NaNo 2012 Update 2

November 14, 2012 at 8:44 pm (NaNoWriMo) (, , , , , )

I have been…not as good this week.

In fact, I’d feel downright ashamed of myself if it weren’t for the gradual realization that maybe NaNo- as in the daily practice of NaNo- isn’t such a great thing for me. It’s not the overall word count I’m struggling with- it’s the effort of writing every single day whether I feel like it or not. That’s not really how my brain works, especially not when there’s a question of work. But, here’s the breakdown on this week’s walk of shame.

(and that’s completely personal shame- in no way am I pronouncing shame on you ‘if you didn’t do better’. I set an expectation for myself and failed to live up to it)

7 November Full day of work but came home and did some writing in the evening. This is kind of a strange book for me, the first one I’ve known so deeply, so entirely, that I’m forgetting to give things a foundation. There are two characters who are supposed to be particularly antagonistic to each other, and later on I remember to say that they’re appalled by the thought of agreeing buuuut…forgot to lay all the groundwork earlier for why. I foresee a great deal of editing in my future.
Word count for the day: 3879

8 November Day off! Some chores and errands to do, including a run across town (why do some companies make it so frickin hard to pay a bill?!) but overall, pretty happy with the day’s haul. Got out of the house for most of it, which seems to be the way I get more work done. Some fun chapters- fighting, pissing off a parental unit, and introducing a character I absolutely love and shamelessly dragging into the rewrite far earlier than he appeared in the original. Because you know? Some characters you just need more of.
Work count for the day: 7610

9 November Full day of work. Well, mostly full. I left a couple of hours early because there’s a galloping crud going around the staff. Tis the season, and in all honesty, I’d rather get it now and be done with it then get it any time between Black Friday and the end of January. Can we tell I work retail. Got some writing done but was just really feeling cruddy, so I mostly just curled up in the chair with the cat and some cocoa, a bunch of comfort foods, and watched the ultimate pretty that is Planet Earth
Word count for the day: 1763

10 November Worked a half day, still miserably sick. Hurt to swallow, which made staying hydrated rather difficult, brain not particularly wanting to work. More Planet Earth, more cuddling with the cat, but once the soup started taking effect, the brain started working a little more easily.
Word count for the day: 5066

11 November Day off, but still sick, so most of the day passed in the armchair with the rest of Planet Earth. Got a little bit done, came up against a dilemma with how to handle a specific scene, and I’ve learned I do not write well out of order. The writing I was planning to do later in the evening got derailed by the loan of all the Bond films, on the understanding that I have to watch all of them, in order, because I’m allowed to go see Skyfall. And may I just say, OH MY GOD these movies are hurting my brain. There’s so much in me that protests, and I’m not even through the Sean Connery set. Between the constant cringing and the massacre of unsuspecting brain cells, it’s incredibly difficult to write through these movies. But, you know, some writing got done in the afternoon.
Word count for the day: 3292

12 November Full day at work, feeling a little better but still cruddy. Tried to write, managed maybe five hundred words- so few I didn’t even bother to write down the number so I wouldn’t know just how ashamed I needed to be. So, feeling rather too self-indulgent, I curled up with a book. Doing projects back to back, I haven’t just sat down and read in a month and a half, so giving a whole evening over to just reading was GLORIOUS. Of course, it helped that the book was frickin AMAZING OH MY GOD PUNCH YOU RIGHT IN THE FEELS GORGEOUS (Laini Taylor’s Days of Blood and Starlight, if anyone’s curious, review will be coming up next month when I’ve had some time to process, stop drooling, and maybe if I’m lucky speak about it coherently). Should feel guilty but oh, it was just that good.
Word count for the day: mreh

13 November This was the day I’d actually planned not to write. Having the one day break last week seemed to do wonders for me, and I’d thought about rescinding it, given Monday’s performance, and then looked at what I needed to do in the apartment before company came over, including dishes, cleaning the bathroom, putting things away, and just generally tidying up. And, feeling a bit more cruddy than the day before, I decided to go with it. And by ‘it’, I mean rewarding myself after each block of housework with an episode of Castle.
Word count for the day: zero.

