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Monday, November 22, 2010

NANOWRIMO and Everything I Did Wrong

Just a few short months ago, I heard about NaNoWriMo for the first time.  November is NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth, for those of you who don’t know.  And NaNo challenges authors, readers, writers, wannabees, and wannatries alike to attempt awesomeness and write 50,000 words (a modest novel length).  In one month.  November 1 to November 30.

It averages around 1,667 words a day.  Doable.  Definitely.  Heck, that’s only a couple of blog entries—And I do that pretty easy.

My November looked bright and clear.  I’d been getting flashes of brilliance and rages of inspiration lately.  This would be the perfect time to attempt one of my bucketlist dreams.  Just wake up, sit down, and write.

GO!

—Um, hold up.  Don’t go quite yet, it’s not November.

So, I’ve got all these ideas in my head, and I want to write them…but NaNoWriMo doesn’t start until November 1, and if I start writing something earlier, then it’s cheating, I can’t use it.

But should I stave off my creativity?  I’ve got a lot of ideas going on that I want to write.  I don’t want to be too ambitious—I can’t write them all in a month.  So, I should probably work on what I have now, and then start fresh, November 1.

Um, so I’ve got a couple of stories that I’ve started and am TOTALLY in LOVE with.  But now I can’t use them for NaNoWriMo.  Crap.  I need an idea for NaNoWriMo.  I need an idea, but I can’t work on it until November 1.

Ideas.  I have lots of ideas I’ve put on the shelf.  I’ll just dust one of those off.  Sweet.  I have an Idea.

October 31.  I’m signed up for NaNoWriMo and ready to go.  Let’s see what other people from my region are talking about.

Oh.  They’re asking each other what writing programs everyone is using.  I was just going to use Word, because I love Word, and that’s what I always use.  But they’re right, 50,000 words is pretty big.  Using Word by itself might get kind of hard to organize.  Hmmm… My group mentioned a couple of writing programs to try (for free).  I should check them out.  Wow.  These do make a lot of sense.  I should totally use one of these.

Cool, I downloaded a brand-new writing program.  I should really watch the demo, so I’ll know how to use it.

Hey, what else is my writing group talking about?—Oh, and outline?  I don’t usually outline—But I did outline for my last two ideas, that I’m super excited about.  The outline really helped me focus a lot.  It helped me organize where I wanted to put things, where things would fit best, and gave me a place to store important backgrounds and details that I want for my story, but I’m not sure where I’ll need them yet.

Well, NaNo starts tomorrow, I should get some sleep.  I’ll just do my outline in the morning.

YEA!!!!!!!!  NOVEMBER 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!  NANOWRIMO!!!!!!!!

Woke up bright and early.  Sun is shining.  Let’s write a novel!!!!

No blogging today—At least not until I get my word count.  No checking my daily blogs, either.  Novel first.

I really should have breakfast, though.  That way, I won’t have any excuses or interruptions.

Time to get started.  Still bright and early.  Let’s go!!!!  Um, but I think I will do a quick outline.

4 hours later.

Yea!!!!  I have an outline!!!!!  This is really good.  Let’s get started!!!!!!!

You know, if I don’t eat lunch now, I’ll just spend all my time thinking about lunch.  Even writer’s have to eat.  Right?

All set.  Ate Breakfast.  Did my outline.  Ate lunch.

BLANK.  WHITE.  PAGE.

Crap.  Why can’t I figure out how to change the background color on my new writing program!?!?!??!  I hate writing on a white background!!!!!—I haven’t seen my glasses in months and the white is really hard on my eyes.  I always write on black in word.

Maybe if I just change the text color, it’ll be ok.  Nope.  The text color doesn’t look as good on white; the white makes it look kind of faded.  That’s even worse.  I’m supposed to be writing a novel today, and here I am, wasting time on my background and text colors.  Linda and Bill are supposed to come over tonight; I’m not going to have any time to write later.  I just need to get started.  You know what?  I think it’ll be easier if I just get started in Word.  Then I can paste it into my outline on my writing program, so I can reorganize it later if I need to.

Yea!!!!  I’m finally writing!!!!  I’m writing my novel!!!!!  I’m writing!!!!!!

Email from my sister.  Bill can’t make it tonight.  Do we just want to go to Linda’s???—Well, that would be great, then I wouldn’t have to make my bed and I could spend more time writing.  Sure.  Let’s go to Linda’s.

Writing again!!!  Yea!!!

