Saturday, November 21, 2009

EndWeek NaNoPost



I'm hoping by the time this post shows up on the blog that I've completed 50K and made my NaNoWriMo goal. But if I haven't, I'm sure you'll forgive me; we've still got nine days left.

This past week for me has been all about striking back. I got over a major disruption and took back my writing space. Every time I sat down to work it felt like victory, as if I'd taken back my Road Runner lunchbox from a schoolyard bully. Life can interrupt and shout and hit and stomp you, but at the end of the day if you really want that PB&J, you have take it back and say "Mine."

The last week of NaNoWriMo will be a bit like a deadline week is for a pro. You may become painfully aware of time, or see November 30th bearing down on you like a train without brakes. Panic can set in, and so can the urge to have multiple marathon writing sessions. Just the other day I caught myself doing the math in my head to see how much I'd have to write per day to finish the entire book by November 30th (about 5.4K, or eight hours of writing sessions per day, which is doable -- but I'd have to set aside all my other WIPs to do it.)

If you've fallen behind, I'm not going to tell you to give up on your goal. Some things are worth a couple of marathon writing sessions. Just be smart and try to pace yourself, take regular breaks and don't do a wordcount every five minutes.

If you're on schedule or you're in the home stretch, don't rush things to finish early -- keep up a steady pace. One thing most pros do is learn how to take advantage of time and make the best use of it versus forever trying to beat the clock. There are no prizes for the fastest writer, or the most prolific.

At this point whether you have 10K, 20K, 30K, or 49.9K, you may also have another visitation from the Ghost of Doubts and Fears Past. They like to drop in around now to remind you of how much you suck, and there's nothing they like better than to derail a writer who is coming within sight of their goal. I think they have prizes for that; little shrunken writer heads that they put on necklaces and wear around their scrawny necks.

If those old feelings get into your writing space, remember what you have to do: accept them, agree with them, and then write your words for the day. Don't waste your time and energy wrestling with invisible jackasses who only want to suck the life and joy out of your work and your skull.

So how are you NaNo'ers out there doing? Has anyone won, or gotten close to the finish line? Let us know in comments.

28 comments:

  1. Well done for getting so far and not giving up. Keep going, I admire all the Nanowriter folk. I might try it next year.

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  2. Congrats on finishing.

    I'm a bit behind but not so much that I won't finish.

    Silly Saturday #7 - Charm or Chores?

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  3. I'm feeling like a shrunken head, and yes, I'm at the point where everything sucks. But I'm forging ahead. I'll probably have to rewrite everything when this book is finished, but it WILL be finished. So there. =op (That last part was directed at my doubt monsters.)

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  4. I passed 38K this morning and I think I'm at the point past the boggy middle where I know what's going to happen and what needs to be done.

    My doubts are there, though - I'd already won by this time last year.

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  5. Keita Haruka10:44 AM

    I lost all of mine. The whole shebang of 30,872 words due to a computer glitch. That should teach me to back-up...

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  6. Thanks for all the encouragement. I've been wrestling with not giving up this week. Three days ago a new, shiny idea invaded my brain, and I couldn't get it out. And it made my nanostory seem stupid and boring. I think I've gotten that invader mostly shut up in the closet for now, but my working on my nanostory still feels like going to the dentist. But I decided I'm going to be stubborn and finish it. I can always burn it later if I need to, I guess. I guess those ghosts you mentioned have been talking to me because I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing and who am I to think I could even try this?

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  7. I know at this point, I won't make it. I'm only at 16K. I came down with the flu at the end of the first week of this month and I just have no brain! I try. I've used WOD and managed my best counts with that. But I've just not felt well enough to do that much.

    *sigh*

    I'll get this one done. I have no doubt about that. Just not by the end of the month, unfortunately.

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  8. There are no prizes for the fastest writer, or the most prolific.

    There's... not? But... but... I was looking forward to the sense of achievement! Hah!

    Anyone who attempts NaNo is winner - and I'm not being PC - because even for new writers, a sense of discipline comes in to play. 10k, 20k, 30k or the 200k I've got, they are words the writers didn't have last month; and that's something the Ghost of Doubts and Fears Past can't take away.

