Writing Quote

"Don't write merely to be understood.
Write so that you can't possibly be misunderstood."
-Robert Louis Stevenson

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Reaching 50K, so bittersweet

I reached 50,000 words on the 17th. It was awesome! And then the momentum kind of just died. That's the problem with word count goals. When you reach the goal, it becomes that much harder to continue. I've never really experienced that before because I've never hit 50K this early in the game before. My story is still no where near done, and I should reach 60K today, if I'm only half as lazy with my writing as I feel.

Most nanoers will write to 50K, get their beautiful purple bar and then stop. But 50,000 words is only half of the nano goal, and not even the most important half. The real point of November is write a book from beginning to end.

Is it going to be a complete book? Probably not. There will be holes in it. Glaring imperfections will abound. Characters will be flat. But the essence will be there. The main players will be present. The places and events will all have their spots reserved, even if they aren't sitting down yet. You will even have developed a strong sense of style and tone. But there will a lot to do in the rewrite.

Something that surprises me every year is that when you're struggling and you're sure that everything you're spouting is refuse in its purest form, something happens in your brain. This breakthrough occurs that reassures you of your own genius. And then when you go back and read all those words you wrote and then staunchly ignored, you realize there was a lot less refuse there than you thought. Good to know. And maybe that rewrite won't be so bad after all.

The lessons I'm learning this year are so much different and in many ways so much bigger than any NaNoWriMo I've done before. And I think it has much to do with the fact that my productivity is so much greater than ever before. I'm struggling to stay motivated right now, but this is still shaping up to be my best Nanoing experience ever.

So now that I've got 50K under my belt, I need a new goal to keep me motivated. I'm hoping for 3000 words a day. Thirty days of that would give me 90K (this is really just to keep me pecking away at it). So to keep my average up, I have to do 4 or 5 thousand some days. But I'm finding ways to get it done. Go ME!! I am a champion writer! I can do this! I can reach The End in the next 10 days (gulp. I only have 10 days left?)! And so can you, my fellow Nanoers! We were all born to write. It is what we do. That's why we're writers. Now go WRITE!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

NaNoWriMo, week 2 and the half-way point

Sounds like the title to a juvenile novel- Week Two and the Half-Way Point (you know Name-of-Main-Character and the Vague-Description-of-the-Plot).
Week two has been great. In general, NaNoWriMo's week two is hell week. It's the point when you decide you have no talent at all. Your ideas stink, and your writing is mediocre at best. You're sick of your main character already and you just want to call it quits, or maybe scrap the whole thing and start over. If you can make it through week two, you've gone so much more than half-way.
For me, this year, week two has been a bit of a roller coaster. There were days when I felt the normal week two blues, but pushed through my word count and beyond to the next point in the story that I felt excited about. Other days, I was just on fire and everything I did was magical. I even discovered the title of my book in week two. So I have to say that in five years of WriMo-ing, this the best week two ever!!
Here what it looked like in a nutshell:
11/8- 3000 words
11/9- 3126 words
11/10-3370 words
11/11- 4509 words
11/12- 2951 words
11/13- 3071 words
11/14- 2039 words
11/15- 4277 words
8 day total- 26343
grand total word count at half-way point- 44391.
That's right, I have less than 6000 words until 50K.
Unfortunately, I'm not quite to my half-way point in the story. So I'll need to step it up a bit if I'm going to reach The End by 11/30. And with Thanksgiving on the horizon, I need to focus now more than ever. I've noticed my really BIG output days were the ones when I left my house to write. Maybe I'll have to do some more of that. Before I go, I've written out a synopsis of my story. Some of this is a projection of what I plan to write. It may change over the course of the next couple of weeks. But here you go:

The Slave Knight by Robin Ford

This Jhampo's story. He was banished from his home and sent across the sea to try and make a new life for himself. The first friend he makes betrays him and he soon finds himself in slave's chains. Though he is guarded day and night, he finds an unexpected friend that helps him fit into this hard life without losing his humanity. When the opportunity arises, he is able to escape and help another along the way as well.
When he loses what is most valuable to him to a slaver, he wages war against all slavers. The practice of slavery begins to decline when his destiny takes him in another direction. The King's daughter is being held for ransom and Jhampo has the chance to save her. This deed earns him a knighthood and widespread fame.
But none of this is as great a reward as the one the princess gives herself: her love. Is a title and popular admiration enough to allow a princess and a former slave a lifetime of love and happiness together? The two learn together that love really can overcome anything. But when his past comes back to haunt him, his happiness is stripped away again.
His fame has traveled across the sea to the land of his birth and his banishment is lifted. Now he must choose between the lost home he has been dreaming of for years and the place of his ruined hopes, where he desires only to rebuild again.

