At Day 21 of this month, after a writing marathon that spanned the better part of twenty-four hours, I completed my novel at 72, 406 words—far past the NaNoWriMo challenge of 50,000 words. This amount of writing marks a personal best for me. I had previously written a 70,000 word novel in thirty days—the book which provided the seed for this most recent one—but I blew through all of my expectations for NaNoWriMo. I hadn’t written in close to three months prior to beginning this novel, and I had an irrational fear that I wouldn’t even remember how to form a sentence, much less an entire book. Throughout the course of the project, I pushed myself to write past my limits, to think critically about my characters and further explore what went on inside their heads, what made them tick, and what they were afraid of. In the course of this, I think I discovered something about myself: for as long as I enjoy writing, I will do it, regardless of the number of readers I reach. Writing is a task that fosters creativity, personal growth, and introspection, three things I need in my life.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Last night I blasted past 62,000 words, but I couldn’t tell you whether or not this is a good thing. We tend to have a jaundiced eye toward lack of quality when it comes to our own work. As my friend and fellow Nano participant, Amanda told me, we are so involved in the process that it is difficult to actually see anything but the novel. In my case I blasted through the 50,000 word challenge so quickly that I literally wasn’t seeing anything else. As I have emphasized before, finishing a novel becomes a challenge, because you want every single thread, every drop of paint, to form a tapestry, a masterpiece of words and emotions. And as with everything else in life, this is much easier said than done. You may have to complete the work and remove yourself from it, stepping back out of the pond and letting the ripples fade to nothing, before you can truly see your work for what it is. When I next post this blog, I hope to have completed the novel’s rough draft. We’ll see how it goes.
Friday, November 15, 2013
As of this writing, I have completed more than 45,000 words of this novel. My standard operating practice involves no going back and editing until the work is done, and I plan to do the same here. My goal, again, is to blow past the 50,000 words that are required and get at least 70,000 before I put this one to bed. Writing this novel with such speed, at such a torrid pace, was completely unexpected for me. As I try to rake leaves and dodge snow, and do laundry and clean house and get myself ready for Christmas, I leave ample time every day to work on my novel. I continue to learn that writing is about pushing yourself and cranking out story even when you’re not feeling one-hundred percent. When you push yourself past your limits, to the edge of your expectations and over the cliff, you find out how bad you want to cross the finish line and what you’ll do to get there. As far as the novel is concerned, I have altered some plot points since I wrote my summary, but the basic story is unchanged.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
If writing is like exercise and a skill that must be practiced, then I allowed myself to atrophy and weaken in the two months while I took a sabbatical from the whole business of conceiving novels. The good news is that I was able to slip back into a familiar routine and push myself to craft and create and image. In the first week of this project, I have written upwards of 14,000 words, and while I am not sure if this is a personal best, it does prove that I remember something about how to lay out my thoughts. I’m sure it also helps that this is a sequel to the last novel I completed as well as a story idea that I rendered in my head, figuring and refiguring and wondering about constantly. This novel feels like it’s headed somewhere, and I have plans to write another, unrelated one next month if everything pans out the way I hope.