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NaNoWriMoer v Cat: The Showdown

“You have no power over me.” – Labyrinth, 1986

Monday, 17 November

9am: Child at school, with play date afterwards. I have until 5.30pm to push up my NaNoWriMo total. Today is the day. A jug of iced tea is in the fridge, I have no commitments, no excuses. Limit time to check email, social media, and undertake research before writing to one hour. Set timer on phone accordingly.

10am: Turn off desktop, turn on laptop, which is set up in bedroom. Make coffee. Current words: 7214. Average needed per day to reach 50,000 words: 3096.

10.20am: First 20-minute sprint nets 596 words.

10.33am: Laptop decides to run update and restart, as time obviously set to ‘whatever is most inconvenient to user’. Thankfully managed to save work – this time.

10.43am: Laptop still updating. Pour glass of iced tea, accept sympathetic nudges from cat.

10.49am: Laptop still updating. Bugger the tea, I’m back onto the coffee. Desktop PC switched on, time used to research police procedure to investigate the disappearance of a teenager.

10.53am: Paranoia regarding previous search sets in. Caffeine overload suspected as contributing factor. Decide against emailing cop friend with further questions. For the time being.

10.55am: Cat sits on keyboard. His supportive sympathy has clearly run out.

11.08am: Back on freshly updated laptop. Desktop remains on due to shaky nature of laptop updates. Cat attempts to control keyboard, and is shut out of bedroom.

11.28am: Second 20-minute sprint (plus time before update) brings word count to 1478 for the day.

11.29am: Cat begins meowing outside bedroom door. I ignore him.

11.30am: Cat begins yowling outside bedroom door. I ignore him.

11.32am: Cat appears to have crafted an amplification device out of household objects. I ignore him, but cats start working their way into my story. I don’t want cats in my story.

11.35am: Cat has built a battering ram. Bedroom door becoming unstable.

11.37am: Silence, sweet silence.

11.38am: Cat seems to have raided cutlery drawer and is dragging forks down outside of bedroom door. Word count has not increased at the same rate of cat-related frustration.

11.40am: Silence. Need more iced tea. Open door, cat sitting innocently outside door, having secreted amplifier, battering ram and door-scratcher in unknown place. I close door behind me, not allowing cat to enter. I have won.

11.45am: Back at laptop. Cat now outside, yowling at bedroom window. Ignore cat. Ignore cat. IGNORE CAT.

12 noon: Lunch break. Word count for day: 1730. Cat back inside. Has decided to take out frustration on other cat.

12.30pm: Re-enter bedroom to work, then leave to collect CD I forgot to bring from lounge room.

12.31pm: Cat curled up asleep on bed, taking advantage of unattended, open bedroom door.

12.32pm: Notice bathmat lying in the middle of the bedroom. Not where I left it. Notice laptop is no longer hibernating. Cat has again attempted hostile takeover of keyboard.

12.33pm: Take cat to lounge room. Shut lounge room door. Shut bedroom door. Turn on CD. Write.

1pm: Still writing.

1.30pm: Still writing. Moral argument with self about whether including a passage made up entirely of rearranged song lyrics is plagiarism. Decide to deal with that later.

2.15pm: Drink break. Cat sits on kitchen table with back to me. I ignore him.

2.17pm: More writing. Get on a run with a major scene, until...

3.40pm: Minor panic as child has not arrived home from school. Remember play date. Celebrate extending writing time with more writing.

5.10pm: After several blissfully uninterrupted hours of writing, I’ve cracked 10,000 words in total, and 5000 for the day – just. Total word count: 12,272. Average daily word count required: About 2700.

5.15pm: Drive to collect child, return home, and cook dinner, satisfied with the day's results.

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