Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Believe it or not, this blog started as a romance novel. No, really.

About a year ago, my very good friends Hbunny and K1rk told me about the National Write a Novel in a Month organization and talked me into participating. This group urges participants to “write 50,000 words in 30 days.” The whole premise is founded on the notion that you should write your first novel and then promptly throw it into the trash.

I spent the waning days of October 2006 preparing to finally knuckle down and write my first romance novel. In retrospect, my arrogance was stunning. I like reading romance novels. They seem formulaic enough. I am an experienced technical writer, so I know how to write. I am an experienced documentation manager so I can edit just about anything. I have lots of ideas. I'm smart. I'm literate. I have a computer. I have a word processor. What the hell else could I need?

One week into November, it was clear that what I needed was a completely different personal history, a tremendous amount of self-discipline, and possibly a brain transplant with Jayne Krentz. By day nine, I admitted defeat. I was two pages into my romance novel and nearly 10,000 words into a series of increasingly acerbic vignettes about the horrors of homeschooling, boat life, and sailing. I fired a few of these off to my mother and a few friends, who promptly told me that this – THIS – was what I was meant to do.

I made it to only 23,000 words last year. Instead of a novel, I produced the raw materials for roughly two thirds of the articles you've seen on this blog since January. Some of my best ideas – including the two articles recently published in northwest boating magazines – originated during that fateful month. I also came to grips with the fact that my inner muse is not really so much a Julia Quinn or Jude Devereux but rather more like a David Barry and Erma Bombeck.

This year, Hbunny is not forgiving. He says I can sign up for NaNoWriMo, but it's not right for me to put the logo on my site. So this is the only time you'll see it. Starting November 1, I will disgorge roughly 2,000 words per day in a raw uncensored flow of boat life crap. Lucky for the faithful readers of this blog, I have no intention of posting any of it until December. I'm afraid you'll have to make do for the next month with back links to my older, more favored articles and outlinks to those of fellow cruisers whose blogs I follow semi-religiously.

Editor's Note: Bethany's comment made me realize I wasn't completely clear... I've prepared roughly a dozen small "look at this" posts that I'll dribble out during November. These will point you to my favorite cruising sites, general purpose blogs, and my own favorite articles from the first six months for my new readers. It won't go dark.

Use your time wisely, my friends. When I get back from NaNoWriMo, the holding tank contents are likely to hit the heater vent.


Laureen said...

You're a better man than I. I did NaNo last year, and it was great, but there's no way I can pull that level of effort out this year. I'm gonna miss it, but hey, maybe next year...

Bethany said...

We'll miss you, but will check back in Dec. I've only been able to find links to a couple of cruisers from your site. Do you have a hidden stash? Do share!

Toast said...

Okay, yeah. Laureen has been getting on to me about that. I have two "hidden" shares, actually. One is in my RSS feeder (Shrook) and the other is publically available on del.icio.us at: http://del.icio.us/toastfloats.

But point taken! *laughs* I'll feature my favorites but also do a techtip on del.icio.us.

BTW, I'm not actually going to post nothing... I'm just going have one paragraph "go look at this I like it" snippets for the month. I've already written about a dozen.

Anonymous said...

Bwahahahaha...this was a crack-up b/c I once aspired to NaNoWriMo myself. I might have paid a dollar or two to read - or see the movie version of! - the pitiful romance novel I might have been able to come up with. Not sure I like what it says about me that I'm not capable of the genre, although if fleece-ripping were as sexy as bodice-ripping, I might have something to work with.

Dish, by the way, sent me the toastfloats.com link yesterday. Is it just me, or have you redesigned the site since then??

Fun! Funny! Amusing! A good laugh!
Someday I'll be famous and you can quote this.

Kaaren Yaku
Dish's sis-in-law
long ago WatchGuard intern

Toast said...

Well not since yesterday, no. Hehe. This version design-wise is about 6 months old. I swap out the content on some of the pages monthly such as the schedule, about paragraph, and any new publications.

Anonymous said...

Huh...seems like there used to be a "Home" link at the top and the left menu had clickable links to your "titles" - "sailor," "consultant," etc. Must be thinking of something else.

Your daughters are beautiful.