Archive for the 'NaNoWriMeet' Category

Dec 06 2009

NaNoWriMeet wrap-up

Published by Reesa under NaNoWriMeet, Writing, blwio, momentum

I realized I forgot to post my final post in this series, so here it is a bit belatedly. For my part, I’m planning to return to a more weekly rate on the about-writing posts instead of maintaining a daily rate, but I hope you enjoyed the extra. Other effects for me were that I really liked the challenge to ramp-up my own writing that I took on mid-month, even with the increasingly comedic series of interferences in that plan. I still got several thousand words written and a MUCH better idea of what I’m doing with my novel. (Still re-writing chapter three, and deleting much of what I copy-and-pasted in, but at least theoretically it’ll make for a better story. I’ll report here when I’ve gotten through all that mess.)

Even on the days I’m not writing about it I’m back to talking about it daily, and I have housemates that are genuinely interested and wanting to help my process so that makes things MUCH easier. In addition, I have an awesome inner circle of friend-fans waiting for the next piece to be finished and encouraging me along in their excitement, which also helps a bunch. It’s refreshing to be around people who are stimulated by rather than threatened by other folks’ creative pursuits. I nearly always find myself inspired to new ideas when I see the beautiful creations of the lovely people I’m blessed to know. If you’ve been struggling with staying the course on your own creative work, consider some of these options if you don’t have them already. Steven Brust thinks that it would benefit every writer to have someone who gazes adoringly at them with the attitude of “wow, you are the Best Writer Ever.” He got a dog, which works quite well for this. If you don’t already have a dog or room for one, try finding a parent, lover, or awesome friend with a similar attitude. Sure, critiques have their place and usefulness, but sometimes the “wow someone thinks I’m totally awesome!” feeling helps more than any constructive criticism.

Another angle to try is to break the writer trope of the solitary artist locked with their computer into a room to scribe Art for the Ages. If you’re repeatedly getting stuck in the word mire on your own routines, take a different path. If you have portable word processing capabilities, try out a variety of different venues for writing in public. The most common places are bookstores and coffee shops; a quiet restaurant that isn’t obsessed with table turn-over might also work. In nicer weather, a park or picnic could be a refreshing and inspiring change of scene. Heck, even try different rooms in your own home, or setting up (in nice weather) in your backyard.

A compatible community of creative folk is another valuable resource. Whether you have a more formal writer’s group, or a more informal collective of artists wanting to support each other in their endeavors, or a full-on collaborative project, the exciting things that can happen when multiple creative minds meet together in the same “space” is exhilarating. Quite often it’s the equivalent for your creative flow of slamming down a four-pack of energy drinks. If you’re isolated enough that all you can do is an online equivalent of this, then try that. I was active for several years in an online writer’s group that is sadly not very active any more, but was quite helpful and enjoyable for a long while. Some of us met in person a couple of times, but it was mostly online and worked really well that way. I would expect that recent interfaces such as Google Wave and the like are quite useful places to try and set up such an endeavor. However, for any of you that can, I’d recommend trying some in-person creative jam sessions as well. I’m not so 20th century as to rant against online community or its usefulness, but I’m realistic enough to note that the benefits one derives online are certainly different in many aspects from those you get with in-person creative brainstorming. I think they’re complimentary, and I’ve noticed it feels better when I perceive myself to have both in-person and online creative support. So ask around, figure out which of your friends you enjoy being around who also want creative support, and form your own “artist’s collective” where you meet up regularly and each work on your own creative projects; or perhaps more focused brainstorming sessions, where you each get some group time to help bash through a stuck spot on whatever project you’re creating at the moment. There are multiple options that work based on the individuals involved; however you decide to, remind yourself that it is work worth doing.

I’m interested to hear about the experiences of those of you who tried NaNoWriMo (or a modified variant of it) this year. It’s so easy, especially if you didn’t make your goal, to just drop the subject and slink back into the not-creating land from whence you arose. So I challenge each of you who tried it, to comment either here or in your own journal, and give a report! Document what worked as well as what didn’t. Note at least three things you learned about yourself and your writing. Look the really hard thing you attempted head-on; not as “I failed”, but “I tried something really big and am not ready yet. How can I get more ready for next time?”

Comments Off

Nov 28 2009

NaNoWriMeet: easy come, easy go

Published by Reesa under NaNoWriMeet, Writing, blwio

Well, things looked very promising for my cut-n-pasted sections. However, partway into it, I began to suspect it needed more cool than I currently had in. I tossed Chapters 3-5 up for a writer chat with Steve and Nathan and houseguest Brad to try to figure out structurally more of what I needed to be doing with the chapters. As Nathan put it, “that’s not a novel, it’s a seven-layer cake!”