Monday, November 8, 2010

nanowrimo update

Week one is over now (plus one day) and I ended today with 21048 words! That's more than I wrote all last MONTH!! I went into Nano this year thinking I'll probably shoot for 2000 words a day, that way I can get a little ahead and if I have a rough day and need to slack off a bit, I can. But so far, my end-of-the-day totals are: 3219, 1906, 2300, 2594, 2683, 3018, 2373, 3000. Bam! With the exception of day two, I completely shattered 2000 words. Woo-hoo!

Some little things I think make a big difference:
1. Participating in NPI during October. It put me in the habit of writing everyday. The goal of 250 words a day was small, so it became evident that this was an easy thing to do. It's not scary or intimidating to commit to writing every single day. And though the goal was not too impressive in itself, I was able to push myself beyond my goal much of the time. The result at the end of the month was much better than when I've given myself goals like 'write 5000 words this month,' or 'write 50 pages this month.' I've always known that writing everyday is key to disciplined writing. But it has always been a huge struggle for me, to force myself to sit down and tap out those micro story tellers, words.
2. Tracking my progress. Last month, I used a little sticky note to keep track of each day's work; where I started, where I'd like to end and what I actually accomplished. I got some suggestions to use a spread sheet. But I think I love my silly little sticky note. It literally sits by my hand, always in sight. It is a constant reminder of what I'm shooting for and of the wonderful progress I've made so far. My little yellow post-it inspires my inner cheerleader. "Go, go, go! I can DO IT!"
Plus, nanowrimo has added a new feature to their stats tab this year. It tells things like how many words I've written today, how many words until 1667, average words written, total words written, how many words per day I need to reach 50K by 11/30, how many total words I need to write, what day I'll hit 50K if I stick to my average. Its fun to put in my word count every so often. My little meter gets a little fuller, my graph bar jumps up a little higher and all my stats change just a bit. I sit and study my numbers a little and dream of what it would be like if I could have a jet-pack day and work in 6000 words or more.
I don't know if I'll be able to manage a jet-pack day this year. I'm getting a lot done, but it's usually in snippets. My family remains pretty demanding. I was hoping to make Saturday a huge writing day, but then my husband got sick and I had kid duty a lot more than usual. I'd keep my fingers crossed for a heavy writing day this Saturday, but that makes it really hard to get any writing done.
(note: for the uninitiated- a jet-pack day is broken down into sections. start the day with a 2 hour writing session. then take 1 to 2 hours doing something non-writing related, preferably something you enjoy. Then another 2 hour writing session, then another nice break; 2 hour writing session, nice break, write, and that's a wrap. You get 6-8 hours of writing in without going completely nuts)
3. Change is good. I find that when I'm having trouble pushing past a certain part, it helps to change things up by skipping ahead to a part I'm more excited about. It also helps to change where/how I write. If I've been spending a lot of time on the laptop, kicked back in the Lazyboy, it can make a big difference to go into the office. The change of monitor, keyboard, setting, and even physical position stimulate my brain in new ways and make me think differently. If I'm really having a hard time I go back to my favorite way to write. Pen, paper, and cursive writing. Last year, I wrote my entire nano novel by hand. With my Adesso to take pictures of my handwriting and convert it into text, it was a lot easier than entering it by hand later. But there were so many errors to correct that I decided to get back on the computer this year. But I still have the handwriting option if I need it.

Some obstacles to look for:
1. Thanksgiving, as always. But this year, it's at MY house. I do the pies every year because pie is in my blood (don't worry, there's no blood in my pies). Last year I went completely overboard with 12 or 13 pies, a pumpkin roll and a trifle (vegetarian). The resulting sugar high caused some memory lapses. I cannot be held responsible for anything I did that weekend. Anyway, I'm not doing that again. I think I'll limit myself to four pies and one non-pie dessert. Also, since I have the double oven, I'll probably end up doing the bird as well. Though there's some talk going around about frying it this year.
2. Singing. Yeah, I write and I sing. It sounds more impressive than it really is. But I do have music to learn and rehearsals to attend. That definitely eats into my writing time. Luckily the actual performances will be in December. So no conflicts there.
3. School. I only have one class, but it's the first one in a decade. I've done everything I can to free myself up from school this month- acing 2 tests so I can skip (and drop) one this month; and writing a paper a month in advance. But try as I might, I can't get around the pesky up and coming final exam. It's not until December, but the studying must come much sooner than that. Hopefully I'll be able to work around these things to have a really successful nanowrimo.

If you're a wrimo, too, look me up. I'm radeliak over at nanowrimo.org

Monday, November 1, 2010

goodbye NPI, hello NaNoWriMo

I know it's after midnight, so maybe I should have reported for NPI earlier. But I was litterally writting up until midnight. I got 616 words today. Not too shabby.
At 12:00 I saved and closed my novel and opened a new Word file, saved it as NaNoWriMo2010 and began writing. I've got 284 words so far. And since I'm not actually insane, I am going to bed now. More writing to come. Much, much more.