From the NaNoWriMo Sidelines

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For the first time ever, MEH (My Engineer Husband) is typing this post for me. You may wonder why… so I’ll tell you. The thing is, I’m not that into sports—and I don’t think know I’ve never written a blog about sports. But if you thought about NaNoWriMo as a sport (stay with me here) then you could think of this blog post as my very first one about sports. Except it’s technically not about sports. It’s about sports injuries. And being on the injured reserved list….and having a pinch writer…if NaNoWriMo was a sport, and I was the injured player.

By now you’re probably wondering where this is going.

As I wrote in last week’s post, I was going gangbusters with NaNo. By early today, in fact, I was scheduled (by the NaNoWriMo website itself) to finish my 50,000 words by November 28th. That was after I wrote 2,000 words this morning, bringing my grand total to 28,907 words since November 1st. Bringing my total WIP to just shy of 53,000 words.

I admit I was getting a little cocky. I thought I had it all sewn up. The win was in my column (or is it corner?). Okay, there’s a reason I haven’t written about sports.

Here’s how it went down. MEH and I made a team decision to run to the health food store to buy…well, I can’t tell you what we were buying because it’s a present for my daughter and she might read this post. Anyway, we had a frustrating trip to the health food store, with some guy stopping in front of us at every turn, with no regard for the rules of the game. I even said “excuse me” a few times when I was trying to pass, but he blocked me every time.

Finally, after paying, we were on our way. I expressed my frustration to MEH who said: “you mean the guy with the blue shirt… yeah, he was in my way all the time too, so annoying.” We got in our car—MEH in the driver’s seat, me in the passenger’s, and as I did something out of the corner of my eye made me turn, flinch, choke, and I noticed a car pulling sharply into the parking place next to ours. I pulled my door closed suddenly, afraid he might hit the car door.

And that’s when it happened: I slammed three of my fingers into the top of the car door as I pulled it closed. OUCH. It’s been a few years since I’ve done anything like that, and let me tell you, it hurt like HELL. I cried, I admit it, and it took me more than a few seconds to tell MEH what happened. When I did, I cradled my injured hand and cried:


Okay, that’s a lie. The first thing out of my mouth was: “D*** S*** F***,” repeat (but I didn’t really say asterisk of course). I’m pretty sure I’d have made a hockey player proud. Although I really did cry. A lot.

When I was finished crying and cursing about Mr. Blue Shirt—who let’s face it was the cause of the problem, not that I’m a sore loser or anything, MEH (being the champ he is) said, “I’ll type for you.”

Then we drove home where—lucky for me—my son was visiting and he (being 3/4 of a doctor and all) examined my fingers and assured me that rest, ice, and Advil was the best treatment. “Rest?” I asked. And that’s when I did cry out “NaNoWriMo” and when my son said “NaNo-what?” And MEH told me again he’d be my pinch-writer.

I took the Advil and promised I’d wait to type until morning, when all would once again be good in NaNoWriMo land.

And that, dear reader, is why MEH is typing this post for me. Which is a good thing because he’s a lot more into sports than I am.

Have you every had a writing related injury that forced you to take a break (or find a pinch writer)?





  1. If I weren’t so sad about your poor fingers, I’d have laughed my D*** S*** F*** arse off. Because you (and MEH?) did a great job with the sports analogies. While I played various sports in high school and still like to watch professional sports, I admit to knowing little about the true, intricate rules of football (even though, yes, I dated football players). But in my second professional job, I found myself taking defensive stats in the press box during games as the public relations director for a small PA college. I had told myself that I needed to learn the SID (sport information director)’s job since he reported to me. Well, uh … I only did stats once. Too many numbers piled up on top of one another each time they tackled one another. Too stressful. And frankly, Mike the SID knew his job damn well. Yeah, I’ll stick to letters … As long, of course, as my fingers aren’t swollen from some D*** S*** F*** in a blue shirt. 😉 Get well soon. And keep rocking the NaNo numbers!!!

