Go! Go! NaNoWriMo!

Today is November 15th; we’re half-way through the month of November.

I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year, but I have done it a couple of times in the past. The middle of the month can be a bit disheartening. The initial burst of enthusiasm has worn off but the finish line is still a long ways out.

But on the other hand, you’re half-way there! Half-way to this crazy wonderful euphoric feeling of “Hot damn, I did it! I wrote a novel in a month! I so ROCK!!!”

Writing 1700 words/day sounds easy until you start to do it, every single day. It isn’t easy. But you’ve been doing it; you can continue to do it! It’s SO worth continuing to do it!!

I salute each and every one of you who is undertaking this worthwhile challenge. Keep churning out words!!!

The Year Without A NaNoWriMo

Back in October I wrote on this blog that I’d decided to do NaNoWriMo this year (depressingly that post is only three down the page from this one. (Must…write…more…blog…entries). Keen observers will note that although we are 2/3s of the way through November, no further mention of NaNo has been made. No word count trackers have appeared. No status reports. No nuttin’.

So why’d I decide in the end to reverse my decision and not do NaNo this year? Well first of all, the decision to do it made on Oct. 15th came from without, not within. I’d been talking to a few friends of mine who encouraged me to do it, and their enthusiasm was infectious enough that I caught it. And maybe for some people that’s enough. Heck it might have been enough for me some other year. But not this year.

I’d been approaching November assuming I’d do NaNo since I’d done it the past two years. Assuming I’d do it, and dreading the idea. I kept telling myself that I’d get pumped for it and it would be an exciting challenge once again. But I never got pumped. And without being enthusiastic to do it in the first place, I realized the whole month would just be a misery, so I opted out.
Continue reading “The Year Without A NaNoWriMo”

NaNo 2006, Day 30

I hit my 50K a few days ago, just as a bitch of a cold/flu bug was hitting. I barely remember those last words, but I got past the goal line and called it quits. It’s taken me since then to get to feeling well enough to post about the experience.

I went into NaNo pretty damned cocky this year and paid the price. I tried to tell a story that really should’ve had three strong plotlines, but I was trying to write it as one, and with no kind of plan or outline. And I decided I’d go for 60K, which is 2000 words/day instead of 1670ish words/day. That difference adds up.

I hope that next year around September I come back to read this post. My advice will be to find a simpler tale to tell. The book I was trying to write would’ve never fit in 50,000 words and it wasn’t nearly as satisfying to be writing half, or a third, of a story. My book from last year was a small tale, but I think an enjoyable one. I plan to dig it out and do some re-writing and edits on it in the months to come. This year’s NaNo is probably just going to be filed away forever…

My next big goal now, is to make writing a part of my life. Not sure a November kind of thing. That was my plan last year too, and I didn’t do so well. But, well, I guess I just have to keep trying.

A hearty congratulations to my fellow NaNoWriMo participants. Whether you did 50K or not, if you put your heart into and gave it your all, you are a winner! And I hope to see you all again next year!

NaNo 2006, Day 24

After talking to some friends, and pondering the question myself, I’ve decided to downgrade my NaNo Wordcount Target from 60,000 to the ‘official’ 50K of NaNoWriMo. I’ve determined that 50,000 words in a month is more than enough for me.

The story I’m telling won’t be finished at 50K and wouldn’t be finished at 60K, and honestly I’ve tried to tell a story that is, for now at least, beyond my abilities as a writer. Or at least beyond my abilities to write quickly. So I’m taking it to 50K, earning my little ‘Winner’ icon and then I’m going to stash it somewhere. Maybe I’ll come back to it in a few years and have the skill to rewrite it, but if I do, I’m fairly confident it’d be a 100%, start-from-scratch rewrite. Which makes pushing on to 60K seem even more pointless.

I’m looking forward to taking a few days off, then getting started on some other, smaller, projects.

NaNo 2006, Day 20

Figured I’d better check in. I crossed the 40,000 word point today, which is pretty much right on schedule if I’m aiming for 60,000 words. Honestly though, I can’t wait for this to be over.

No, this isn’t one of my whiny NaNo posts, though goodness knows there’ve been enough of those this year. This is my wanting it be over for all the right reasons.

The book this year sucks. And yes, I know all the platitudes along the lines of “The first draft of everything is shit.” (As Hemingway said.) But I’m working on the first draft of nothing. I have no passion or interest in the story I’m telling, as is. I think there’re the germs of two or three ideas buried in it and maybe some day I’ll pull them out and play with them individually. But what I’m writing is a train wreck and I’m 2/3rds of the way through. If it was going to get better it would’ve started by now.