By the end of the evening I had a much clearer idea of the new and improved cool stuff in the next few chapters, with many more of the layers balanced together. Sadly, not very many new words today, though the groundwork for more words has definitely been laid. I won’t likely be losing much if any on the wordcount, since most of what I have needs to be re-written and added to, not trimmed or cut entirely.

New novel words: 213 (plus more notes)

Will go back to the expanded word accounting tomorrow…or perhaps the next day. We have a guest and will be attending the Texas Renaissance Festival tomorrow, but I’m going to try to get some writing done on the trip.

Comments Off

Nov 26 2009

NaNoWriMeet: when cheating with writing is fun

Published by Reesa under NaNoWriMeet, Writing, blwio, momentum

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!

Comments Off

Nov 24 2009

NaNoWriMeet: dealing with distractions

Published by Reesa under NaNoWriMeet, Writing, blwio

It’s amazing how many different distractions there are, when we’re setting challenging goals for ourselves. It’s hard to know which distractions are worth listening to and which are better ignored on the path to becoming a dedicated writer. What is a distraction that will sap your creative energy, and what is a diversion that your hindbrain needs to stimulate further creative processing? Figuring out the nuances of this question is part of the process that most beginning writers have to go through.

Major emergencies, immediate demands (of urgent nature) of children or spouses, biological functions, and other similar sorts of things are all fairly “legitimate” distractions, in that you’re likely going to best benefit by attending to the distraction as efficiently as possible and then just getting back to the writing. (However, longer-term it’s worth putting the work in with significant others and children to be aware of proper boundaries toward interrupting writing, and weighing what is worth interrupting for and what can wait until the end of the writing session. You definitely don’t want a situation to arise where loved ones start competing with your writing for your attention in unhealthy ways. Balance!)

Low energy or high pain days or something similar is a bit more of a gray area. Often writing is a low-impact enough activity physically that you can write a little even when under the weather. On the other hand, it’s easy to discount how much of a physical load mental activities really are. Your brain is burning serious calories during writing, and if you can’t sufficiently replace those spent calories through food, rest, and healthy-body functioning, then it might be better to take a day off. In the gray areas, give yourself permission to consider it case-by-case, and allow specifics of circumstance to affect your choice as much as you can with other pressures (such as deadlines).

That leaves the most likely distractions, the daily happenings around your home or on the internet. These are some of the most temptingly distracting areas, so pay attention to your habits, routines, and reactions. Instead of denying yourself entirely, consider scheduling some larking-about time along with your writing time. Believe it or not, sometimes that noodling around on a silly game for a few minutes is as much of a mental or creative recharge as a cat-nap or snack would be. However, make sure you know what you need to do to control yourself so that you don’t get so caught up in the distractions that you forget to go back to the writing. If you have to, set yourself a timer so that you know when to switch from writing time to gaming time to chore time and so on.

What are your worst distractions so far? How have you been coping with them, or have you?

Previous novel wordcount: 23,047
Today’s words: 1,317
This blog post: 481
Total daily words: 1,798

New novel wordcount: 24,364
Favorite bit: Namah schools Elliot, yeah!
Funniest flub: “adulterating his tea” probably not the best verb given context

Comments Off

Nov 23 2009

NaNoWriMeet: do what you can

Published by Reesa under NaNoWriMeet, Writing, momentum

Yesterday was a major pain day for me, so much so that being at the computer was difficult.  When you’re presented with a roadblock of that sort or something similar, it’s durned unlikely you’ll make your standard daily count.  So the obvious options are, take a health day and don’t write at all?  or write what you can write, then more later?

Obviously, which you decide is going to vary from case to case.  However, when you’re in high wordcount goal territory or deadline crunch time, it’s worth strongly considering that second option.  You’re likely going to feel worse about your process if you skip writing when you really could have fit in a page or two, even with the bumps along the way.

Again, are your excuses to yourself for your behavior designed to encourage you to write, or to avoid writing?  If you’re being avoidant, try practicing a mental shift toward the other side.  Instead of “wow, I think I’ll clean the cat box instead of writing, because It Needs It”, try on for size “ooh, writing would be a perfect excuse to avoid folding those clothes!”  (Of course, it’s a good idea to schedule some clothes-folding etc. time somewhere after writing, especially if you have roommates, or your brain-hacking cleverness will quickly become an Annoyance To Others.)

Find more ways to fit writing sessions into the daily routine of your life.  The more it becomes part of just what you do (get up, brush teeth, feed cat, check email, write pages, wash dishes, check facebook, play stupid apps for an hour, write more pages, and so on) the easier it will be for you to find your optimal wordcount rate and writing processes.

