Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Goal Trouble

I've encountered two problems regarding my 50,000 word goal for NaNoWriMo:

1) I didn't feel like writing on Sunday. I think this will be a problem every Sunday. It's a packed day, always, happily revolving around church and family.
My solution: Screw my actual life priorities! Naww, that's not going to work. I'm going to up my daily word count target, and declare Sunday a day of the minimum. The goal will be 300 words, which I should be able to do in about 15 minutes.
2) I still poked around my files Sunday, and thought that reviewing what I've written so far would inspire me to write. At first, this held some promise. I read Saturday's block of writing and realized that I had not, in any way, fulfilled the title for the chapter. I retitled it, took the old title and created a blank page. But instead of writing, I decided to review a few other sections too. This was a mistake, a big mistake, but not in the way I expected. That inner editor is a tricky one.
I was ready for the "why are you wasting your time on such crap" argument. It didn't materialize. Instead, I was surprised to discover a couple of things I liked. Really liked. I started to think fondly of them, and then I knew I was in trouble.
The goal is a crappy first draft. Developing a crush on a scene between a Latvian mobster, his mother, an animal wrangler, and their Pomeranians can only lead to trouble. So my unsolicited advice to Wrimos? Limit your re-reading, and get writing.

November 5-9 report: Over 15,000 words so far. More importantly, my friends and family are still speaking to me.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play. --Heraclitus, Greek philosopher

    November 3-4 report: Daily NaNoWriMo word count met both days, although it is challenging. Been thinking a lot about the value of this sort of effort. For me, it is a way to connect the act of writing to my more natural creative process.
    I come from a theatre background, and I love theatre. I feel at home there. I am able, in my small way, to craft a character and respond to the other people and things in the story with an unrestrained honesty. I feel light.
    This is not how I felt at the keyboard. Words have weight, words seem permanent, words do not advance on their own, and I freeze at the keyboard, desiring precision. In turn, precision, arriving so early to the process, buries creativity like a schoolyard bully. Writing in quantity pushes back at precision, and coaxes play out of the tunnels and onto the page.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Software Crush

Dear Scrivener 2.0,
    I have a total crush on you. 
    I know you are just flirting to get me to buy your software: you freely reveal your features and benefits, tease me with your easy NaNoWriMo templates, provide ways for me to collect my ideas, giving them the space they need to come together and grow. All this so that one day, maybe I'll put out the cash and you can have your way with me.

    I'm going to play hard to get this month, but whether I make my word count or not, whether I qualify for the 50% discount or not, I'm going to let you in on a secret. It's as if I've made a little cootie catcher, and I've penciled you into every spot. You're guaranteed, by the laws of future-predicting origami, to be my next software purchase. -LT

November 2 report: Daily NaNoWriMo word count met. Love filling out virtual index cards for each character and setting, and having a dedicated home for research.

The kids are alright

A winter or two ago, I decided to take a crack at a writing discipline of a thousand words a day. This is a rewritten excerpt from those days, appropriate, I thought, after the first day of NaNoWriMo. 

This is the goal, a goal of a thousand words. A day. So what do I really want to write about, what do I want to cover?
A thousand words. I need to hit a thousand words. 
What was that? It sounded like the dishwasher. Or an icicle piercing the skull of one of my kids. 

(I listen for screaming.)

Nothing. Not a sound. Probably the dishwasher. 

(I send the kids away from the house, and put on the headphones.)
What will I write about? It’s tough when I don’t have an assignment. Left to my own devices, I don’t really know what I want to say, or to whom. The words just kind of lay in my mind, flat and lifeless, like my tongue when it’s really really dry. Like it is now. Dry as a bone, dry as the Sahara, but wait, those are clichés and clichés=badness. So, if I riff on it, it’s dry like chalk, or dry like, like the tongue of a writer who has to ignore a possible fatality in order to hit a thousand words a day...
November 1 report: Daily NaNoWriMo word count goal met. No children, pets, or family members were harmed, or seriously yelled at, as a result of this effort.