    • It’s okay to laugh at the D***,S***,F***, I know I did, haha. Really. Laughing and crying. Hysterical. Thank you for the the kudos on the analogies, it was a group effort for sure! Those STATS. Yikes, my head would spin. I had to do that once for field hockey (my daughter’s) and I was terrible. Ended up making a few things up… mostly about fouls, just couldn’t get it! As you say, stressful. Yes, that DSF blue shirt was, well, I’ll tell you via email 😉

      The fingers are still very sore, btw, but I’m loading up on Advil and rocking the words today… and may try Dragon Dictation (thanks again Christine!).

  2. Lisa says:

    Oh no! I’ve had finger related injuries, but I have usually had to resort to the hunt and peck method of one finger writing. Sometimes Nathan has typed for me, but I don’t know that it would work for NaNo since it’s all kind of just coming through me and bypassing my actual brain somehow. (Bet you are just dying to read this manuscript now).

    I hope your fingers are functional soon. MEH is a good guy.


    • My fingers are much better but still very sore to type unfortunately. Like you, my words come through me, bypassing my brain, so I know just what you mean. I think today I’ll either be typing through the pain or trying dictation (thank you Christine!) for the first time. And yes to both these: dying to read your ms AND MEH’s a good guy 🙂

  3. Christine M Grote says:

    Ouch. It hurts me just to think about it. I have two words for you: Dragon Dictate.
    And also that I think your husband is a sweetie. I’ll tell you one of the last things my mom ever told me. Marrying YEH is one of the smartest things you ever did.

    Now, get going on your dictation.

    • Christine, that’s BRILLIANT!!!! I will definitely be trying Dragon, never even thought of it! And, I agree, MEH is a sweetie. And your Mom’s comment… well, brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much 🙂

  4. Eliza says:

    Oh no! My stomach is sick just thinking about it! But you are so close – keep going! (so I can say that I have an awesome writer friend who squashed NaNoWriMo!!)


    • It was a pretty sickening moment, I’m not going to lie. Advil is helping tons and I do plan to squash NaNo… and you’re such a wonderfully awesome supportive writer friend, Eliza 🙂

  5. Aw, I’m so sorry! I’ve suffered from tendonitis in my wrists off and on over the years, but unfortunately my husband isn’t the best typist (not to mention that I write while he’s at work). I did get Dragon Naturally Speaking, but I just hate that thing. I don’t have the patience necessary to teach it my diction and get it “trained” (yes, training my Dragon) enough for it to actually help me. As it is, it’s so mistake-ridden that I have to do more work fixing it than I would just typing. =/ I hope your fingers get better soon!

    • Tendonitis sounds painful.. so sorry, Annie. I have only used Dragon for short things, and you make a good point that it may take too long to train/fix, so I know I may need to wait until NaNo is over for that experiment. Luckily only one finger is still giving me pain, and Advil is helping, as is not typing any letters typed with that finger. Could be an interesting section of the story 😉

  6. Oh, Julia, that’s terrible! I hope your fingers feel better soon. I’d have cursed the same blue streak (and probably worse) if it had me, 😉 I really dislike people getting in my way like that. I had a similar finger/car door injury when I was 18, but it required a trip to the emergency room. I can’t recall if I didn’t type, but I probably didn’t for awhile. Anyway, hope you feel better soon!

    • Thank you Mahesh! Only one finger is really bothering me now, and Advil plus four-finger typing is actually helping 😉 Yes, cursing a blue streak helps and also lightens the situation, haha. And what is with the number of rude people in the grocery store these days? Definitely a pet peeve! Your 18-y-o trip to the emergency room sounds like it was very painful. How do we do these things??

  7. Oh, Julia! I’m so sorry about your poor little fingers, but what an entertaining post. And what a precious husband you have! I know you’ll reach that finish line one way or another. Cheering you on, friend! xo

    • Glad to have entertained you, Jolina! With or without injured fingers, that’s always wonderful to hear 🙂 Thank you for the writerly friend support, I really appreciate it! (p.s. My fingers are just about back to normal now, and I agree, my husband is a gem!)

