Tag Archive | writing; best job ever; getting it right

Moving Right Along

The last time I blogged, NaNoWriMo was nearly here.  We are now thirteen days in and the writing is going well.  My usual goal is 2000-2500 words a day, so NaNo’s goal of 1667 words a day is easily achieveable.

On a good day.  This is November, so of course, there are distractions, storms, and doctor appointments.  To say nothing of Thanksgiving and the need to do Christmas baking so it can be sent.

I find this takes ruthless planning.  I write from 9 am to 1 pm, go and bake, cook dinner, and come back from 7-10 to get my words in.  Most days I can get them in by 1 pm and have the evenings free, but last night it took me ALL DAY to get in 2566 words.  it was like pulling teeth.  I knew what would happen, was giggling my way through the scene, but what was in my head would not come out on the screen.  It was definitely like giving birth: long, slow, and painful.

I liked what I got, though, so I’m happy.

For many writers, NaNoWriMo feels more intense than our normal writing, probably because we who do it have set goals, some like one of my friends, are really high — she wants to write 100K words this month!  Wow, you go, girl.  I’m enjoying watching her word count mount each day.  Another friend successfully finished her 50,000 words in eight days!  I am content to do my 50,000 words by the time Thanksgiving gets here, because after that, I have company which is more important than writing.  People always are.

Another reason for the intensity is some of us challenge ourselves to see how many words we’re capable of in a month.  This is good, I think. I look at NaNo as a marathon.  Some people will naturally run from the front of the pack, others in the middle, pacing themselves, and some will fall off the back.  The fact that they entered and ran is good, no matter if they finish or not.

I’m a pacer.  I hit 22,750 words last night.  I’m ahead of the curve by a few hundred words.  That’s really all I want.  I don’t want to feel too stressed.  I need to stay within myself for health and stress reasons, so I’m writing as I normally do: 2000 words every day.  Takes all the stress out.  The novel I’m writing will be done before I hit the 50K word mark.  I’m writing the last “half” for NaNo.  If I get done early, I’ll write a series of short stories to add to the word count.

I’m enjoying NaNo this year.  As usual, my characters surprise me.  I had one throw a twist into the storyline I hadn’t seen coming.  Hmm.  Not what I thought he was.  I was left wondering if there was another twist coming, and there is.  I can see it glimmering out at the end.  I’m still not sure how it will all fall out, but when it does it will make logical sense to the characters (and I hope, to the readers, too).  I don’t plot a great deal in advance, but keep the action that has taken place in mind so I don’t drop something in the future.  This novel has a lot of moving parts in a lot of different places.  I keep notes of where my characters are at different parts of the novel and then pick them up when I need them.  I need them all together at the end, so I’m having to plot this a bit more carefully but still give them room to move.

We have a huge storm blowing through right now, high winds, lots of rain and 27′ beach surf.  Dangerous conditions outside, but just perfect for staying in with a cup of tea or coffee and writing my next 2000 words.  I’ll see you all again soon.

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When the Writing Feels Good

        Every writer has days where the writing feels good.  We sit down at our desk, flip on the computer – or open our notebook – and get “stuck in,” as my friend, Paula, says.  The words come pouring out our fingers, almost faster than we can get them written.  Thoughts, words, images crowd our brains, screaming to be written first – who cares if it is written in order?  We can come back and edit later. 

            These kinds of days are the best.  Even when the writing is messy, even when there are huge holes in the story (I make a note to fill in and move on), a good writing day means the story moves forward.  I find new and appealing things about my characters, even the bad guys.  Somehow on a day like this, a plot detail I’ve been struggling with smoothes out, the killer is caught, a new planet is explored, or there is an epic space battle. 

            It catches me, holds me hostage and won’t let me go, even when I need fresh coffee.  Somehow, the coffee goes from pot to cup, though I’m hardly aware as I’m plotting away feverishly, hardly able to wait to get my fingers back on the keyboard.  Forget the phone; everyone will have to wait, and I better not have a doctor’s appointment that day or it gets rescheduled.  Hubby  cooks and brings me a plate.  He knows the characters will not give up their hostage until they are ready.

            Finally, sometime around 4500-6000 words later, I am released, exhausted, from their clutches.  But it is only temporary, and I know it.  The book will haunt my dreams, the characters getting ready to write themselves into the story in the morning. 

            Those are the hectic, crazy writing days.  They feel great.  I have other days when the writing feels good, where I manage to get a scene just right, or even a paragraph that has caused me trouble comes together.  Finding that right word that makes an idea sparkle; writing at the beach with the wind in my hair and the sound of the ocean; sitting in the car and listening to … nothing but the breeze in the grass and the lazy mooing of the cows down below. 

            Okay, I can find lots of times when the writing feels good.  Basically, it feels good to write, even when it is messy and sloppy, or it all grinds to a halt because all the characters decide to go walk-about at the same time.  As another of my friends says, “This is the best job ever!”  I totally agree.

            When does the writing feel good for you?