Nov 26 2009

NaNoWriMeet: when cheating with writing is fun

Published by at 11:14 am under blwio,momentum,NaNoWriMeet,Writing

Sometimes when you’re limping along with less forward writing progress than you might wish, it helps to try shaking up the normal routine a bit. Whether that means giving yourself more get-up-and-move-around breaks, or trying your writing session at a different time of day, or picking a different POV (point of view) or scene change while writing your words: if what you’re doing right now isn’t getting you the wordcount you want, change what you’re doing. Otherwise, remember that old quote about insanity defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?

There are times when you can make it even more fun for yourself, in writing. Maybe you discover one of your brain-hacks that makes a certain part of the writing process easier, or you figure out a deliciously tricky situation in which to enmesh your characters. Or perhaps, you know a holiday is coming up to demand extra time (and likely less writing) from you, and THIS time you gave yourself two extra writing sessions the week before the holiday to allow yourself space to do the holiday chores and enjoy the holiday socializing. (If not, then try it for next holiday, there are several impending!)

Since I’m working on a revised (heavily, heavily, revised–like a new story even!) draft of my novel, I have several “completed” chapters from the first draft. Most of these aren’t being used in the order they’re in, or sometimes from the viewpoint they originally were from, and several pieces aren’t making the draft transfer. In addition, there’s usually new text that has to be created to give better transitions between the current story thread and the new pasted-in bits. For the pieces from the first round that I do use, most of them require at least some (or much more) editing to bring them up to second draft quality. This isn’t exactly the same process as fully engaging Editor Mind, it’s one of those weird hybrid writer-editor processes. I’ve done this enough times by now that I’m not worried about slipping fully into Editor Mind and tripping up my current draft, but if you decide to try it and you don’t have that practice, then maintain awareness of the risks involved and don’t let your inner critic run out of control.

Hmmm, you might say, I’m waiting for the part that sounds like fun. For me, the fun part comes in when my page count jumps from 20 pages to 41 in one day’s work. Whee! I suppose purists might insist that while it counts as writing work, it shouldn’t count as “new wordcount”. From my perspective, I’ve already done the work writing those words at SOME time so it doesn’t seem wrong to count them at THIS time; when I look at my current page, 41 is significantly different in feel from 20; and at this stage in the process, the psychology matters. If I feel like I made a big leap forward, it energizes me to want to write more, not to take breaks because I already did work. When I feel an urge to take off from writing is when I’m already struggling with it due to word-flow stoppage or external circumstances, not when the writing is flowing well. That’s a good feeling, and I want more of it!

Give some thought to how you might “cheat” on your normal routines to get more writing done, rather than to excuse a lack of writing. What do you think might give you the little thrill of “I got away with something clever” over your hindbrain that will keep your words flowing?

Today’s wordcount for yesterday only includes the copied-and-pasted text. Next post will have the transitions and new text wordcount. At this point, Chapter 3 is about 85% done. I’m already hard at thinky-work on exactly how I want to be doing chapter 4 structurally (which might mean Ch 4 will be largely new text); I have an idea or two I’m hoping to brainstorm verbally in the next day or two, so that I can have a rough outline to keep my writing momentum rolling into the next chapter.

Previous novel wordcount: 24,364
Today’s words: 4423
This blog post: 719
Total daily words: 5142

New novel wordcount: 28,787
Favorite bit: too many to itemize fully; 21 “new pages” is probably favorite bit overall. Story awesomeness pasted in includes haptic-suit earth-space sex, wenchly computer geeks, sarcastically stoic bodyguards, weirdly likeable amoral twins, pesky spying precocious kids…
Funniest flub: Argh, the first draft text quality, it burns. Quick, to the edit-mobile!

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