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Writing Underway

Now that I have successfully reached 50000 words this November, and another Nanowrimo win, I can breathe a sigh of relief. Because I have to admit that trying to write a novel while undertaking one of the most challenging ocean passages of our trip might not have been the best idea.

Being underway seems like the perfect time to write. Most non-sailors don’t realize that most of the time underway is spent doing more or less nothing. Cruising boats are set up to drive themselves – on Scream we have two different tools for self-steering, a windvane and an electric autopilot, and we are almost always using one of these. On an ocean passage out jobs are mainly are just making sure that we are more or less on course and that everything is working correctly. You’d think that would leave lots of time for other activities, like writing.

The reality is that even though most of our time is spent just hanging out, it’s not that simple. It’s tough to hang on to a laptop in rolling seas, especially when we take the occasional unpredictable wave into the cockpit. And working down below, while it seems like the ideal solution, is a recipe for seasickness.

On our passage from Tonga to New Zealand, I was hoping to write 1500-2000 words a day. As it turned out, I managed the following on the ten day trip:

  • Day 1: 0
  • Day 2: 435
  • Day 3: 1,964
  • Day 4: 1,169
  • Day 5: 1,878
  • Day 6: 1,588
  • Day 7: 0
  • Day 8: 1,520
  • Day 9: 2,046
  • Day 10: 0

You can see pretty clearly the days when things were a little rough.

Happily, I’ve been getting lots of writing time in now that we are safely here in Opua, New Zealand. It’s nice to be able to relax, and now that I’ve got the win firmly under my belt, I can concentrate on finishing the story. And enjoying the land of plenty.

Comments? Talk to me via twitter, @darusha.

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