30 Days of NaNoWriMo – Day 9: The Art of the Quick Recovery

LS-NaNoWriMoProgress-11.9.14Where I Wrote: I started in City Hall Park, but, when I needed to search for a restroom, I wound up walking back to South Street Seaport, where I found Cannon’s Walk.

How I Feel About What I Wrote: Really good, although, more than any other day, I was aware that what I wrote needs a good edit for consistency. I breezed through a short… sneaking segment (I guess you could call it) that I want to round out. I then introduced another villain with, in contrast, an extremely detailed description. Didn’t really feel fair to the sneaking segment.

The Mood I Brought to the Table: After yesterday, incredibly reluctant and expecting failure.

The Experience: If there’s one thing I’m weary of doing on here, it’s being really depressing. I definitely don’t want to bring anyone’s mood down with what I write, so I apologize for bringing the funk yesterday. But I definitely wasn’t going to lie about how I felt; I don’t want to fabricate any of these posts–create drama and manufacture good vibes–because I’m not writing a story for you here. I’m just being honest and open for once, with total strangers because that’s something that kind of scares me–something I never would have done even just a few months back.

So, believe me when I say that I did not want to head out today. My morning was slow and rife with minor maintenance–the completion of small goals that meant putting off going outside and writing. Today, more than any other day, I wanted to succumb to that tired voice that pleaded, “You can just write here. You can play some more Binding of Isaac and then get to writing later. Your one friend is going to be on at some point and you can finish the Nightfall in Destiny. And even if you don’t get around to writing today, you can write tomorrow.”

At which point I started throwing on my clothes. It was too tempting. I wanted to do the silent wallow–fall into that same void I fell into when I got my first rejection letter. A week–at least–of not writing because I’d just been defeated by something.

So heading outside anyway and jumping on the train regardless was more of an experiment than anything else. Did I need that week to recover? Would I fail to find a new writing spot and go home defeated again, or possibly find a spot and just not be able to write?

I had absolutely no plan for a location. The morning saw me second-guessing every possible spot I could think of. When I was finally on the train, I just rode past transfer points for a number of different spots I thought I’d try.

In the end, I opted for City Hall Park.


Simple and inviting, the above fountain had benches around it, loosely occupied. I took a seat, took out my tablet, decided to give it a shot.

And the words came. Despite the uncertainty, they came easily and comfortably. Actually, not just comfortably–comforting; the more I wrote, the better my mood got. Pretty soon I was smiling, probably looking just… super weird to the families that walked by, but eh.

Of course, the usual problems arose. Not the cold; I was determined to just deal with that because I’m tired of migrating for it. However, after about an hour, I needed a bathroom. There are no public restrooms nearby (although I didn’t look in the park itself, so maybe I’m wrong). Instead, I tried a Starbucks across the street and then a nearby Dunkin Donuts, determined to just come right back.

Instead, I migrated to one spot that I knew had public restrooms–South Street Seaport. It was not a long walk, and after the rest room, I thought, “Maybe Pier 15 again?”

But that’s when I saw a sign for the Cannon Walk.

“The Cannon’s Walk.” My eyes narrowed. I’d seen the same signs on Day 3. Was it a Chelsea Market kind of deal? Maybe they’d have seats? I shrugged. Walked in. Checked it out.


And found this. Accessible by a door on Fulton St. (between Water St. and Front St.), the Cannon’s Walk was an… enclosed, public… alleyway? There was a bench, a few tables, doors that led into stores and (likely) the Seaport Museum, and absolutely no one around. Well, there were people from the stores and Museum walking around, moving stuff, but those who saw me never told me I had to leave or put back the table I’d dragged over to the one bench. I suppose the best way to sum it up was there were very, very few people, and those who stumbled through didn’t care to stop and take a breather. Or let their kids loose on the one bench. Or feed the squirrels. It was calm, enclosed enough that it wasn’t cold (at least until night fell) and, most of all, comfortable.

So I wrote, getting over quota for the first time in days.

And all after fighting myself to go out at all.

And so, I had my answer–clear and indisputable data from my experiment. I didn’t need the recovery time. I didn’t need to wallow. I never have. In fact, that recovery time, in which I’d put off writing–the one, sure fire thing that makes me happy–only made those ruts worse. And, really, of course they did. It’s so easy to miss something so simple, but, of course.

All I actually needed to do to recover from those failures was to just get right back up.


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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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