I’ve already decided to sit out NaNoWriMo this year, feeling my time is better spent working on things I’ve already started, rather than starting Yet Another Novel (henceforth referred to as YAN), and I think that’s the right decision. Plus the pace of NaNo, writing a minimum of 1667 words per day, is challenging for me even on a good day. The house goes to hell (Ok, further into the bowels of Hell than it already is), I subsist on sandwiches and frozen microwaveable food (i.e., cooking grinds to a halt), tv/movie viewing is nil, all forms of exercise become a dim memory.
Really, though, when I get into the writing groove and manage to block out all the distractions I surprise even myself with how much I can get done in a relatively short amount of time. The problem is getting into that groove, something that I have to say I can thank NaNoWriMo for teaching me. Sustaining it the other eleven months out of the year once the party atmosphere and excitement of writing along with tens of thousands of other people fades is difficult to maintain. How do others do it?
I recently started following Harry Connolly, author of the Twenty Palaces saga, on Twitter and I gotta tell ya he’s a scream. He put up a post the other day about why he doesn’t participate in NaNoWriMo, “NaNoWhaNow?” and it makes a lot of sense. However comma he also says 1700 words a day for a professional writer is no big deal, to wit:
That’s not a lot. Many professional novelists would consider that a Meh day, and many others would feel like slackers.
So my anxiety levels just increased by a magnitude of 10. Harry does admit it’s a stretch for him as well (he’s down here in the trenches with the rest of us working a day job) in which I do take some comfort, and it really is a nice, encouraging post. But there has to be a way to keep that focus going after NaNo, not just when smashing words onto the page to fill your word count. It needs to be corraled so we can shape what crash-landed on the pages in November into something more polished. Too bad we can’t just dump our first drafts into one of those rock polishers and turn the handle until the pages get all nice and shiny and the words are so smooth they almost slide off the page (of course it’s better if they don’t…)
So today I resolve to get back into that groove/zone/flow, whatever you like to term it. I wrote almost 700 words yesterday on a short story I started (I know, I know, shouldn’t be starting anything new just now but it popped up and I had to do something with it, didn’t I?).