NaNo Update: I Am On Track, Off Track, and Sometimes In Between

I attended my first ‘Write In’ last week.  It’s an official, once-a-week, gathering of NaNo participants in one place.  In this case it’s the downtown library with nothing but the sound of tapping laptop keys.  Since the downtown branch is the downtown branch, we did hear some rowdiness. The group knew I worked as a library technician.  The noise got louder prompting me to say, “I am off the clock.”  Cue the laughter and back to the tapping of keys.  If thought had a sound, I guess the keyboard could be a stand in.

So far the tally stands at 13,870 words.  Considering today I need to be at 20,000 and change, it seems a little daunting.  I have to keep in mind, I put the pressure on myself.  I do it for good reason.  This task is mine and mine alone.  If I don’t make it to the goal, I fulfilled a good number of goals set over and above a word count.  Anyone regular reading this blog knows this girl is all about the goal setting.

The Goals

1.  Write like I have nothing to lose

This is not about producing the next, great Canadian novel or the next world-wide phenomenon.  It’s about producing a draft.  How many times have people started at the blank page or screen.  We hear the nays floating around in the mind, usually in the form of some teacher, but I would now add a blogger or two to the list.  Forget those guys!  WRITE!

2. Finish something

Pretty self-explanatory, but it means finishing one rough draft.  How many half-written stories populate computer drives and notebooks?

3.  Suss Out the Work Habits

When NaNoWriMo finishes, there’s no way I can do 1667 words in a sitting.  It seems my average, according to my stats, is 1,100-1,200 words.  It doesn’t mean do that everyday if the momentum flows well on a given day.  Right now the output is crazy, but imagine what a publisher deadline would fee like.  I need a place to start and 1,100 serves as a good beginning.

I also got a firm handle on my distractions.  Last week The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey extended edition came out.  After pouring over Tumblr for tidbits, I now can put all those photos and gifs into context. It’s a case of the marshmallow conundrum, watch one segment now or watch a few more later after writing.

4.  This is For Me

Many people turn up their noses at NaNo.  They feel it feeds egos, sets the bar low, and takes the craft out of writing.  I don’t know who at the Write Ins will one day have a book I will one day attend.  I don’t know if I am that person. I watched two people published after years of writing, revision, re-writing then get a second book out in less time than their first.  I enjoy their books, but I bet you anything they write for themselves first and foremost.

I write for me.

I write to express myself.  I write to strengthen my weaknesses.  I write not to get freshly pressed or freshly famous.  I do it for me, but not out of ego.  For some reason creativity took up a home within me and never left.  After years of suppressing it, I want to see what it can do.  Going at a break-neck pace silences the stupid critic I lived with for a very long time.  I don’t need another critic.  I need an editor.  For now I open the brain and let things pour out.

One thought on “NaNo Update: I Am On Track, Off Track, and Sometimes In Between

  1. Sounds to me like you’re doing it for all the right reasons. Knowing your own process is really important. Experimenting to find what suits you is good. I’ve managed for years now just not to get into situations where I have to write anything long with an awkward deadline. I can do short to deadline, long drives me nuts; tried it, never again. It is possible to work without setting yourself up with publisher deadlines, not being able to face them is not a crippling disadvantage!


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