Plugging Along

Instead of posting Nano metrics yesterday, I opted for this (shockingly popular) post about GEB. But fear not, I did write . . . though it wasn’t remotely an amount worthy of a post unto itself. Anyway, here’s today’s status:

Words Written: 4,493 (total for the last two days)
Total Word Count: 16,613 words

Day 7: 16613 words

I think the total more than makes up for my rather pathetic few hundred words of yesterday. Moreover I had a bit of an epiphany today after going to the Write In at Bruegger’s in how better to tell the story. I won’t even attempt to translate it to text, but I did rework an outline to organize my thoughts and I noticed a marked improvement in the flow of words. In fact were it not for the fact that my left wrist is bothering me something awful, I would have easily written a few thousand more words today.

Even better, for you curious folk, I have finished a section that I feel worthy of posting . . . but I’m going to hold out for a day where I don’t have anything else to post here because I’m hoping to get through my 30 days of daily posting. I know, I’m such a tease, but if it’s any consolation it’s just as likely — now that I don’t hate every word I’m writing — that I’ll have other snippets to share in the near future.

Anyway, in non-noveling news I was recently alerted to the fact that there is still a LiveJournal syndicated feed in existence for those of you on LJ who wish to see me on your friends list. (I would like to note that unless you comment here I will not see them. So make sure to click the “Comments: [#]” link and not the one that brings you to the reply function on LJ.)

“What I mean is . . .”

Day 5: 12120 words

Words Written: 2,883
Total Word Count: 12,120 words

And to that I say a resounding: “W00T!” I actually hit the 10K mark last night before I passed out, but I’m still quite a proud me.

I have realized some, well, interesting things about this novel. Namely, it really is awful. It could well be the worst thing I have ever written in my entire life — and this includes all the poetry I had to “write” for a Modern Poetry class in college. However, I knew it was going to be badness incarnate. No one writes the award-winning novel of renown on the first try. No matter how experienced you are at writing, you have to have drafts and editing. (Ok, probably there’s some people out there that maybe did this but I’m willing to bet if you read their novel you’d think it could use some work.)

Case in point, I wrote a nice run-on sentence in this nearly 3,000 words and upon hitting the period to cap it off immediately found myself wanting to start the next sentence with: “What I mean is . . .” This is a very obvious clue that the sentence preceding was not of the good. In fact, I’m pretty sure if I go back and read it tomorrow I’ll be astounded at its utter suckitude and also marvel at how I don’t know what in blue blazes I was babbling on about.

I’m not ashamed. This is actually the hardest Nano I’ve ever attempted. Mostly this is because it’s not fiction — in fiction when I write myself in a corner, I can just do whatever I want to write myself out of it. Since I’m writing about real life events and my own thoughts and reactions to them, I can’t really do that. I find myself running out of steam halfway through whatever point I’m trying to make. (Generally this is because I stop at that moment and when I come back I can’t figure out where my thought process was going . . . or if I even had my brain present when I was having a thought process.) Unlike the last Nano that I attempted non-fiction, I’m not angsting over everything. And I sort of do want to get a point across that’s a bit more complex than “zomg my life iz teh sux0rz.” Frankly, I never had trouble finding something to write about — it didn’t necessarily make any more sense than this current train wreck but I had tons of fuel. (Vitriol!) And it was also fresh in my mind from being pent up that it just spewed forth without much thought.

Actually, that’s the other thing I’m realizing, I didn’t really think about all this enough. That’s kind of the fault of (a.) not starting to really think about this until the day before I sat down to write it — well actually hours before — and (b.) the quantity vs. quality that Nano requires to finish. But again, I can deal. Even if I scrap 99.9% of what I write by the end of November 30th, at least I finally sat down and wrote it. Which in its essence is what Nano’s all about.

Anyhoo, rambling aside, I apparently have taken up a challenge extended on the Albany regional board at the Nano site to write something everyday for the next year. (Starting this past Sunday with the beginning of Nano.) Not really a challenge per se, I pretty much have done this for years. But I am going to also attempt to chronicle all that here because I know you all care THAT much as far as I’m concerned writing here counts.

In other non-writing news, I’m still friggan sick and it sucks. Pity me.

Taking Shape

Ugh. I feel even worse today than I did yesterday, which is saying a lot because I felt awful. But I am pleased to say that I felt very motivated, even eager, to write today. And so I did and now I’m going back to bed.

Words Written: 2,811
Total Word Count: 9,237 words

Day 4: 9237 words

It took four days, but I finally am in the process of writing what I’d set out to. Namely I’m actually getting down those interesting tidbits I’ve learned trhough my dogs, things about myself, about life, and mostly things I’ve learned about guide dogs and guide work that no one clued me in on before. I think this is why almost three thousand words poured out of me without even trying.

I’ll ruminate on all this another time, though.

A Little Progress

Called in sick today since I’m dealing with a cold that just won’t quit. Thought I’d accomplish a good bit of Nano. That didn’t really happen, but the day wasn’t a complete failure in terms of writing:

Words Written: 1,230
Total Word Count: 6,426 words

Day 3: 6426 words

I’ll admit, I’m not thrilled with the word count for the day. This is because I could have written and didn’t. In fact, I didn’t feel like writing, which is normal for me during Nano, but not usually by the third day. I blame the being sick for my lack of motivation and inspiration. Still, the writing is going well in terms of the story: it’s actually going somewhere now rather than hovering around in a repetitive babble of nonsense. And since the words were flowing quite easily when I finally did get around to writing, I have no fear of a potential block of any sort.

Of course, it’s still a wonderful representation of babbly crap, but I’m not going to stress about that since that’s exactly what I expect all of my Nanos to be — all of my initial drafts at that. I mean, there is a reason they’re called “drafts.” Which reminds me, a few people have expressed interest in reading this work and I’m fully intending to share it . . . just not right now. I’m not up to sharing anything I’m not fully proud of, and the excerpts I could post that I am proud of would require nearly as lengthy of an explanation. (This is the big flaw in this piece at the moment.) But rest assured when I have something worthy, I’ll post it. Promise.

Pushing Through the Emotion

Today’s Nano stats:

Words Written: 2,001
Total Word Count: 5,196 words

Day 2: 5196 words

Less than yesterday’s turn out, but I’m far prouder of these words. I actually took the time during my break at work to write and got about 600 words. The rest finished off the initial scene I’ve been trying to salvage. The midnight write-in was somewhat detrimental to my narrative flow in that it was basically 2,300 words of nonsensical babble. But that’s what rewrites are for, right?

Anyway, the story is progressing rather well. Slower than I’d expected — mostly due to the aforementioned babble — and I find myself wanting to rush myself along rather than let myself take the time for it to flow out of me. Usually I take this as a cue to take a break from that scene and write a different part of the story, but as this particular scene was recounting my announcement to my family of a desire to get a guide dog I felt a personal need to get through it. I think this is because in many ways that scene had the most potential to turn into a similar emotional event as writing The Novel of Angst and I didn’t want to give myself the opportunity to turn it into that. For me, this project isn’t about that, it’s about the uplifting moments and life-altering realizations that have come from that decision to get a guide dog and my experiences with these wonderful canines.

So, all in all, I’m very pleased with my turn out today.

Relatedly, Justine Larbalestier has a blog post up offering some very good Nano advice about the (always awful) first (er, zero) draft. Applicable for all writers, whether you’re doing Nano or not.