  8. Oh, no! I’m sorry that this happened to you, Julia, but this is the funniest post about a sports injury. MEH is a champ for “pinch hitting” (you can ask him) for your blog post and NaNo writing. I’ve never had that happen to me, but Reggie assures me that he’d help out, even though he doesn’t have opposable thumbs.

    Hope you’re better soon!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, Jackie! MEH is indeed a champ at pinch hitting and may even have gotten a bit of the writing bug whilst helping me out…not ready for NaNo but maybe a blog post in his future? Reggie may not have opposable thumbs but his heart and mind are willing, I’m sure — and if we could invent a mind control feature for our keyboards, his would be a story I’d want to read!

  9. Cynthia Robertson says:

    Ouch! Your poor fingers, Julia. Glad they weren’t broken, at least.
    Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I have hurt myself so bad I couldn’t write. It sucked! I thought I’d go nuts.
    Hope your fingers are all better soon.

  10. Karen Wojcik Berner says:

    Oh, no, Julia! Don’t worry. We “lame” NaNoWriMo” participants can stick together, swallowing our pain medication and a cup of tea. Hope your fingers heal well. 🙂

  11. Oh ouch! I hope the fingers feel better soon. You know you’re a writer when the first thing you think of after a finger injury is Nanowrimo!

    • Thanks, Charlotte! The fingers are doing much better today, only one still smarting a bit. And yes, the thought of NaNo was almost immediate… although I felt a bit foolish about it as I was crying with pain. Thanks for the visit (and comment) to my blog!

  12. OMG. Julia. Slamming fingers in a car door is something I can barely bring myself to think about. I’m so sorry that happened to you, and Mr. Blue Shirt sounds like what Brian refers to as a Klingon. Bah.

    And yet, despite my empathy for your pain and frustration, this post was unbelievably entertaining to read! I almost spit my coffee laughing when I got to the swearing part. And my heart warmed over when I read about MEH volunteering to be your pinch hitter. That rocks!

    I had a pinched nerve in my right arm last year that went on for MONTHS, resistant to all treatment no matter how diligent I was, so I understand how you feel. Especially right during NaNo when you were doing so well with it. I hope you can recover your stride very soon. Good luck, Julia!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, Milli! I remember when you had the pinched nerve and how frustrating (and painful) it was. Luckily, my fingers are (incredibly to me) almost back to normal with just one still smarting every so slightly while typing. It won’t deter me from finishing NaNo, especially not with the support and cheering of good writer friends. Thank you! And so nice to see you!

  13. Ouch! (It’s amazing how expansive those *asterisks* can be…) So glad your fingers are feeling better. (Btw, have you heard of “Traumeel?” It’s a dandy homeopathic ointment for just that sort of thing.) MEH was very sweet to help you out. Good luck with NaNo!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post (and yes, asterisks are expansive and useful too, haha). I haven’t heard of Traumeel, but really appreicate the suggestion. I just hope i don’t have to go back to the health food store to find it 😉 If so I’ll call ahead to make sure Mr. Blue Shirt isn’t there!

  14. OMG, Julia, I am SO sorry! That must’ve been so painful…I cringe for you just thinking about it. I admire your resolve to keep NaNoing, though. I would’ve been a total baby about it and just given up, right then and there. And MEH has earned like, 10,000 cool points in my book for being so supportive and typing for you.

    I hope you’re feeling better soon! And that the rest of the month is a little more uneventful, in a good way 😉

    • The fingers are all but healed… only the very tip is sore when I type… thanks for the well wishes! But BELIEVE ME I was a TOTAL baby about it. I think it took me a good few minutes to pull myself together enough to speak. I’ll pass your cool points onto MEH — I agree 🙂

      • OOOUUUCCHHH. Poor, poor Julia. Bless your little typing heart. Maybe you can dictate? I guess you’ve figured out something by now. Once as a teen living at home I shut the large, semi-truck length door of my mother’s 2DR Impala on my pinky. I was standing there in the driveway with my finger locked in the door. All I could do was scream for my mother inside, hoping she could hear me and run out with a key. So glad your finger wasn’t broken. Have a great time with your family. And glad it looks like the last comment, you are well on your way to 100 percent typing form.