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Wednesday, November 2, 2011
This month I am taking part in Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) with a target of 50,000. I signed up for this challenge last year and manged to sidetrack myself into other activities so this year I am trying to remain more focused on the task. It's a long time since I set out to write a longer work and I'm hoping the discipline will aid my writing.
Day one and I'm tempted to cheat, to drag out an unfinished novel mouldering on my hard drive, well I wasn't really tempted but I could see some might be. But it wouldn't prove anything if I were to do this, and the sense of achievement would be lost, so I started from scratch. My target word count for the month equates to 1667 words per day. Easy, you say, and that is right, but not so much when it is coming as a stream of consciousness and still needs to have the form of a novel - my rule for the month - so I began to write stopping at 1735 words, a little over my quota but nothing ground shaking. I then wasted time - too much time - trying to work out how to update my word count. Am I that thick? Well, apparently so. In the end, after trolling the help files to no avail, I had to give in and ask how to do it in a forum. very relieved to see I'm not the only dunderhead here as someone else needed to know the same thing. I got a greater sense of achievement from updating my word count than the actual writing.
Day two and I'm eager to resume writing. A few other writing chores to deal with first and an assignment to begin for my editing and proofreading course.Planning is the answer for today - write then rest with a diversionary activity - well that's the plan. It worked to some degree. 2267 words today so I'm ahead of schedule, which I need to be as there'll be a couple of days this month when I won't be able to write. I'm on track, but is the story any good? Who knows. I've told myself I'm only going to read over the work once a week, hard going for a compulsive editor like me but that's another rule I've made for myself.
I woke to a disaster today. I had a mid morning appointment and decided to use any time spent in the waiting room to write up character, time and place statistics for my novel - so I turned the computer on and opened the Word file, ready to jot down relevant details before I left. What! All my writing of the last two days had gone - disappeared - left the building - and all that was left was the meagre outline I'd written before I began writing in earnest on the first day. After looking in every nook and cranny on my PC it finally dawned where it had got to. I have a bad habit of having numerous pages and browsers open at the same time, which means I often have to close from the bottom tool bar, as the PC becomes as confused as I and refuses to cooperate at all. What had happened was, when I highlighted and copied text to validate my update, I didn't return to the open file, leaving the work still highlighted. I wandered around the internet for awhile, played a few mind numbing games to flush any unused words from my brain - and then closed the file from the bottom toolbar. When I got a save prompt that is what I did - consequently it saved minus the highlighted section. I felt like giving up at this point, knowing from experience words, once written, will never be written in the same order ever again. I went to my appointment minus notes and stared at the carpet in the waiting room until I was called. I came home and completed an assignment and posted it - then I started writing again. Is it as good as yesterday's effort? Probably not. The important thing is that I got back on my bike, put my feet on the pedals and rode back into writing mode.
No disasters today, although my word count was down on previous days' efforts. This could be because I'm spending more time saving the work - and to multiple destinations. I'm still enjoying watching the characters unfold beneath my fingers and the freedom of not editing or doing any corrections as I write. I know where the story began and I have a firm idea for the ending, it's all the bits in the middle I'm not sure of.
Does the lack of entries here mean I have been flat out writing - well, yes I think it does. I never did recover the work I lost but I'm now up to 12,741 words and happy about my progress so far. I will lose a couple of writing days this week but hopefully will make up for some lost ground at the weekend. I have camera club tomorrow night and , while not happy with the shots I've taken (am I ever) I thought they would have to do - until I went upstairs to close the blinds and noticed a magnificent sunset rapidly disappearing. grabbed camera and husband and raced up One Tree Hill, the highest point in town, only realizing half way I didn't have my camera bag with distance lens - no matter, got some good shots which I'll sort through tomorrow during a break from Nanowrimo.
Almost half way through and, despite the loss of words on day 3 and two days out with other responsibilities, I'm amazed to find I'm still on track with the word count. I hit a bit of a wall yesterday and today, when The flow seemed to dry up. Not that I stopped writing, it's just that what I wrote is probably sheer prattle that may have to be edited out once I've finished. Who knows - the story is still rolling along and that's the main thing. Apart from the setbacks I'm very much enjoying the challenge and learning more about the writer in me as I progress.
27,520 words so far keeping me on track with the word count. What I've noticed is, as I'm writing forward, any minor discrepancies in the story to date jump up and bite me and, rather than back track and fix the problem, I just make a note to go back to it later. Still travelling.
Well, the month is rolling by fast - very fast - faster than I'd like. Word count yesterday 37,732 words. I'm on track, but would prefer to be further ahead with a few days out before the end of the month. Will I make target? I don't know. Does it matter? No, because I've made an excellent start on something I think might be worthwhile continuing with and I've learnt a lot about my writing through undertaking this exercise.