So, overall, not a fantastic week. Total word count for NaNo: 44, 599, not counting the couple hundred from Monday’s travesty. Near the goal, yes, but just…not the performance I wanted to put in. Would love to say this coming week will be better, but I’m still sick. Tonight’s not looking promising- came home from work, took out the trash, and now my brother is here for Pizza and Bad Movie Night. (More Bond, if anyone’s curious- Thunderball)

Those of you doing NaNo, how are you doing? Check in below!

Until next time~
Cheers!

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How Much Is Too Much?

February 19, 2012 at 10:00 am (Writing) (, , , )

(With help from our friendly neighborhood lolcats)

I’ve been doing some research lately.

A lot of research.

A LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT of research.

As in, I started doing this research back at the end of June. I have five hundred something pages of notes, without even counting the printed off pictures and the marked up maps. That’s straight research, not even planning or character notes or anything (those are in a separate notebook).

And at some point I started wondering: am I procrastinating?

You probably know the feeling. That vague itching in the back of your skull that whispers that you’re finding more to research just to put off having to actually start. It’s avoidance. It’s fear. It’s laziness.

At first it was easy to tell the voice to stfu. After all, my topics for this project require a ton of research. There are a lot of details that have to be right, questions of timing and politics and did this exist and such not. In a well written historical, you don’t notice all the details that make the time period come alive. Get one of those details wrong? You notice. And it’s important to tackle a subject from more than one source, because sometimes new data is unearthed or an author’s bias skews the information past use, and some offer interesting pieces that others don’t.

But as the stack of notes got taller and taller and the list of finished books got longer and longer, not to mention the list of books yet to attack, the voice got a little more persistent. A little harder to ignore. Every time I found a new piece of information, something that would actually make a difference in the story, I told myself I was on the right track. After all, I’d know if I were actually finished, right? If I had enough information to write the story, I’d be writing it.

Passing the seven month mark made me sit back and try to look at it a bit more objectively. Less defensively.

It surprised me how quiet the voice was.

Do I have more information than I need? Absolutely. Even when I started skimming sections that don’t directly affect my storyline, and stopped writing down things I already had from five different sources, I still have more pertinent information than I can ever hope to filter in. It can be a benefit though; the more times I write a thing down, the easier it is to remember it without reference. These are the things I can weave through naturally because the knowledge feels as much a part of me as the story does. It’s that much less to doublecheck as I write. I’m also finding the things I don’t need.

For example, I annotated an entire biography before I realized that my character wasn’t going to have nearly as much contact with that person as I’d originally thought. Frustrating…but wait! How many people is my character going to be talking to who DO have constant contact with that person? It’s still useful information. Not as useful as I’d hoped, but still useful.

The past couple of weeks, the whole argument felt different, like suddenly that little voice was on shaky ground and I was winning.

And then? I got proof.

The library has always been a dear friend to me, but it’s become especially useful these past months. I bought a few of the books that I thought I’d use frequently but it seemed silly (and out of my means) to buy books I’d be taking such thorough notes on if it was just for one project. I’ve gone to the library again and again, finding different books or having books sent from other branches. Plus, I had the good fortune to hit upon a topic near and dear to my father’s heart, so he sent me a handful of books he thought I’d find useful. (I did) Last weekend, on the way to my mother’s for family dinner, I stopped by one of the other branches to browse through their selection.

And I came away empty-handed.

Oh, there were books that seemed interesting, books I’ll want to scan through some other time for my personal edification, but nothing I felt was necessary or particularly relevant to what I need.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel!

Just a couple more books, and then I can actually throw myself headlong into planning and then, just a very short time later, into *gasp* actual writing.

So in a way, I was right when I kept telling that little voice to shut up. I would know when I was ready to stop doing research. It just took a little longer than I expected it to.

So my question is: how do you know when it’s time to start writing?

And how do you deal with the doubt that comes with the question?

Until next time~
Cheers!

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