Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chicago, NaNoWriMo, and write-ins -- oh my!

Last week, my husband and I went to Chicago.  It was a mix of both vacation and research for my novels, as I was beginning to feel that I shouldn't be writing about a city that I've never actually been to.  We were there for three nights (with an 18-hour train ride on either end, making it a week-long trip).  We did a few of the typical touristy things, such as riding the Ferris wheel on Navy Pier and going to the Field Museum, but quite a bit of what we did -- riding the el, walking around the city, taking a tour, and visiting several former speakeasies from the 20s -- were planned with my novels in mind.

The trip fueled not only my research efforts, but also my motivation, and while we were there I worked a bit on researching and outlining the second half of the second novel.  We came home Saturday, which was excellent timing, since NaNoWriMo starts tonight.  I've had a mild case of post-vacation laziness since we got back, helped along by the fact that I'm fighting off a cold and feeling somewhat under the weather as a result, but I have hope that the start of NaNoWriMo will reenergize me.

I am getting slightly more involved in NaNoWriMo this year than I have in the past.  I had actually thought of acting as an ML (municipal liaison, one of the official organizers for local events), but I didn't get my application in on time.  That's just as well, since I have been so busy, but I am still planning on being involved.  My biggest contribution is that I have organized a weekly Friday night write-in at a local Perkins restaurant.  It will be the first write-in that I've ever organized myself, so I am excited!  I'll be looking for other ways to help out, too, and if all goes well, perhaps next year I will join the ML team.

Who else is participating in NaNoWriMo this year?


Kate said...

Did you have a sleeping compartment on the train? I'm considering a long-distance train trip myself, but I am worried about comfort and being active enough. How did you book? Was it a lot more expensive than flying? Sorry, I am very, very curious.

Katharine Swan said...

Hi Kate, and sorry for the long delay in responding. I've been busy with NaNo, holidays, and various other time-sucks lately.

We booked online. We did get a sleeping compartment, and I thought for the overnight, it was well worth it. The sleeping compartment made it more expensive than flying, but the same might not be true overseas -- I don't know. One way we had the bigger sleeping compartment, with our own (tiny) bathroom, and that was well worth it, too -- it gave us a little more room to move around, especially when the bunk beds were folded down. In the smaller room, the beds took nearly all the space.

The train also had a dining car and a car with a snack shop and observation lounge, so we actually did stay pretty active while on the train. Especially with the private compartment, I felt like we were much less confined (and much less crowded by other people!) than on an airplane. In Europe (I read your bio on your profile) you will probably also have wifi on the train, which will make it even better, I would think -- I would have loved to be able to get some work done while traveling.

The biggest drawback was, I think, the disorientation that lasted the rest of the day, no matter what time we disembarked. I don't remember getting that feeling after traveling by train in Europe, though, so I don't know whether it's because the trains in the U.S. aren't as smooth as in Europe, or because we were on it for longer than we were when we traveled in Europe a few years ago.


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