Half Time Recap

Kara Howell

KEEP WRITING! Take that 20 minute locker room break, eat an actual meal, let your eyes rest, dare to venture out into the sunlight since you began your writing adventures with NaNo!

I am super excited for my compadre who has been dedicated to this triathlon for writers and I can’t wait to see her results! How are your writings going?

I had to admit – I am not participating as much as I wish had been, but it at least didn’t completely sneak out from under me this year. I am very aware of my writing and lack there of this month, but we all press on as writers year round. But major props to all your NaNo-ists, and best of luck.

Back up all your work on an external or cloud! We all know how that feels the moment you typed out 10,000 words only to have everything freeze and no auto-save – yikes.

For those few exclusive few who choose to read our humble little blog, EXTRA kudos to you and we send you all the best writing vibes and anit-writer’s block formula extra strength to ward off minor blocks, major blocks, and keeps you energized throughout the night. For a daytime prescription, leave a comment below and tell us about your writing adventures so far in NaNo!

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The Inciting Incident

In working through NaNoWriMo I have now come to a wall.  I feel like all those people following Forrest Gump while he was running around the country when he stops running and says “I’m kinda tired.  i think I’ll go home now.”  They all stand there staring at him and say “What are we supposed to do?”  My book is Forrest Gump and the Inciting Incident, which is the only thing I knew when I started writing, is the stopping point.  Now I’m sitting here saying, “What am I supposed to do?”

 

Of course, I do actually know the answer.  I am supposed to keep writing.  I’m supposed to write and write and write even if nothing of consequence is coming out.  But when you don’t know where you’re going any more, or at the very least you have nothing to chase after, it’s very difficult to even move.

 

However, we are only half way through week 2.  There is still plenty of time for me to churn out the number of words I need to finish.  And the fact is that if I keep writing, eventually something will happen.  Eventually my characters, the people in my head, will tire of sitting around doing nothing and will decide to do something and drag me along again.  That is just fine.  I’d rather not work too much anyway, so if they would just do stuff that would be really helpful.

 

So, off I go. Instead of procrastinating, like I’m doing right now, I’m going to hunker down and actually write something that might, eventually, be worth reading.

NaNoWriMo Week 1

Week 1 started out AWESOME.  I was averaging around 1900 words per day and feeling very good about myself.  There were words flowing, back story being revealed and even plot-like stuffs happening.

 

Unfortunately I was tired one day and essentially took the day off.  Yeah, I can’t do that again.  I did continue to write after those first few days.  It’s not like I just let it go and haven’t written anything in several days.  But I didn’t write nearly enough.  The word dump has stalled.

 

Time to get it going again.

 

Today is the end of Week 1.  Tomorrow starts Week 2 and a Fresh Start.  (Not that I’m starting over on the story or, God forbid, starting a NEW story, just that I’m recommitting.)

 

And my Municipal Liaison for NaNoWriMo gave me a good mantra to use this coming week borrowed from the greatest of cartoon philosophers.

 

“Just keep swimming.  Just keep swimming.  Just keep swimming.”

It Begins at Midnight

NaNoWriMo 2014 is practically here.  Starting at midnight writers around the world will begin writing their novels.  They will all be attempting to write 50,000 words in only 30 days.  That breaks down to 1667 words per day.  There will be many who succeed.  There will also be many who will wash out in the first week or two.

 

In years past that has been me.  You may remember that rant from my last post about NaNo.

 

But that will not be me this year.  I’m determined.

 

I still have no idea what the story is.  I don’t know who all the characters are or what they want or what the plot line is.  But I’ve been reading No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo.  He seems to be a pantser like me and he outlines how to write a book in a month without actually knowing what the story is.  With that helpful book beside me, I think I can do it this year.

 

I suppose we’ll see for sure, but I’m going to outline my plan right now, so that I have some accountability for it.  I plan on writing for at least two hours every day.  I’m weird and I write everything by hand first, so I plan to begin my writing day by typing up what I wrote the day before.  This is not to edit.  I will NOT edit.  I’m promising myself to leave Irene (my Inner Editor) locked up for the month.  This is purely so that I have a word count I can put up and so that I don’t have to try to finish all 50k words in 25 days so that I have time to type up all of them in order to verify my word count at the end of the month.  Plus it will help orient me back into the story every day.

 

I also plan on giving regular updates on the blogs (this one and my personal blog erinschlomach.wordpress.com) just to let everyone know how it is going.  You may see some posts that are just numbers (the word count) and I will probably share frustrations and triumphs.

 

So, here it goes.  I’m diving in.  Here’s hoping I won’t drown.

Wishful Writer 2: Gearing up for NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is a great way to get words on paper.  Especially if you have someone to work with you.  I am going to attempt the 50k words in 30 days this year.  I’ve attempted it several years previous, but I’ve always stalled out about halfway through the month (last year I stalled out a week in).  I have selected a piece of writing that has been kicking in my brain for a couple of years now and made it into my idea book.  There are no names really, and I don’t even know what the story is, but I wrote out this scene and I feel like it is the story I need to work on this year.
The problem is that I don’t know anything about it.  Of course, many writers do that with NaNo.  They start with a blank screen and a blank mind and the start with “Once upon a time. . .” at the beginning of the month without any idea what might come next.  There are other writers who spend all year outlining, researching, character building, re-oulining, developing, and basically pre-writing their story, and then they actually do the writing during NaNo.
The super detailed outline is not me.  If I start off with a super detailed outline I feel like all the creativity is sucked out of the writing process.  In addition I’m slightly OCD, so when I deviate from the outline I feel like I have to go back and redo the outline and figure out how the deviation fits into the outline I wrote before I can move on.  That means that a week in one of my characters does something unexpected and I find out something new, and then I have to spend the rest of the month thinking about it and getting frusterated that I have to change the outline around.  Not productive.
On the flip side, I’ve tried charging ahead without any plan whatsoever.  I tend to write myself into a corner and can’t figure out how to get back out of it.  I write to a stand still and either run out of ideas or have tons of ideas, none of which actually make sense.  (This is the point where I generally change the point of view character and end up frusterated because I’m essentially retelling the story from another POV.)  Then I never get to the end of the story because I can’t figure out how to get there.
So now, I’m stuck between trying to figure out how much planning I need, but not wanting to do too much planning and every time I try to think about it I get nervous about over planning anything.  I literally have NO idea what the story is about right now.  I know there is a compelling scene that seems to be the beginning, but I don’t know for sure.  Maybe it takes place in the middle of the book.  Maybe it’s the ending.  I don’t know.  I have a sense of who these people are, but no clear view of what their names are and what they do for a living.   But I don’t want to go in knowing everything.
I suppose we’ll see what happens this year, but I’m just letting everyone know that I’m having a hard time this year.  I’ve always had at least a basic idea of what the story would be.  But maybe that is a good thing.  Maybe that will be freeing this year.  I’m just trying to stay positive (though I know it doesn’t sound like it).  I think I will simply focus on getting words on the page.  Ultimately, even if I only get 25k words, that’s good.  Even if I get 50k words and only 20k of them are usable that’s good.  Even if I get 50k words by writing the same three pages over and over again I will at least be able to say I lived The Shining.