Monday, November 30, 2009

NaNoWriMo Thoughts...

I am sitting here in our living room, a little bleary-eyed behind my laptop, and just 500 words shy of my 50,000 word goal. There are still a few hours still left before the "official" midnight deadline, and so I decided to take a quick break and share some NaNoWriMo thoughts with you. Because there's nothing like a little last minute procrastination :)

First of all, Thanksgiving break really threw me for a loop. If my family and friends were not so dang entertaining and fantastic, and if our Thanksgiving celebration in Virginia wasn't so full of awesome-ness and love (not that it could rival last year, of course), then *maybe* I could have gotten some work done. But they were and it was and so I did zippo for four days straight. Well, not complete zippo. I did manage to squeeze in a couple hundred words of drivel while waiting to take my turn on Sequence (my new favorite game!) and during the long car ride back to New York Saturday night.

{photographic evidence of the Thanksgiving Fun can be seen here}

My punishment for all that fun? Yesterday I locked myself inside for hours upon hours and knocked out about 6,000 words. And today was a grueling day of lots of tedious Day Job tasks sandwiched between short spurts of furious writing. Because my pace has picked up so much, I worry that what I am writing should just be tossed into the garbage pronto. BUT, at least I am getting it on the page. And I am trying not to think about what a nightmare editing will be later.

Also, about 10,000 words ago, I realized that there was no way crossing the 50,000 word finish line would mean a tidy, finished novel for me. I am pretty much smack dab in the middle of my story, and so, beyond November 30th, I will need to carry on in order to really say I wrote a whole book. With that realization, my goal for tonight became more about hitting 50K words and less about actually completing the novel.

Some other random things I've learned during this crazy process:

* it's been good for me to have a daily goal. 50,000 words divided by 30 days works out to be 1,667 words a day. Sometimes I went beyond it, sometimes I was just under it (and sometimes it was Thanksgiving and I did nothing at all), but at least it was some sort of gauge as opposed to just randomly putting words on a page each day.
* keep pushing forward, don't look back. I have never had any success writing fiction before because I always handled it in the same way I write blogs or songs. Inch my way forward a few sentences, go back, clean up, repeat. You can't do that with fiction though (at least I can't) or you (I) will go crazy. If nothing else, this process has taught me the value or just writing. I've had to shelf my inner-perfectionist and let go of the icky, ugly non-perfect parts (ie: the beginning of my story does not AT ALL work with where I am now because the characters and ideas have evolved so much). That kind of stuff makes my inner-perfectionist twitch. But I've had to let it go and know that I can go back and deal with it later.
* what "the pros" say is true: the story *really does* write itself. I (foolishly) thought I knew where my characters were going and that I was in charge of the storyline, but NO. That is not true at all. These characters have minds of their own and places they want/need to go. And so they lead me. I find this absolutely fascinating!
* it's an abolsute mess and that's okay. I've had such a great time doing it! I don't know if this system would work for everyone, and I am not even sure if it "works" for me (am I creating more work for myself later by writing so haphazardly and quickly now?), but at least it got me off my butt this month and doing something I've always wanted to do. So...for that reason alone, I am thankful for the motivation and inspiration NaNoWriMo provided for me this November. I honestly don't know if I would have conquered such a task without the challenge.

Now. Back to work. almost ... there ...!

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