NaNo 2012 Update 4

November 28, 2012 at 9:50 pm (NaNoWriMo) (, , , , )

This is where I admit that I’ve learned two very, very important things this month.

First thing- trying to push myself to write every day around a full time job is basically equivalent to stomping all over my productivity. I am not a writer who paces myself. I’m a writer who binges on words and scenes and whole chapters at a time.

Second thing- I need to never, ever, EVER draft back to back. Going from a draft to an edit, all good. Going from an edit to a draft, still good. Draft to draft? NEVER AGAIN. I need time to recharge after a draft, and editing uses a very different part of my brain than drafting. Trying to draft two projects in a row, especially projects SO radically different, damaged something in my brain, I think.

That’s not to say my NaNo was a failure- it definitely wasn’t. I made my word count and then some.

More importantly, it’s taught me more about how I write.

There are a lot of books and websites and people out there purporting to tell people how to write. I kind of hate them. Not in a personal sort of way, but in a “it’s the principle of the thing” kind of way, because everyone writes in a different way. The important thing isn’t to learn “how to write”, it’s to learn “how YOU write”. Learning what does and does not work for you, for your productivity and efficiency, for your style and voice, for your characters, that’s essential to your growth as a writer.

And doing NaNo has taught me that doing NaNo is not necessarily what’s best for me.

I only wrote one day this past week- I spent Thanksgiving morning and early afternoon sinking into the words, got seven thousand or so of them down, and I’m happy with them. And then I didn’t touch it. I started the Christmas movies. I played with my new phone- or more specifically, played with the ringtones, which kind of makes me wish I received more calls. I pulled all my many MANY boxes and bags and containers of beads and started organizing them all. I repaired some old jewelry. I read some old manuscripts.

And I desperately needed that break.

Because I have a day off tomorrow, and I fully intend to go to my writing cave and lose myself in the story again. I’m super excited for what happens next, and I’m actually really near the end of the story, which always adds a certain thirst to keep going. In trying to force myself to write outside of my habits, outside of ways I knew worked for me, I made writing into a chore, rather than letting it be the joy it is and should be.

So I’m going to write tomorrow, but after that not for a few days, and we’ll see how it goes after that.

How is your NaNo doing?

Until next time~
Cheers!

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NaNo 2012 Update 3

November 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm (NaNoWriMo) (, , , )

By now I’ve admitted to myself that the next time I do NaNo, I need to not worry about churning out daily word counts. I’m not quite sure how I’ve managed it, but somehow the attempt to write every single day actually made me less productive. My results this week show that to a very large degree, mainly because once I hit the NaNo goal, I went back to doing it my way.

(which is to take my days off and camp out in a public writing cave, where I don’t have nearly as many distractions, and whenever else in the week inspiration strikes)

14 November: Didn’t write at all. Instead, I took another reading day and lost myself in Reached by Ally Condie. It’s hard for me to read new stuff while I’m writing, so I tend to either reread old favorites, or save the new stuff for days where I know I’m not going to be writing at all. It keeps what I’m reading from sneaking into what I’m writing. Plus, after work, it was pizza and bad movie night with my brother. We’re continuing my education in the Bond movies, but I’m having trouble forcing myself through the list. The early ones hurt my brain SO BADLY.
Word count for the day: zero.

15 November: Day off, but also kind of an off day, at least writing wise. Went over to the mother’s house to do laundry while the brother baked pumpkin bread (which smelled and tasted DELICIOUS), and we watched Starship Troopers and John Leguizamo’s Freaks while those things were happening (oh, and Troopers? He’ll deny this vociferously, but that was my first official bad movie night). Then we went and saw Wreck-it Ralph, which, if you’ve grown up playing any sort of video or arcade games, you HAVE to go see. The story was cute, led exactly where it was supposed to, still had a nice little surprise, but the characters were superb and the gamer jokes AWESOME. Eventually got some writing done, but wasn’t really stressing about it. By this point I’d landed pretty solidly in the ‘meh’, not in the story but in the process.
Word count for the day: 1839

16 November: Full day of work, but felt pretty good afterwards, and I was starting to get into a really challenging, difficult, exciting part. I often find that the pieces that are the most difficult to write in any given story are the ones I most look forward to. We’re reaching a point of political and personal trauma, rapid changes, lines being drawn, and someone having to choose which of those lines to step up to or cross. All about decisions and choices, and most importantly of all, consequences.
Word count for the day: 2464

17 November: Full day of work, a good one but a busy one, and I came home completely brain dead. I was going to write- even opened up the computer and put one of the old standbys in the player- and then ended up reading some amazing Harry Potter fanfic while letting the Whitney Houston Cinderella play four times in a row because I was too lazy to get up and change the disc. Probably should have felt guilty. Didn’t.
Word count for the day: zero.

18 November: Schedule wise this was a weird day, but an ultimately productive one. Went to the mother’s and watched the brother play Lego LOTR, which was funny enough on its own, but then you combine the ACTUAL MOVIE VOICES and the ridiculous Lego in-jokes, and I was dying. Lunch instead of dinner with the family, because the mothers were on their way out of town for the week, and then I found a writing cave for a few hours. This early-dark stuff has my brain all turned around; it makes writing near windows very strange. BUT- lots of words and good scenes done, enough that I wasn’t that grumpy about having to go to the holiday meeting for work that night.
Word count for the day: 6911

19 November: Full day of work, then came home, put the South Park movie on repeat, and read more Harry Potter fanfiction. No shame.
Word count for the day: zero.

20 November: Day off, spent MUCH time in the writing cave, and came away with my most productive day of the month, applicable to word count, chapter tally, and just what I accomplished in the scenes I got down. Got less productive once I got home and had some chores to do, and then tried to write while watching Firefly, which gets a little un-shiny, but I was still REALLY happy with how everything turned out.
Word count for the day: 9482

Total word count so far for NaNo: 65310

So I’ve met the NaNo goal, but stopping now just seems silly. I’ll keep going until I finish the draft. Then I’m spending at least two weeks binge-reading all the shiny new things I’ve been stockpiling over the past two months.

If you’re doing NaNo, how are you doing? Check in below! And remember to back up your stuff, even if you just email it to yourself. After so much work, it would greatly suck for it to vanish.

Until next time~
Cheers!

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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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