Day 27 a.k.a What I Should Have Posted Two Days Ago

I didn’t think I’d finish Nanowrimo this year. Although, it is the first year I haven’t been attempting Nanowrimo while in school, which I think plays a major role. Last year I had finals, the year before it was midterms. The timing worked out for me this year, but it may never work out for me again.

My book isn’t really finished yet. It’s a little out of order and although it has a beginning and an ending and something of a middle, it seems like it’s missing a lot of transition and there are still a lot of loose ends. I’m going to keep working on it and I’ll participate in the revision months, January and February. It’s further along than I’ve gotten, so after that, who knows?

Day 21

 I’m trying not to get ahead of myself, but this may actually be the year I finish NaNoWriMo. I still have to get through Thanksgiving, family staying with us, and a big coding project, but I’m optimistic. I’ve been participating in NaNoWriMo word wars for the past few days (with the exception of yesterday) and it turns out, anything that appeals to my competitive nature is great for my productivity. In the past three hours I’ve written 4,000 words, meaning that I have a cushion of two days now. I may be sacrificing quality for speed, but I think it would be worth it if I actually have 50,000 words at the end of this.

Day Nine

I’ve written a total of 82,488 words (15,267 words in the last nine days) for my current story and I don’t like any of them. I don’t really think that’s a problem right now. I haven’t even really begun the editing process and if I ever finish the plot may look entirely different. But still, looking at it objectively today is making it hard to start writing today. So, I’ve written nothing.

NaNoWriMo Day Seven

I’m a little conflicted about NaNoWriMo this year. I like that it forces me to write more than I normally would, but I don’t like that the writing itself comes across as forced. I don’t think I write my best stuff during NaNoWriMo because I’m focusing on a word count rather than quality. I’ve started referring to my book (to myself) as No One Questions The Walrus, and I can’t really remember why. But it seemed funny at the time. So I’m really just creating a lot of work for myself in the editing stage. Still, you have to start somewhere.

Camp NaNoWriMo

Because I will continue to sign up for things I have no time for, I’m going to be doing Camp NaNoWriMo this April. I’m hoping that the month I have to prepare (and by “prepare” I mean try to slowly increment my daily word count from 100 to 800, and oh yeah, give my book an actual plot) and the halved word count goal, I’ll be able to finish this one. I still have school commitments. I’m in my last semester, so things are a little crazy, but I’d like to try. Maybe I’ll make it a third of the way this time rather than a fifth!

I’m working on the same story I was in November, and resetting the word count. I like the premise, and really don’t want to abandon it. But I have a new title now. New title, new year, new book. Maybe I’ll actually have a first draft by the end of the year! So far it’s the longest I’ve stuck with any one story. I usually give up much sooner. Progress!

modern monsters

Pathetic.

IMG_7697Thanksgiving came and left in a whirlwind. The actual day of was fairly calm and low key, but the organization of it all kept us running around for a while. The holiday season has officially been kicked off. Christmas music is being piped throughout the house on a fairly regular basis. Some of us-my sister-have gotten some Christmas shopping done, and things are getting festive. My sister just left with a car full of Christmas decorations for her house and of course, a few leftovers. My next courses start tomorrow, and I’ve gotten a little bit of knitting done.

And now I’m clearly stalling before I have to acknowledge NaNoWriMo.

This story is killing me. When I try to force it, like focusing on word count during NaNoWriMo, it just drips sluggishly onto the page, borrowing television tropes and awful literary clichés. I haven’t quit though. I used to take the forceful nature of my writing as a sign that I shouldn’t write, Clearly, if it’s so hard, it’s not something I’m ever going to be good at. But I keep picking it up again. It’s that I keep finding it again, keep starting over, despite the chorus of critics in my own head, that gives me hope that I can improve.

When I was a kid, I took piano lessons for a few years before asking my mom if I could quit. I liked the piano okay, but I hated the recitals, getting paraded around twice a year for grandparents and whoever else didn’t really want to hear a kid painstakingly playing Clair De Lune in a rec. center. Mom didn’t fight me on it, she let me quit and didn’t give me a hard time about it. When I asked her why a few years later, she reminded my of a childhood friend of ours. Whenever his family came over, he would somehow end up back at our piano. I didn’t love it like that. Our piano wasn’t included in my orbit. It made me self conscious. I only practiced when I was home alone.

Writing is my piano. I’m no better at writing stories than my friend was at picking out melodies-worse if I’m being honest, and he’s probably been trained since then. And there are times when my writing doesn’t feel as forced. Sometimes it flows out of my pen or keyboard easily, almost writing itself. Even then it isn’t all that good It’s not something that will ever be debated in a classroom by generations to come, but when I peruse a bookstore and see the cheesy murder mysteries with pun-filled titles, I think maybe this book can join their ranks. Maybe one day someone will buy my book at an airport and then lend it to their weird friend. A girl can dream.

I suspect I’ll be working on this book for years. Who knows if that means three to five, or decades like Helen Hooven Santmyer. But I like this story. It’s practically my friend by now. My irritating mess of a friend. And I’d like to finish it, and try to do something with it. I’ve spent so much time on it now – not including the thirteen years I’ve spent writing almost constantly on other random things – that I’d hate for nothing to ever come of it. I started it a year ago and it’s evolved and spread over documents and notebooks during that time, and while I’m not sure how much of it I really have, I know it’s far more than the 11,000 words I’ve scraped together this month. So as pathetic of an effort as this NaNoWriMo was, I’m still encouraged. Finals were hard and all-encompassing, and family can be demanding, but I know I can do this. I know I want to, anyway. And I want to start to make it a priority.

Day Twenty Three

November’s almost over, and I don’t really have much to show for it. On the bright side, my finals are over! I sent in my last final project late last night, and now I have about a week before my next quarter begins. I’m going to try to squeeze as much writing in between now and then as I can. I’m still not sure how much that will be. Family’s coming tomorrow to stay with us and the next few days will revolve around entertaining kids. After that of course is Thanksgiving, Black Friday, etc. But I’m tired of excuses. I’ll make as much time as I can, and see what happens. I knew I wouldn’t make the goal this year anyway.

Day Eighteen

As predicted, finals have gotten in the way of NaNoWriMo. I guess my priorities would have been worse if it were the other way around, but I’d still like to have a little more to show for the month. It’s somehow more than halfway over, and I have under 10,000 words. But my word count is still moving forwards, so at least on some level, writing’s being done.

Day Eight

Well it’s about time! This post comes to you from a packed house that still smells like french toast. Well, packed house in the Jacob family sense, in that my sister is home. Things kind of stop when she comes home. She got here yesterday afternoon after the rest of us got back from the funeral of a family friend in a flurry of words and cupcakes, and I’ve been a little less productive since. Scratch that. I haven’t gotten around to a damn thing. I have assignments due, finals are fast approaching, and I’ve been missing my NaNoWriMo goals. And now we have plans to go shopping. So I have a few late nights of writing ahead of me.