30 Days of NaNoWriMo – Day 7: Nearly Perfect

LS-NaNoWriMoProgress-11.7.14Where I Wrote: Another crawl (these are becoming the norm). I tried the City Bakery first but they were full. From there, I found a few spots on the High Line and then ended in Chelsea Market (that is, not in one of the restaurants in Chelsea Market, but a spot in the market’s main strip).

How I Feel About What I Wrote: Good. Today was a bit of filler, but not bad filler; I cleaned up and then finished a time transition that could’ve been awkward. I also made a few decisions that led me to a solid, weird idea for Chapter 4, which I’m really excited to start tomorrow.

The Mood I Brought to the Table: Pleased. I was glad to be out again. I was particularly excited to try the City Bakery and the High Line.

The Experience: Cold. So cold.

So, the only bad part about NaNoWriMo is that it’s in November. I didn’t realize this was a draw back until earlier today. Not when I went out and found that it was a bit chilly; that was fine because it meant I could finally justify a long-drooled-over return to the City Bakery (not really though, because their amazing hot chocolate is seriously $7 [I don’t know how I forgot that, but one thing’s for sure–I still bought that hot chocolate and enjoyed the hell out of it]). So, no, the slight chill was fine, I thought.

But then, after finding the City Bakery jam packed, I decided to try the High Line. And, holy shit. I’ve been to the High Line before, but never to look for writing spots. What did I find?

The High Line…


… is lousy…


… with writing spots.

The problem is, these spots are obviously opened to the air, and, today, that meant they were pretty frigid. My first spot was not so bad:


The theater on 17th is recessed enough that there was no wind. Sitting down at the foot of the very bottom step, the view out of those large windows was also pretty awesome:


It was very–very–nearly perfect.

But then the rain started. I don’t want to make that sound like a disaster because it did not kill the session. It did mean I had to migrate south on the High Line until I reached an underpass where vendors are usually set up. There are two levels on that underpass, and near the southern end of the bottom level, there’s this ridiculous, scenic seating area that would have been amazing.


Would have been if it wasn’t freezing. That’s why I wish NaNoWriMo wasn’t in November. To immediately clarify, I don’t blame NaNoWriMo–I think the challenge is amazing and I’m really glad I’m a part of it. More to the point, my decision to find writing spots outside for NaNoWriMo was my decision alone, not theirs, so I really am not criticizing.

In fact, I’m completely acknowledging how unrealistic my need was to write on that insane balcony, with the clouds and the sun shining behind them. And an almost comically dramatic American flag waving in the background. I mean, come on… Man do I wish I could’ve written there. But that’s what Summer ’15 is for, I suppose.

Still, the session was not over and at no point did I consider just giving up; I’ve thrown in the towel on other days because I didn’t want to burn straight through a handful of potential spots in a row to no avail. But today, having seriously spent more time taking pictures than writing at this point, I had to head indoors to Chelsea Market.

I didn’t take any pictures there (it was way too crowded and would’ve been crazy awkward), but Chelsea Market was today’s winning spot. There are public bathrooms there and restaurants all around for when the inevitable thirst and hunger crop up. But, most importantly for writers, there was free seating. Everywhere. Somehow I hadn’t realized it before, but there’s free seating in front of many of the Market’s shops. And it’s oddly easy to nab one of those seats; the milling crowds paid way less attention to them than I expected.

I passed through once and easily nabbed a seat in front of a clothing shop. And there, I wrote until I felt I had to stop again, the endless murmuring of the crowds a comfortable background noise.

Somewhere, I’m pleased at finding such a good spot in a place that I wasn’t expecting; Chelsea Market was absolutely an after thought when I headed out earlier–a place I would head to if I needed coffee maybe. And yet, I did nearly all of my work there. There’s a part of me that sees that irony and understands it and determines to be more open and accepting of what I perceive as lesser writing spots–to not play up and deify places I know will be awesome.

But at the same time, seriously with that American flag already! Are you kidding me!?

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Louis Santiago

I'm a fantasy writer based in New York. One of my short stories, "Aixa the Hexcaster," was published at Mirror Dance Fantasy. You can read it here: http://www.mirrordancefantasy.com/2016/09/aixa-hexcaster.html.

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