You know…As long as we’re going to Linda’s, I wonder if I could get an eye appointment while we’re in the area.  My eyes are totally not getting any better.  Even if I did find my glasses, the prescription is at least two years old.  And especially if I’m going to be writing like this all month, and spending this much time on the computer.  I really do need them.

Call eye doctor.  They DO have an appointment!!!!  It must be fate!!!!!

Look at the clock—Sister’s on her way home—Call sister, if we leave right away, can make appointment, pick out glasses, can be at Linda’s for dinner, and pick up new glasses on the way home.

I didn’t get much writing done today—But I did spend a lot of time on my outline, so that counts.  Plus, think how much I’ll get done with my new glasses!!!!

Doctor’s appointment took TWO FRACKING HOURS!?!?!??!!?  What the frak!?!?!?!?  No time to pick out glasses, have to get to Linda’s.  Won’t be able to come back until Friday.  Ok.  Will get glasses Friday.  I’ve made it this long.  I can wait until then.

Go to Linda’s.  Have dinner.  Play cards.

Get home.  It’s pretty late.  I should get to bed now, so that I can start fresh in the morning.

November 2.

NaNoWriMo Day 2.  Ok, let’s get going!!!!  A teensy bit behind, but it’s only day 2, and we have all month.  Let’s write a novel.

No blogging—At least until I get my word count.  No checking any blogs either.  No interruptions.

But first breakfast.

Yea!!!!!  I’m writing a novel!!!!!!!

I almost made my word count today.  Good job.  A little behind, but it’s only the second day.

November 3.

NaNoWriMo Day 3.

Wake up bright and early.  Wow.  That was a really good dream last night.  That would make a really good story!!!!  Frak!!!!  What should I DO?!?!!?  I’m already behind in my NaNo story, maybe I should write my new idea instead.  It’s only Day 3.

Frak—Friends are coming over tonight!!!!!!  We haven’t been social in months, why is sister making so many plans just when I want to write my novel!?!?!?!?

I’ve been writing my novel for two days, so I haven’t made my bed or done the dishes, and now I have to clean for company.  Plus I said I’d make lasagna.

Sigh.  Not what I planned.  I’m already behind and it’s only Day 3.  But I’ve got to work on other things first.  Then I’ll write.

November 4.

Day 4, practically a week behind.  No blogging or checking blogs until I get my word count.

And what about the great idea I dreamt about the night before—Since I’m already behind, should I write that instead???

I’m writing my novel.  I’m writing my novel.  I’m writing my novel.

Just keep plugging away.

Fall asleep dreaming about all the stories I’m NOT writing, and all the stories that would be just whipping along, if I were writing them instead of my current idea.

November 5.

Wake up bright and early!!!!!!  I’m getting new glasses today!!!!  THEN I can finally write a novel!!!!!!!

Crap.  I really don’t like any of these frames—Except for the sunglasses, and I REALLY need my regular glasses.

Well, I kind of like these frames.  So what kind of prices are we talking about???  OH.  THOSE kind of prices.  Hmmm…  I think I should think about it for a little bit.

November 6.

Wake up bright and early!!!!—Going on a wine-tasting tour!!!!!  I know I should be writing my novel.  But I can’t stay cooped up EVERY day.  I need to get out a little, too!  Plus, how often does an opportunity like this come along.  *JEOPARDY THEME SONG*  Um, let’s see, had a birthday last month.  Turned mumble, mumble.  And this is the first time I’ve ever gone wine tasting.  So, see; that is pretty rare.  Just go out, have a nice day.  I can write my novel tomorrow.

Besides, part of being a writer, is having new experiences to write about.

November 7.

Ok.  I checked out another glasses place.  And another.  They don’t do one-hour.  I think I’ll go with the first place.  I guess I like their glasses ok.  I REALLY need glasses.  I have to write my novel.

Go to the one-hour place.  Ok.  Ready to go.  Give me some glasses.  What do you mean, you don’t have my lenses in stock???  And it’s going to take 7-10 days to get the glasses that I don’t even like that much.  Forget you.  I’m not paying for the expensive glasses I don’t really like, when I can get the pair I REALLY love, with the kick-a$$ sunglasses, in the same amount of time, cheaper.

Then I’ll write my novel.

Go back to the other glasses place.  Finally getting my glasses.  Now I can write my novel.

6-10 days later.

                No blogging or checking blogs until I meet my word count.

