now, some folks will be asking, “What is NaNoWriMo?”

It’s that worldwide gathering of like minds online to try and create 50,000 new words each during the November National Novel Writing Month. If you’re a writer but have never participated, you can find out more at

This year I’m working on a brand-new mystery with a brand-new character. I took my older guy protagonist for a test drive in a couple of short stories I ran by my critique group. They liked the character and the light humor, so I’m going to run with the idea and hope I swim instead of sinking!

It’s pretty easy to sink during NaNoWriMo if I haven’t maintained a steady writing schedule in the past couple of months. And I have not.

I’ve been editing old stuff and getting out-of-print books back online, finishing the edits on a new frontier fiction novel which I’m about to submit to traditional publishers, and testing my skill (or lack thereof) at short story writing. You'll find Wishing Caswell Dead on Amazon with more sites coming soon.

I’ve also been obsessing over nearby wildfires that are now, thank goodness, calmed by the recent big snow that interrupted our fall season for a temporary taste of winter. Fall is back with some lovely days without smoky skies, and that’s a blessing.

Obsessing over COVID-19 is something the rest of the world will sympathize with. That one doesn’t require explanation.

Other petty annoyances, like umpteen million phone calls a day from politicians and umpteen more from scammers, were eliminated by just not answering the phone anymore. Hopefully I haven’t missed any agents who wanted to represent me or producers wanting to give me a movie contract for one of my books. Sigh!

I’m writing this on October 31st, thinking how sad that we finally have a year with beautiful weather for trick-or-treaters. Sad because, you know, COVID.

By the time this post publishes, I’ll hopefully be several thousand words into my NaNoWriMo project. Wish me luck.


Pat (Patricia) Stoltey is the author of four novels published by Five Star/Cengage: two amateur sleuth, one thriller that was a finalist for a Colorado Book Award in 2015, and the historical mystery Wishing Caswell Dead (December 20, 2017), a finalist for the 2018 Colorado Book Awards. This novel is now available in a large print edition, ebook and trade paperback. Her short story, “Good Work for a Girl,” appeared in the Five Star Anthology, The Spoilt Quilt and Other Frontier Stories: Pioneering Women of the West, released in November 2019.

Pat lives in Northern Colorado with her husband Bill, Scottish Terrier Sassy, and brown tabby Katie Cat).

You can learn more about Pat at her website/blog, on Facebook, and Twitter. She was interviewed for the Colorado Sun’s SunLit feature that you can find at the Colorado Sun website.


  1. Best wishes.

    And what a good time to introduce your husband to Mystery Lovers Kitchen blog.

    1. I love that blog, Liz. However, dear husband is good at making popcorn and peanut butter sandwiches. I'm pretty much resigned to doing the cooking or declaring a make-your-own-sandwich night. :D

  2. I admire your delving into NaNoWriMo. Let us know how it goes.

    1. So far so good, Linda. I'm slightly ahead in word count and have found the right two hours in my day to stick with the plan.

  3. I thought of Nano, but I'm not sure I'm yet ready to write after this long election. Good luck. I'm sure there's a future blog post in there somewhere.

  4. Hope the writing goes well during NaNo and beyond, Pat. I admire all the writers who are participating.


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