Monday, November 19, 2012

NaNoWriMo - Status update

I have a love/hate relationship with NaNoWriMo. For those of you who don't know, NaNoWriMo is National Write a Novel Month. Every November, writers, professional and amateur, sign to write 50,000 words or more in the month. So, technically, it's not a full novel. Heck, for epic fantasy, it's a half novel. The point isn't as much as completing a novel in a month as it is to get motivated and write. A lot.

I love the idea and the competition, even though it's just myself I'm competing against. I hate the idea that writers should dedicate themselves to this lofty goal for only one month a year. Evan Braun did a great post on being a professional writer all year-round on the Fictorian's site under the title: The Year-Round Professional so I won't replow that ground.

In it's own way, NaNo teaches us how to be a professional writer. To get to 50,000 words, you have to spend some real BIS (Butt in the Seat) time. Sometimes hitting 50,000 words is easy. Other times, not so much. This is my third year participating in NaNo. The last two times, I hit or surpassed the 50,000 mark. After rewriting, I probably only wrote 30,000 usable words each time. But that's nothing to sneer over.

This year I wanted to take a different approach. I knew I was going to lose five or six writing days because I was attending the World Fantasy Convention. Rather than a modest 1,666 words a day, I need to average closer to 2,000 to catch-up. Every day I missed after, and I've missed some, meant my needed daily word count average is closer to 2,500. Knowing that this year was going to be a challenge, I cheated.

Before you scowl. I haven't really cheated. I picked a story that was almost finished. I need about 30,000 words to reach "happily every after." If I hit that point, I'll consider myself a winner. Even if NaNo doesn't. If I finish New Bohemia: Just One Night, I have another novel that I can work on for the other 20,000. So, I'm not that upset that I'm at 16,000 words. I'm halfway to my real goal.

Okay, back to my point. While I can bust 50,000 words in a month, I've done it before from when I was even further behind, my super secret goal is to write 30,000 words I can keep. The writing is slower for my attempt, which is why I'm hovering closer to 20,000 words than the 36,000 I "should" have. So, no tricks for me. No describing a meal in excruciating detail, a suggested tip for making up word count. Honest words. Good clean words. Well, not "clean" since this is erotic romance, but you get the point. So, how am I doing?
“I don’t want to think. If I think, I won’t be able to do this. Please make me warm. Stop me from thinking,” May said.  
"Oh fuck, May.”
When Pete rolled his eyes, she sank her teeth into his neck.“That’s sort of the point." 
But I'm being a little dishonest with you too. I'm a competitive SOB. You don't get to be a good trial lawyer without being competitive. I hate to lose. I'm pushing for 50,000 words across two stories.

There's a point I made that I want to circle back to. I said I "should" have 36,000 words written by now. Why did I put should in quotes? Because "should" means nothing. Writing means everything. NaNo is just one more reason for me to sit down at my desk (or in bed), break out the computer and write.

If you're participating in NaNo, I wish you fast fingers and a prolific muse. You can write 50,000 words in 30 days. See you at that finish line.


Eleni Konstantine said...

Great blog post, Nancy. I agree with the 'Writing is everything.' Stuff the shoulds. You're doing fantastic. (from someone not in NaNo and their writing = assignments this month)

Nancy DiMauro said...

Thanks Eleni.

Heather H. said...

Good, clean words are definitely better than words for the sake of words. Good luck reaching your NaNo goal!