My new glasses are in!!!!!!!!  Yea!!!!!!!

WOW!!!!!!  The difference is AMAZING!!!!!  And these frames really bring out the green in my hazel eyes!!!!  Gorgeous!!!!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE them!!!!!!

Things are so clear now!!!!!

November 18

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows starts tonight.  I LOVE Harry Potter.  I HAVE to go to the midnight show.

There are usually big lines for the midnight show, but we should be ok if we try to get there around 10ish.

I’ve got to have a Harry Potter movie marathon today.  That way I’ll be pumped and refreshed for the movie!!!  Plus, there’s no way my sister will remember what’s going on, unless she re-watches the movies.  And then I’ll spend the whole movie explaining what’s going on, instead of enjoying the movie.  And she’ll enjoy it better, too.

9:00 am.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

3 hours later.  New Plan.  Check playing times.  Ok.  Start watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  When sister gets home, switch to Goblet of Fire.  2 and 3 are fun, but not essential for her keeping up with the story.  It really starts to build and intertwine with 4, 5, and 6.  We’ll get done just in time to get to the theater and wait for two hours.

4:00 pm Goblet of Fire ends right on schedule.  Begin Order of the Phoenix.

7:00 pm Begin Half-Blood Prince.

9:43 leave for theater.

November 19

12:00 am after minor technical difficulties, begin Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 1.  Fantastic is an understatement.

Sometime after 2:00 am, go to sleep.

Sleep in.  Sister has the day off.  And the rest of the weekend.  There’s no way I can get any writing done with her wandering around.  I get too distracted.

November 22

It seems less likely that I will make my 50,000 word deadline with a week left, and practically 50,000 words left to write.  Oops.

I haven’t done any blogging this month, because I wanted to concentrate on NaNo, and because I couldn’t concentrate, I just kept thinking about all the chapters I wanted to write, all the blogs I wanted to write, and all the blogs I wanted to check, but couldn’t because I haven’t met my word count.

…Meanwhile…I have met my word count, and superseded it FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS MONTH—or at least I would have, if I were actual working on my novel, and not writing a blog entry.


I know this month isn’t over yet, and I’m not quitting.  But I am thinking about extending my own personal deadline.  Part of me thinks I could make a mad dash for the finish line.  But another part of me, knows that I have plans for Thanksgiving.  So, I think the best thing to do at this point is regroup.  I can definitely see where I went astray.  I got distracted.  I got paranoid.  I started over-thinking things.

And while I may not have won this year, I think NaNo has taught me a lot.  I tried new things.  The new writing program is fun and cool, and I like it for some things.  But even with the new glasses, I still like writing in Word.  By the way, I know I spent a lot of time on the glasses, but especially now that I have them, I really know how much I’ve been needing them.  No matter when I got them, they would have taken the same amount of time.  And now that I have them, I’m getting a lot fewer headaches, and I can spend a lot more time on the computer without the screen blurring and the text bleeding.

I got distracted by the fancy tools—outlines and writing programs.  The tools that were meant to make the writing easier just ended up making it more complicated.  I didn’t need them where I was starting from.  And while I do actually like the outline and the writing program, I think they probably come in a lot more handy in the middle or toward the end of the writing—it probably would have been better for me to just write my 50,000 words and then bring it over to the writing program to better organize my work.

NaNo isn’t about being perfect, or being brilliant, or writing the next bestseller.  It’s about writing.  Period.  About showing yourself that you have what it takes.  But it took a month of procrastinating and excuses and trying to be perfect for me to learn it for myself.  Now I KNOW that I have what it takes.

It takes waking up in the morning, having breakfast, and writing.  I don’t have to ignore the rest of the world.  And I don’t have to over indulge either.  I do like deadlines and word counts—They give me a feeling of satisfaction.  I don’t need to beat myself up for not meeting this goal; I just need to reprioritize how I meet my future goals.

I didn’t get my 50,000, but I still feel like a winner.  Anyway, so, I’m back to my blogging, back to reading, and back to writing.

Best wishes to all my fellow NaNoWrimoers!!!!  See you all next year!!!!!





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3 comments:

Melissa said...

NaNo is still great fun, and it's definitely a learning process, eh?

nymfaux said...

Yes! :) I totally agree it was fun--I'm very glad I did it, and totally want to do it again!!!!

Autumn said...

NaNo was a giant fail for me. I just don't think I'm a writer. I have ideas, but getting them on to paper is like giving birth.