Friday, October 17, 2008

Ahead? Behind? Above? Below?

The past 17 days have been pretty interesting. I started reading Natalie Goldberg's "Writing Down the Bones" right before October started. The book is incredible and was a really amazing kick start to this month of writing. My creative juices are flowing, I feel good about what I'm writing, I've been writing here or there or thinking about writing almost constantly, and I haven't been solely focused on my novel. Last Sunday, I spent 3 hours in the park writing about something completely different. I've written the beginnings or ideas to or entire short stories in my writing journal. I've been in a warm, lapping ocean of creativity, and honestly, I couldn't be happier. I haven't been as on top of the novel as part of me would like (the other part is really happy with the way things are just going with the flow over here). I've missed four days of novel writing, but i figured it out this morning, and if you take those days away, I'm right on track with day 13. I think the approach I've been taking for the past few weeks has worked well for me--having a main project, but working on a few little things on the side, and taking the ocassional day off--and i think it's much more sustainable over the long term, so i don't think i'm going to change anything. I'm going to continue to try to write every day, and use the weekends as my make-up time , and when I get to 50,000 words or 31 days of writing, or when I think my story is done, I'll stop.

That's all not to say that I'm not constantly ignoring my self-doubts and insecurities (I am), but I'm choosing to focus on the positives and not let the fact that maybe everything I'm writing is garbage get to me. At least I'm writing, right? And writing is what I love. So what does it matter if it sucks?

I am the hippie zen master of my writing world. Today anyway.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Day 3: Part Deux*

My plan last night was to go home, change into sweats and write until I caught up, approximately 2500 words (though I've lost my calculator and I hate the computer one, so I'm estimating here), which, to my fuzzy, congested, exhausted brain sounded overwhelming. I got home. I changed into sweats. I made and ate dinner. I cleaned a little. I smoked a cigarette. I checked my two emails, Facebook, MySpace, and Craigslist, and finally, when faced with the only thing left to do to avoid writing, watch a movie, I made myself open up my novel. I resisted every step of the way. I didn't know where to start for the third day in a row, so I began describing the small town. I kept checking my word count. 700. 813. 956. I had been writing an hour before I hit on something: the story of Lily's mother and father. Bam. That was it, I hit a stride, I pushed my inner editor ("It's too sentimental, it doesn't make sense, you're not telling enough of the details, that's not what would happen, you are misrepresenting these people, you don't know anything about Native American culture") to the back of my mind, and wrote for another hour and a half.

Total for Day 3: 2956
Overall total: 5582

*This is a post I wrote yesterday, but wasn't able to post due to some technical dificulties.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Day 3: We All Fall Down, erm, Behind

Day 2 started off well, and then trickled into decline. I got up slightly later than day one, and wrote from 6:30 to 7:15 am. In 45 minutes, I was able to knock out about 900 words, most of which are a flashback to give some depth and background to my main character, who I also named yesterday. Her name is Lily. Yippee! 2 characters named. I still have no idea about the baby, but I'm sure something will come to me. I also gave my main character an Indian name, but I think I should have held off. I still don't know which direction to take her character; that might need to be rewritten in the editing phase. I also switched from first person to third so that I can have a broader range in telling the story. Last year's story involved a main character and a pretty straightforward plot line. This time, I want to try to do something more complex.

I started coming down with a head cold at some point during the day yesterday, and by the time I got home last night, I was too tired to write. Ditto for getting up this morning. However, I am planning to go home after work, change into my sweats, and dedicate a couple of hours to try to get into a writing "zone" where I can write a lot and really dive into the story.

So, my totals so far are
Day 3: 0 (eek!)
Overall: 2635

Thanks for all of your encouragement!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Day 1: In the beginning

...there was the word. And I had to force it out of me and onto the page.

Slow going this morning, but I had to get my quota in because I have plans tonight. my inner editor was telling me to write "better," I worried that I don't know my characters or my story line yet, and I was stressed to fill the quota before work. I'm resisting every urge in my body to tell you how terrible these first paragraphs are.

I went to bed as early as I could last night so I could get up at 6 this morning. I did very little this year to prepare, and I didn't even pull my "No Plot, No Problem" kit off the shelf until this morning. I settled in with my coffee around 6:15, read the Day 1 card, which says to start anywhere, and looked over my very sparse notes. I wrote the first sentence. I reread the first sentence. I shook my head, whispered, "to hell with it," and started stumbling around my characters' trailer. It wasn't pretty. I don't know my characters yet, and I don't know the plot. My main character is Native American, earthy/pagan, young, married to a steel worker, spiritual. I haven't quite figured out how to do that yet, but I think as I keep writing, her voice will start to come through. Also, I started in the first person this morning, but think i might switch to third. I want to show a lot of different characters' perspectives, and I think third will work better.

Day 1 word count: 1735
Total word count: 1735

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Here We Go Again...

...on our owwwwn. Da Da. Goin' down the only road we've ever knooo-wone. Da Da. like a drifter i was born to ROCK ALONE!!! um, right, so NaNoWriMo is beginning again, and here I am again, ready to detail all of my pleasures and pains and excitements and disappointments and sleepy hallucinations, all for your very own reading enjoyment, you know, the 2 of you who may actually be reading this.

If you're lucky, I MAY even post a little excerpt or two. We'll see how that goes.

So, a lot of you have been asking me, "When can I read the novel you wrote last year?" Well, here's the thing. Writing is an elusive beast, and one that most writers are terrified of. We are all very attached to our writing and we're afraid that it's terrible, and we tend to revert back to the second grade feeling of having your pants pulled down in front of the entire 5th grade during recess. So, we tend to keep our writing pretty much to ourselves until someone writes us a check and puts it out there for us.

I don't know if that answered your question, but I think you get the idea.

For those of you who are just joining us (welcome!), last year, I wrote a novel in a month. I am again going to be joining several friends in the National Novel Writing Month challenge, which is to write 50,000 words in 31 days. MOST people do NaNoWriMo in November, but we all think that's silly because it only has 30 days AND we most of us travel for Thanksgiving and can't write when we're in a turkey coma. Also, we are not most people, are we? No. I think not.

So, as this is the second time I've done this, I gotta admit, I'm going in a little cocky. I know this is not a good thing. I know that I'm going to crash and burn at some point. But I can't help it. I'm all like "Whatever, I did this last year. I can do it again." Ahhh, the mighty (me) are about to fall. I know it, and yet I'm doing nothing about it.

So, basically, me and 5 of my friends are all going to begin our own 50,000 word novel beginning at midnight tonight and ending at midnight on October 31. That boils down to about 1,667 words per day. We have all modified the original "rules" somewhat to fit our own goals, etc, but I'm a purist and a type-A anal retentive, so I'm basically doing it the way it was originally set up to be done. I'm starting with a new story, I'm going to write at least 50,000 words, I'm not going to sleep or be seeing you until November.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

it is finished

it is 11:02 pm, October 31, 2007. I am dressed like a roller disco zombie. all of manhattan is celebrating Halloween. And I have just written the final word of my novel. It was number 50,208.

i have no more words. except these:


almost there

i finally feel like the end is in sight, on my last day. i have 900 words left. i will finish my story today. i don't want it to end, but it's time to wrap it up.

i started this month with three friends who were aiming for the 50,000 word mark. i think i will be the only one to reach it. it's a bit lonely here at the finish line. i was looking forward to celebrating with them, but it looks like i will be celebrating alone. or not celebrating, more likely.

that's all for now. i'll let you know when i finish.