Wednesday, November 28, 2012

NaNoWriMo (last one!)

I made the 50,000-word challenge, working on a YA novel centered around skydiving, with the working title of The Icarus Syndrome. I haven't quite finished the novel, although I know where it's going. I also haven't re-read it. I think it's a great big steaming pile ofwell, garbage, I guess I have to saybut I won't know for sure until I've let it sit for a while and force myself to read it.

I'm in serious awe of anyone who can hold a day job and do this too. It's been consuming all my time and a great deal of my attention for four weeks. I've learned a great deal about my own writing process as well, but I'll have to ponder that for a while too before I can define exactly what that is.

This novel may never get published, but I can always look on it like a music student playing scales: I learned a lot that I can later apply to actual performance.

What kept me going through this wrenching procedure was reminding myself that if I wasn't going to be serious about this writing thing, I had no business quitting my day job. Either I'm a writer or I'm not. Time to put my money where my mouth was. I don't know whether I'll ever do it again, but at least this time, it was worth the time and effort.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

NaNoWriMo: What I've Learned So Far

1. Even though I end each day thinking that I'm all writ out and these 2,000 words are the last I'll ever write, somehow the next day I wind up writing 2,000 more.

2. The parts that I have the most fun writing are the parts that require the least editing the next day. Yes, I know you're not supposed to edit during NaNoWriMo and I haven't really edited, meaning I haven't done a read-through of what I've written since November 1 (see counter above!), but I do start off each morning by going over what I wrote the day before to give me a springboard for the new day. And I quickly saw that the skydiving parts are a lot more fun to write and a lot better than the non-skydiving parts (you can see a video of my recent jump, if you're interested).
3. My typing has improved radically! (I know; big deal, but I find it interesting.) Spellcheck has very little to do these days.

4. If I take a day off, it's hard to get back in the groove the next day. Hmmm. Maybe, despite all my protestations, there's some truth to this "write every day" thing.

5. Writing full-time is hard.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

NaNoWriMo Week Two

Everyone says that Week Two is the hardest. The NaNoWriMo site even says that in Week Three you'll be singing and in Week Four you'll be saying hallelujah. Or something like that. I'm too tired after dragging out 2,000 words one by one all day to look it up. I quit at exactly 24,000.

It really is okay if it sucks, right?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

NaNoWriMo: Checking In

Like many of my friendsand more than 200,000 people around the worldIve taken a pledge to write a 50,000-word novel this month. Since thirty days hath November and I plan to take five days off, that means 2,000 words a day.

Day 1 (Nov. 1) started with 1,695 words already written, and it took me HOURS to write the 305 I needed to fill my quota. I panicked; how could I hope to write 2,000 words the next day—and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after thatif 305 were so hard? The worry seriously disrupted my sleep. Well, plus the knowledge that I was signed up to jump out of an airplane over the weekend (different post for a different day).

Day 2: I wrote a bit over 2,000 words in six hours. OK, so its do-able, but will I do nothing but write for the whole month? No research, no going back to fix something that was keeping me stuck? I know a six-hour day is a short work day, but I usually figure that research takes up about half of my time and the actual writing takes up the other half. This novel isn’t historical fiction, so a lot less research than usual is required, but still it could easily turn into a 10-hour day.

Day 3: Jumped out of a plane in the morning (and it was research!); wrote 2,000 words by dinner (made by supportive husband). Huh! Maybe I can do it!

Day 4: Done by noon. Made an amazing dinner to celebrate.

Day 5: Tuesday. Hmmm. Conflict. Months ago I took a vow not to write on Tuesdays (three of the above-mentioned days off, the other two being Wednesday and Thursday of Thanksgiving Week). And you know what? I woke up yesterday (Tuesday) morning with lots of ideas, itching to write them down.But on the theory that my creativity flows better when I take a break from it, I resisted the lure of the manuscript all day, jotting down just enough of the ideas that came to me so that when I hit it again this morning, I'll have a launching pad.

NaNoWriMo has worked its magic; it got me back in the writing groove, just like its supposed to do. Kind of like the skydive: the anticipation is a lot scarier than the actual thing.