Posted in NaNoWriMo, writing

Anxiety Levels – Activate!

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?).

Posted in books, NaNoWriMo, writing

My Personal Middle Earth – NaNoWriMo Day 13


So I just read today’s Week Two Pep Talk from Maureen Johnson, and I gotta tell ya, it really made me smile. (The tie-in here being we all know LoTR was filmed in New Zealand. Which is, you know, really close to Australia.)

I’m definitely wandering aimlessly through something, whether it’s the Bog of Eternal Stench (and I have a feeling it just might be, and yes I know that’s not in LoTR. It’s from The Labyrinth) or traipsing across the plains of Rohan chasing…something, although probably not Orcs, I’m in deep at this point. I loved Johnson’s imagery of stumbling across old campfires of those who have gone before. Surely there’s something in the ashes to indicate what’s edible out here in the wastelands, and later we can look for footprints to see which way they went and then go a different way. And here’s another very cool map of Middle Earth, somehow combined with GoogleMaps so it’s interactive.

But the best thing is the sheer vastness of the territory to be covered. Seriously, how can you not get excited with all those possibilities just waiting for you? It’s so big that I could make this journey a thousand times and never go the same way twice. I’m not bogged down, I’m footloose and fancy free. I’m On the Road like Kerouac. And I don’t even like camping!

Posted in NaNoWriMo, writing

Creepy-Crawly — NaNoWriMo Day 11

Down to a crawl. I got a little over 1100 words written yesterday, so about 500 short of the daily goal. I’ve been trying to get 2000 words a day. I’m still marginally ahead of where I’d be at a steady pace of 1667 words per day, so not too bad but I’m starting to fear falling into a repeat of last year’s outcome.

I knew eventually I was going to write this book as it’s intended to be the prequel to the novel I was working on before I started the vampire novel, but I had done almost no planning for it, had the barest idea of a couple of characters, the setting. Now I’m struggling to get acquainted with the characters and I have so much research I’m going to have to go back and do later when there’s time. Right now I’m just focusing on word count, and wow is this bad!  I’m taking Chris Baty’s suggestion of putting anything I’m going to take out later in bold italics but not actually deleting it. I figure if he says it’s fair game, I’m good with it. I already know some scenes will be deleted in toto, the storyline may change, some conversations that are in there now will never see the light of day.

But that’s ok. I’m getting to know my characters, and it’s all part of the process. Although, I really need to have a chat with female MC  ’cause sometimes I just want to smack her.

Posted in NaNoWriMo, writing

NaNoWriMo Word Count – Day 5

Things are progressing nicely, so far. I checked my word count on NaNoWriMo this morning, and was startled by the number (I’d forgotten overnight what I clocked in at last night). My first thought was, Oh my, look at this person’s word count, whose is this? Wait, this is my page… where did that number come from? Did someone leave me some words? Are these yours?

Nope. By cracky, I did 1797 words yesterday! At the start of Day 5 I’m opening with 8551 words, well better than a day up on schedule. Maybe rocking out to the latest AFI release, Crash Love, is more of an inspiration for a novel set in the Gilded Age than I thought. (Honestly, the boys outdid themselves on this one. Davey, Jade, Hunter, Adam, this is your best yet.)


And how about that Pep Talk this morning from Jasper Fforde? Inspired. For those who question why spend time cranking out 50K words of drivel, you know it’s going to be crap going in so why bother? Because it’s part of the process. The way I’ve always phrased it is, before I can write anything decent, I have to write through all the crap, literally, like clawing my way up out of a hole in the ground. If I keep scrabbling at the dirt, it will fall in and fill the hole and eventually I’ll be standing on top where the good topsoil is.

Shooting for the 10000 mark today. Who’s with me?!?

Posted in NaNoWriMo, writing

Out of the Starting Gate

cross-posted to The Nano Project

I’m off to a rollicking start on word count. Thanks in large part to attending a write-in, I clocked in at 3,337 words yesterday! Wow, I’ve never gotten that much in one day before. Even with the chatting and socializing and inhaling a sandwich, the distraction of surfing the net via free WiFi (thanks for walking me through that, Wairoam!) it was fun and exciting listening to all those keys clicking around me. We had a great turnout, although I’m not sure exactly how many people showed up (somewhere around 12+, I think). If you haven’t attended a write-in, I highly recommend it. Now the question is, can I sustain that, or even half that? Must try… must… back to it…