    So, blow the GDFP a raspberry, give 'em the finger, neener-neener; you've got words to edit and play with.

    Keita: a big 'ouch' there and hugs.

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  9. I am in total awe, Lynn, because I know you're writing SOLD projects at the same time! *befuddled* I broke 35K today and caught up. I have all of next week off from the Evil Day Job, but I'll be preparing for Thanksgiving dinner (we're hosting), so I hope I don't fall behind!

    Congrats on winning!

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  10. I'm a day behind...as long as I write today I'll be fine. Then tomorrow is my big catch up day.
    Congrats on reaching 50K!

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  11. I managed to claw myself to 52K this afternoon. WOW! I wasn't sure I could do NaNo at all, that 50K Mt Everest seemed pretty daunting on November 1st.

    Congrats that you made your goal today, too..!!!

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  12. Haven't reached the end yet, but I've made tremendous strides. It feels good to reach for what you know belongs to you.

    Back to writing!

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  13. So how did this 50k on one novel in roughly three weeks compare to your normal schedule as a professional writer? Did you write more or less than you normally would on a new work in progress because it was NaNoWriMo?

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  14. Glynis wrote: I might try it next year.

    It's worth it. I've done it three times now, although I never kept a progress journal until this year. Posting my entries and stats definitely helped motivate me.

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  15. Nessa wrote: I'm a bit behind but not so much that I won't finish.

    Good for you -- keep at it. :)

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  16. B.E. wrote: I'll probably have to rewrite everything when this book is finished, but it WILL be finished.

    My rewrites are going to be on the heavy side, too, as I changed my mind about a whole list of things as I was writing, and I had at least three days of writing nothing but trash.

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  17. Suelder wrote: I passed 38K this morning and I think I'm at the point past the boggy middle where I know what's going to happen and what needs to be done.

    Middles are universally wretched. Mine came at me a few times and tried to mire me down.

    My doubts are there, though - I'd already won by this time last year.

    Every book is different, I think, and you can never tell how it's going to go until you're writing it. I can start one and plod every day for three months, and then the next one seems to write itself in three weeks. I just wish I knew how to coax all of them into being that three-week joyous blur variety of novel.

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  18. Keita wrote: I lost all of mine. The whole shebang of 30,872 words due to a computer glitch.

    I'm so sorry, Keita. That is beyond unfair. But it's the same reason that made me obsessive about backups. I lost 175K due to a meltdown and had to recreate it from a single hard copy I'd printed that was missing twenty or so pages.

    One thing I've also gotten into the daily habit of doing is e-mailing my new work to myself immediately after I finish. I don't do CD backups until the evening, so if anything happens between noon and then I had the e-mail copy to preserve the work.

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  19. Rachel wrote: I guess those ghosts you mentioned have been talking to me because I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing and who am I to think I could even try this?

    They were over at my house week before this shrieking at me about how much I suck at writing in this new genre and how I should stick to what I know. I think they got tired of me agreeing with them as I typed. :)

    It's really excellent that you're sticking with the NaNoStory instead of being distracted by the Bright & Shiny. That's one of the toughest things to do as a writer, and what you'll have to do when you go pro.

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  20. Theo wrote: I know at this point, I won't make it. I'm only at 16K. I came down with the flu at the end of the first week of this month and I just have no brain! I try. I've used WOD and managed my best counts with that. But I've just not felt well enough to do that much.

    16K is nothing to mourn, Theo, and to do that much while wrestling with the flu is impressive.

    I'll get this one done. I have no doubt about that. Just not by the end of the month, unfortunately.

    Look at it this way -- NaNo motivated you to write 16K you might not have done otherwise (and with the flu to boot.) That is a real win for you.

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  21. Jaye wrote: Anyone who attempts NaNo is winner - and I'm not being PC - because even for new writers, a sense of discipline comes in to play.

