Week one down. 10,032 words, just slightly under par. But it’s not for a lack of effort.
1. Writing begets writing…to a point – I’ve always said that the more you write the more you write, but I’ve discovered the upper limit of that maxim this week. Between NaNoWriMo, 4000+ words of writing for homework, the writing I do during my nine-to-five, and various sundry activities that involve letters and words and sentences, I’ve reach critical mass. My brain has stopped processing; fiction seems fact and I’m editing stuff I’ve already edited because I can’t remember what I edited the first time around. It is a good thing to flex your muscles and stay in shape, but over training just leads to exhaustion.
If anyone you know ever says they want to do NaNo while also working full time and taking two graduate level classes, buy them a cup of coffee.
2. Practice makes perfect, or at least perfunction – I find that NaNo this year, despite new responsibilities and distractions, is actually significantly easier than last year. The writing flows more smoothly, and I have confidence that it’s OK to write some stuff that doesn’t sound perfect because I know I’ll be able to fix it in edits. It could be a side effect of so saturating myself in all things writing, or just that a success last year instilled in me some badassery and boldness, but when I do get my time to sit down and write it comes out with almost no painful forcing of my brain juices.
Once you know you can do something, doing it again becomes more an exercise in repetition than self-confidence.
3. Short Stories are @#$@% awesome – I think if I was writing a traditional novel right now, I’d be much farther behind on word count. Being able to mentally leap from story to story, at different points in time in different places in the world makes getting words down blissfully simple. If I’m not feeling the next chronological section, I’ll just go wherever my creativity flairs. It allows me to writing something despite my mood or level of fatigue and gives me freedom to loosely add to the overall world of my novel. It will probably mean a lot more consistency checking once I’m finished, but it seems a tiny tax in the bigger view of the project.
A novel made up of short stories is basically a normal novel where themes and recurrence replace direct plot.
4. Mobility is king – Given my time constraints, I’ve been finding myself writing in less than optimal places. Cramped metro seats, in 15 minute breaks during meetings, in my car waiting to pick up my wife. I’m normally such a creature of habit that I need to be at my desk to write. But this November has forced me from my comfortable blanket of habits. I’ve been whipping my laptop out at pretty much every opportunity and filled margin to margin of pages in my little notebook with hasty inken scribblings.
Always be ready to get uncomfortable when necessity rears its ugly head.
Writing drink of choice for week one: Swedish Style Glögg (one part IKEA Glögg, one part Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon, 90 seconds in the microwave. You can thank me later.)
How is everyone else doing? Making word count? Behind? Ahead? Off-track, on-track? I’d love to hear about some other experiences so far!