I’m eager for NaNo to be over because I’m eager to set this aside and start something new. That I have this desire to write something else, something better, means that in a very real sense I’ve already “won” NaNoWriMo. I’ve rekindled the passion. I can’t wait for the next thing I’m going to write, even though I have no idea what it’ll be. It’ll be better than this, though, because I’ll spend some time planning it.

Very early on in this book I realized I needed to square away the backstory and do some worldbuilding if the tale I was telling was going to remain coherent, but I didn’t have time to do that, so I just started throwing words at the page. It’s the same way I worked things last year, but last year’s story was much simpler. So I learned something this year, and that’s a feather in my cap, too.

I can’t wait for NaNo to be over, so I can get started writing.

NaNo 2006, Day 16

It’s been a hectic couple of days and I haven’t found the time to get to the Novel. And that’s my fault, but it took my dear friend J to point that out to me. I continue to treat the novel as something I do when I have nothing else to do. And yet, it’s important to me. Very important.

I need to make it a priority. To make time for it. We’re past the half-way point now. I’m running out of days for ‘making up lost time.’

The good news is, I finished the last article I have due last night (I hope, at least. The editor could always request rewrites). So for now I have no other writing committments.

Another bit of wisdom I heard was about when to write… and basically the answer was “Whenever you have a free moment.” This came in a round-about way from Cory Doctorow via Mur Lafferty, in a piece she did in a daily NaNoWriMo podcast where she shunned the idea of writing rituals. I’m a little guilty of being ritual bound. I have to have a block of time set aside to write in. I’m trying to break out of that mold and write a bit in the cracks and crevices of my day. A hundred words here, a hundred and fifty there…they add up, right?

NaNo 2006, Day 13

And then sometimes, magic just happens.

My Main Character and a Secondary sought refuge in the kitchen of a tavern today. There was a storm raging outside, and the Secondary is a little scared of storms so she started chatting, just to take her mind off things.

And she ended up telling my MC all about things that had happened in the past leading to their present situation. She answered so many questions I had. I mean, I can’t use her words verbatim in a final book because it really ended up being a huge info-dump, but it was like someone else was typing the words…

She even filled the MC in on the backstory of some of the other Secondaries…

Wow… that was just… cool.

NaNo 2006, Day 11

Want to know something say? I sat there and counted on my fingers to figure out what the Day # was for this post… instead of, y’know, looking at a calendar.

Today was a bitch but I got caught up. And I had a few sessions that exhibited signs of flow too. Thank goodness, because other sessions (I had four or five sessions today) were as painfull as could be. Every word had to be pulled out of some back corner of my brain.

Anyway I wanted to look at this widget, so you can too:

NaNo 2006, Day 9 (?)

So, no progress on the NaNovel today. It’s depressing to see that ‘words behind’ number grow, let me tell you.

But I realized I was so fractured that I wasn’t getting anything done because I was trying to do everything at once. So tonight instead of NaNoing I finished up an article that’s been kicking my ass. It’s one I never really wanted to do; I just kind of fell into it. Someone asked me if I would be interested in doing it and I think I said “Maybe” or something, and she took that as a yes and the next thing I knew it was my assignment.

Anyway I just sent it off. Hopefully it’ll be accepted as is and I’ll be done with it. It wasn’t due until next Monday. I have another due the following Monday but then I’m free of writing obligations aside from NaNo. (Well, I’m waiting on a piece of loaner equipment for another piece, but I’ll worry about that when it arrives.) Anyway, my *hope* is that I can quiet my mind and use Friday evening-Saturday-Sunday as pure NaNoveling time. Alternatively I might jump on the other article and get that going and get it done early…we’ll see.

When last I wrote, my novel had taken yet another turn, and a pretty fun one. I’m not going back to read anything because that makes editing way too tempting. But I know in my heart that the first 7-8000 words I wrote will be cut if I ever try to polish this up into a submittable book. It took that long to get the flow going.

In other news, my apologies to those friends out there who’re leaving me comments and not having them show up. The damned spammers are killing me, again. It takes a long time to filter through the spam and find the legit comments. I saw an article in Wired a few months back about an infamous spammer who was found bludgeoned to death. I know this doesn’t reflect very well on me, but all I thought when I read that was “Good, he deserved it.” When you make your living by irritating the hell out of people…you have to be building up a pretty damned big karmic debt.