Last year as response to a request from a friend, I committed myself to 30 days of writing my first novel during National November Writing Month, lovingly referred to as NaNoWriMo. Fifty-thousand words written in 30 days qualifies anyone as a winner and outside of being diligent enough to actually write those words, the resulting manuscript file must also be uploaded to qualify your effort.
Check to all of the above and I was a certified winner last year. I wrote my 50,000+ words with only a few hitches in my giddy up: we visited our son in San Francisco for Thanksgiving and were stuck there for two additional nights due to heavy fog up and down the coast. We love San Francisco and visit frequently, but this was not one of our best travel memories. Nevertheless, I did write during our delay, then after arriving home, pounded out the rest of the required word count.
Of course I wasn’t finished.
A quick flip through my notebook shows I was still working on December 7, then again on February 1, which dwindles to “thinking about writing” in March before finally outlining the rest of the book in June.
Of course, things changed and it was August before I actually decided upon an ending I liked and started to write again — the end of August. Another month or so passed before I realized I should probably get started again, but seriously this time. It’s always serious, but more serious. The good news is I’ve been more productive this past month than I’ve been since last November. “Productive” is definitely subjective but I did accomplish something: I nudged myself over a big hurdle to begin the second part of the story. Now I’m stuck again and finding every excuse to not sit down and deal with it.
Wanda is the best excuse because she’s like an infant, always needing attention. But after nearly two months of new puppy parenthood, I’m onto myself and have caved. She’s a dog, not an infant. She’s cute, but she’s not that cute. Yet I stall.
Welcome NaNoWriMo 2013 — the ultimate way to slam out the rest of the story. WHEN I finish it at the end of November, I will be more than happy to let it sit a month, then tackle massive revisions in January with an iron clad plan. I’ve kept notes along the way and have successfully avoided changing things to keep moving forward. Let’s hope it will all make sense when the time comes. It makes complete sense in my head.
As for the routine I mentioned last post? I’m up for my walk most mornings during the week between 5:30 and 6:30. Today was an ungodly 4:30, no thanks to Lizzie who was most likely harassing Wanda, asleep in her crate. It always feels good to check off that walk. Next is coffee & notebook review. It helps me get my brain ready to reread whatever I wrote the day before. This part is not easy because everything seems to be a distraction. But I like the way it feels — as long as a snorting, licking, gas-passing puppy doesn’t interfere.
What I’m surprised by is that after that, I can putz around the house and take care of things I’ve avoided. The list stretches into oblivion. After an hour, I’m ready to sit down and stare at the words on the screen, ignore the incessantly nagging voice in my head about how awful everything is, and move along with promises to stitch the words more perfectly later.
Somehow, Halloween just makes this all so bizarre. I should have been done. I could have been working on revisions. I might have reordered the sequence of events. But I will always feel that way about the aspects of my life, so why should writing a story be different?
Promises to myself: 1) It’s not about the word count — it’s about finishing; and 2) Stay true to the characters I’ve given life.
Time to finish so I can begin.