    Absolutely. Learning that self-discipline is one of the greatest benefits of NaNoWriMo; you can't survive home-based self-employment without it. I keep things casual and comfortable, but I still go to work every day, and if I didn't have that cast-iron self-discipline to keep me at it, I'd never get anything done -- especially when things go south and I know I'm writing garbage. It would be so easy to give up, go and work on a quilt or paint or play with the camera; sometimes the urge is unbearable. But the routine of work first, play later is ingrained in me now, and play has become a reward system that keeps me on task. Those bargains I make with myself, i.e. "I finish this chapter, I get to work on the quilt" or "I make quota, I can take the girls to see a movie tomorrow" work better than a paycheck.

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  22. Joely Sue wrote: I am in total awe, Lynn, because I know you're writing SOLD projects at the same time!

    Two of them, plus two freebies (yes, I am insane.) This has been the most number of projects I've worked on simultaneously in a couple of years, and at times it's been a juggling act, but I also saw some great benefits from writing something for fun -- I felt more energized and enthusiastic coming off writing the NaNoNovel each day and did better when I worked on the contract novels.

    I broke 35K today and caught up. I have all of next week off from the Evil Day Job, but I'll be preparing for Thanksgiving dinner (we're hosting), so I hope I don't fall behind!

    You have been busy, congratulations! I'm working today to catch up on a few things so I can take off for Thanksgiving. We're also having an all-day Black Friday Buffet at my house for the kids and any friends who want to stop it and have a rest from standing in those lines (I refuse to step foot out of the house on Black Friday, but my guy is in retail and always has to work it, so we try to do something nice for him that day, too. I'm thinking a surprise German chocolate cake might do the trick this year.)

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  23. Tori wrote: I'm a day behind...as long as I write today I'll be fine. Then tomorrow is my big catch up day.

    You've got the right attitude. Good luck and keep at it. :)

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  24. Terlee wrote: I managed to claw myself to 52K this afternoon. WOW! I wasn't sure I could do NaNo at all, that 50K Mt Everest seemed pretty daunting on November 1st.

    Wow is right, that's amazing, congrats! It does look like a mountain when you first start, but all those 2-3K climbs really start to add up if you do them every day. :)

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  25. Tamika wrote: It feels good to reach for what you know belongs to you.

    I agree. I was coming off a serious case of the blues in October, and now I feel like I'm ready for the holiday rush. It rejuvenates like nothing else.

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  26. Eileen wrote: So how did this 50k on one novel in roughly three weeks compare to your normal schedule as a professional writer?

    It probably would have been a nice vacation if I had set aside the pro work and just focused on the NaNoNovel. :) But I have two books due in January and March respectively, so I had to work on those at the same time. I did scale back my quota for the contracted work for the month of November to commit the bulk of my writing time for NaNo, and it was nice only to have to write four or five pages a day on them.

    Did you write more or less than you normally would on a new work in progress because it was NaNoWriMo?

    A regular work month quota for me is 150-210K; at the moment my total for all the WIPs is 136K and I still have more than a week left to work. With the Thanksgiving holidays I'll probably finish out at 180K for the month, which is right where I want to be.

    I don't recommend my writing schedule for anyone who hasn't worked up to it, btw. I've been doing this for going on twenty years now, and when I started I was lucky to get 20-30K per month. Also I use VRS versus typing, and I think that gives me a definite edge with productivity (as long as my voice holds out.)

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  27. 90% done, a few more days of writing should do it. Now if I can just find the ideas. I have my final scene idea, but I need a few more. I have about 4000 more words to write, and one scene is not going to be 4000 words.

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  28. Wow, I knew I'd dropped off the map, but how could I miss this. I'm doing NaNo, which is no big surprise, but this is the first time which, thanks to being at a convention and then family visits, I didn't really start until the 8th. I've been scrambling to catch up instead of on track to finish a day or two early, but I'm currently at 36k and ended yesterday only 136 behind schedule.

    The fears that haunt me, especially with the book I've chosen, is running out of book before I reach 50k. However, this morning offered a scene split, putting me with only a 3k predicted deficit, and that can easily vanish because the average is based on a lot of shorter scenes in the beginning. Worst case scenario, I'll go back and describe the characters when they first appear (something I have to do anyway, since his basic leathers to protect against thorns and branches just appears out of nowhere).

    Oh, and may I say *gasp* at your "usual" schedule. Should have guessed it though. There's nothing usual about you :D.

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