Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I'll try anything . . .


Once.

After the NaNoWriMo posts yesterday, I decided that anything that seems to motivate writers, that encourages them to get the story out was something that deserved a second look.

I signed up. But I didn't download any mean software that would eat my words unless I maintained a certain tempo in my writing. That just gave me the willies.

I sat down to write today, not really sure where I was going. I haven't done all my pre-writing as usual. I didn't even have character names till this morning. And the notion of just keeping my fingers going seems counter-productive to me. So I did NaNo my way.

I set a timer for 20 minutes. For that length of time, I would only go forward. I had a little over 600 words when I heard the first ding. I reset the timer and as a reward to myself, I went back to tweak what I'd done. At the end of that 20 minutes, I had nearly 800 words. Words I was proud of.

I continued like that for some time (about 4 1/2 hours or so) and before I knew it, I had over 3000 words/ 14 pages, which is pretty close to my all time high output. On a story I knew very little about before I started writing it this morning.

This could work.

At one point I took a break and walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes, ideas for the story churning with each step. I'm excited about this new process of 20 minutes forward/20 back. I've done it before but usually only once a day. Not sure it's sustainable, but I'm willing to give it a go.

So for those of you who are doing NaNo, please "buddy" me. I'm signed up as EmilyBryan. I'll be happy to cheer your progress and share tips with each other.

Will I hit 50K by November 30th? Probably not. And will I feel bad about it? No. I'll be further along on something than if I didn't give it a try. Should you feel bad if you don't try it? Absolutely not. I'm not even doing it right. It would make me crazy not to go back and fix things, so I realize I'm not proceeding in the spirit of Nano which is only plunging forward. I think it's important to be aware of my own limitations and going a little nuts over not being able to fix things in a timely manner is one of them. But I'll try Nano for now.

Just don't expect me to sign up for that "Write or Die" option.

18 comments:

Shannon McKelden said...

Welcome to the dark side, my dear!!

See, it's really not as evil as it sounds from the outside. The idea, at least for me, is to banish procrastination, not necessarily the editor, inside.

I buddied you and will cheer you on all the way. Don't be surprised, though, if you end up with 50,000 words at the end of the month. If you write 3000 in a day, you only have to write 16 days out of the month to hit 50,000. Not a shabby 1/2 draft if you ask me.

Shannon McKelden said...

Oh, and by the way, that Write or Die thing...it's a tool. It's not "part" of Nano. Some writers just like it. Not me and I'd never use it. It seems silly to me. I need motivation to move forward, not someone flogging me for taking a breath once in a while.

Jane L said...

WHOOOHOOO! Way to go Emily! I will die laughing if this ends up as one of your best selling books! HEHEHEHEHE!

KatieO said...

Good for you, Emily!
Good luck making it as far as you want to go!

Tessa McDermid said...

Thanks, Emily, for giving it a try! I didn't even know what everyone was talking about when they brought up "Write or Die." I mean, sometimes I feel like I have to write or I'll 'die,' with all the ideas churning inside me but I would never go with something that ate my words!!

And I think everyone has to work with their internal editor their own way. One advantage you have over many other NaNo writers is that you've finished a book (many books!) and published them. You know what works for you and how you need to get to The End of your story.

If you look at the statistics, most NaNo writers don't make it to the 50,000 word mark. But the majority are probably farther along than they were on October 31 - and that might be enough to keep them going.

So, I'm off to friend you and to see what happens to my characters today!

RKCharron said...

Hi Emily :)
Welcome to NaNo!
I buddied you.
Thank you for sharing today,
All the best,
RKCharron
xoxo

EmilyBryan said...

Hey Shannon. I do feel as if I've crossed over into something here. I was amazed that I added another 3100 words today. And those are cleaned up, prettified words, since I'm still not going forward all the time. The timer seems to motivate me where the word muncher wouldn't.

Thanks for buddying me!

EmilyBryan said...

Jane L--Guess this goes to show me I should never say never.

But we're still long way from November 30th.

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks, KatieO! Back at ya!

I think you've hit on the right note here. "making it as far as you want to go." I'm looking at this as a new tool I'm trying out. If it works, I've learned something. If it doesn't . . . like Thomas Edison, I've learned another way not to make a lightbulb.

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks, Tessa. Knowing you won't go with the word eating system either makes me feel like less of a coward.

Even though I have finished a number of manuscripts and been lucky enough to several of them, I'm always looking for a better way to build that mousetrap. I keep thinking, "This ought to be easier."

Maybe not. The most valuable things in life are often the toughest.

But if I can figure out a way to get the story out quicker . . . that would be a huge win for me because it would leave more time for other things . . . like famly and friends and having a life so I'll have something to write about!

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks, Tessa. Knowing you won't go with the word eating system either makes me feel like less of a coward.

Even though I have finished a number of manuscripts and been lucky enough to several of them, I'm always looking for a better way to build that mousetrap. I keep thinking, "This ought to be easier."

Maybe not. The most valuable things in life are often the toughest.

But if I can figure out a way to get the story out quicker . . . that would be a huge win for me because it would leave more time for other things . . . like famly and friends and having a life so I'll have something to write about!

EmilyBryan said...

RK--Thanks for buddying me. Thank you all! We'll wave virtual pompoms for each other all month!

Tessa McDermid said...

Teehee- an easier way!

Right now I'm trying to figure out why the scene that was/is so clear in my head won't show up on the paper. Hence, the current procrastination. Ah, well, beats the other options for my time!

Melody said...

Your saga (and the comments here,) fascinate me. Having recently - finally - begun my novel (have written for most of my life but never committed to a novel before now,) the idea of NaNoWriMo fascinated me... to a point. But then I responded the way you did in this first post. I, too, am not sure I could do my best work writing this rapidly. Not to mention, writing my novel is my side gig. So setting these kinds of goals would be counter-productive to my main career path.

Still, reading about your process, and that of these other writers, makes me wonder: Couldn't I perhaps eke out an hour a day, over the 2 weekly hours I currently spend writing with my group? Prolly...

Thanks for the inspiration. And good luck to you - no matter whether you finish the 50,000 or not. Good stuff...

EmilyBryan said...

Tessa, spill it, girl. Just pretend you and I are sharing a cup of coffee over your kitchen table and you're telling me the story. Set your timer for twenty minutes and I'll listen while you type! ;-)

EmilyBryan said...

Melody-A writing group can be a great help. If you do writing exercises together, always try to adapt the writing prompt to help you get a scene in your current WIP. It's great to have the support of like-minded writers.

However, there's no substitute for alone-time for a writer. That's where your story lives and only you can bring it to our world.

And hour a day is a worthy initial goal. Get your family on board to guard that time as sacred so it can be as productive as possible.

Booklover1335 said...

I think your method is a great way of writing...especially if it is working for you

EmilyBryan said...

Booklover--You hit it exactly. Whatever works for the indivicual writer. That is the key!