Everything goes better with a schedule of some form. Over the past several months this is the aspect of writing that I’ve struggled with the most. Finding a way to balance out the various segments of life in order to find a productivity sweet spot that wouldn’t have my wife following me around with a noose.
And, I believe, that I’ve finally found one that works. Although this first week was a bit up and down, the refining is getting down to finer points and my wife is happy with things. And yes, I will be sharing my techniques, tips, and such in the coming weeks.
One of the key shifts I made was a decision on how best to use my NaNoWriMo time this year. Which is, to first draft the first three novella’s in this series in a contiguous manner as a single work. Target word count for November: 90k.
Last year, I came into NaNo with what I thought was a well-prepared outline, a good idea of my main character and lots of drive to succeed.
Well, I succeeded in completing NaNo but the story was not one I would ever show. To anyone. Ever. However, I am not one to waste an idea, so I saved the concept and have reworked it over the past year into something far better. Lessons learned and applied.
I see many people fret back and forth, agonizing over NaNo and whether to participate or not. My advice – unless your schedule is unforgiving – Do It!
Here is why I say this.
NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write 50k words in 30 days. That is 1667 words a day. Last year, heading into the challenge, my best writing day was barely above 1k. However, by pushing myself through NaNo 2011 I learned that 1667 is doable in about an hour or so, if one suspends their inner editor. After all, what we are writing is a first draft. A vomit draft. So why waste effort on perfection (a pipe dream) when we could just take a deep breath and write.
After NaNo, I did not have a story I wanted to take further as it was. But, I had experience on how the one I had written had failed and focused on revamping the concept. This was not where NaNo’s influence ended, however.
I thought, if I can do 50k in 30 days, what can I do in a few months, or a year. If one types 2740 words a day they will come out with just over 1 million words in a year. No, I didn’t do this.
What I did was write 2740 a day from Jan to March – approximately 278k words. I wrote off of prompts I created for myself, free wrote on subjects, characters, places, etc. Every day.
The result is the above mentioned revamp, the novella series I’m currently working on and about 25 other stories that can be enlarged into shorts, novella’s and novels. Granted, half of what I wrote (or two-thirds) was garbage that will languish in a folder on my system for all eternity. But that “waste” doesn’t matter given the pile of usable material that came to life through the project.
And here is my point: While NaNo may seem like a major challenge, that, my friends, is all in the mind. If one takes the time to participate, they will benefit, regardless of whether that first NaNo draft is a best seller or just a pile of words.
If you are still on the fence about NaNo, throw your hat into the ring and take the challenge. Regardless of “winning” or final word count, if you take the time to attempt this endeavor you will learn a great deal about yourself and writing that will allow you to maximize your potential far beyond the end NaNo.
If you decide to participate, or already are signed up, I’d love to buddy with you. Either leave your NaNo user name in the comments or look me up at: Gene Lempp on NaNo.
Okay, enough on that.
Over this week, I spent 2 four hour blocks researching subjects for “Ben” (code name for the novella series). I also spent 2 days working on refining the treatment for the first novella. Two days I was out with a torn shoulder muscle (over-extended while painting, but all better now) and one day where I was consumed by calls and kidtivities. Still, getting my writing block on four out of seven days is an improvement and I’m thrilled with it.
For the coming week: I finally got a copy of the pic for my new Gravatar/Icon from my daughters camera, so the plan is to roll that out this week. I’ll be plotting an Act a day throughout this week, which should net me two novellas (note that I already have the world build and characters completed so this isn’t as daunting as it sounds). Oh, and I’ll be compiling a production schedule with deadlines (because I seem to be motivated by those better than just winging it).
That is all for this week.
Except for: Designing from Bones will be returning (yes, regularly, finally) on Wednesday and I hope you’ll join me *smile*
Be sure to get out and encourage your fellow ROWers. The path is always easier with a friend by your side.