Previous novel wordcount:  22,446
Today’s words: 601
This blog post: 316
Total daily words:917

New novel wordcount: 23,047
Favorite bit: uppity escorts, back-pedaling billionaires
Funniest flub: no major screw-ups today (only two pages)

What have you noticed about incorporating writing into your daily routine so far?  What was easy, what was/is difficult?

3 responses so far

Nov 22 2009

NaNoWriMeet: this is not your regularly scheduled post

Or, Murphy REALLY loves me.

But we knew that.  At times his is a particularly sick and twisted love, as in this week.  Yeah, that nice 6 pages I wrote?  The next afternoon, Steve’s dog’s tail knocked over a coffee cup that Nathan had accidentally set too near to my netbook…

That’s right, computer number 2 is down for the count.   So after two days of bargain shopping around town as we don’t really have the pennies to spare right now, I am now on my third work computer for the week.  As cousin Charlie would say, good grief.

On the plus side, thanks to my trusty half-terabyte, which thankfully did NOT get bathed in coffee, my paltry 15 pages so far this week are still existent.  I’m back on the internet (again-again), and tomorrow we’ll try again with your regularly-scheduled post and some written pages to report.  In the meantime, the word of the day from the Chicago Manual of Style is “integument”.

Also, in case you’re not keeping up with industry recent events, Ms. Figart’s blog has a nice perspective on the recent Harlequin faceplant.  RWA, MWA, and SFWA have all issued censures in various forms against Harlequin as a result of their recent decision.  Remember this mantra, dear writers:  Writers sign checks on the back.  Be highly suspect of any situation, no matter how vanity-pretty, that looks to make you sign on the front for your work; it’s likely otherwise known as a “scam”.

One response so far

Nov 20 2009

NaNoWriMeet: back on the horse

Published by Reesa under NaNoWriMeet, Writing, blwio, momentum

The fits and starts as a new endeavour gets underway are at times almost more discouraging to one’s motivation than no progress would be, whether you’re talking about learning a new skill, working through personal growth issues, or yes, writing a novel.  I don’t know about you, but my streak of perfectionism, when it arises, often manifests as a frustration at not doing something right the first time it’s tried.  Now in my case, it’s not as bad a reaction as if I’d received crappy programming on the issue when I was a kid.  I was always my own motivator and cattle prod much more than my parents ever were, especially in academic situations.  I think my personal irritation on the issue comes from being used to doing most things I try fairly well, often on the first tries. The thing my parents did so very right for me was making sure even with that advantage, that I encountered things that were too hard for my learning levels throughout my childhood, so that I had to learn how to screw up, fall down, get up, try again, repeat until “successful” (at whatever you were trying).  An invaluable lesson in the adult world, and one I sadly see too many parents avoiding, possibly even out of a poorly-thought-out desire to help their kids.

Whether your folks did right by you back then or not, as an adult it’s now your job to take up the slack and fill in their gaps in your own development.  (Sure, it’s unfair; but it’s worse to pass the problem on to the next generation or perpetuate it in your own.)  So it’s time to find at least some working answers (which can always be changed to accommodate new information later) to the question, “When you fall off the horse when learning to ride, how do you make yourself get back on?”

The Nike adage is useful for a lot of people here, almost a short-circuit on the higher-order thought meandering.  It doesn’t matter how, you just do.  Getting back on is just what you do.  Truthfully, that attitude works for me in some situations and moods, and not so well at other times.  Sometimes I gotta cerebralize it to get through.

In those instances, I’m not at all fond of stick-level motivation, usually, though I recognize it works for some.  I don’t personally see it as anything other than an energy expense and a drain to punish myself for not making any words the last two days, or not making all of them this past day.  The castigating attitude isn’t going to engender a response of “my gods how could I have been so wrong!  I will rush out right now and write 5000 words in atonement!”  At least for me, it’s much more likely to get a response of “You’re not going to see or acknowledge the good work I DID do? Ha, see if you get any more work out of ME, then.”  And no, I’m not the sort of parent that asks the kid bringing home a 95 “what happened” to the other 5 points, either.  We’re much more likely to have an impromptu parade and dance through the living room over the 95 points part!

So this past day, after two days of break, I knew it was very important to get at least some writing done.  While the first two days of break had legitimate explanations for no words (computer troubles, family upset, more computer difficulties), the only excuse this day had to offer was inertia.

“But I’ve already missed two days and only written one!”

“Yeah, and if you write today you’ll have doubled your success rate for writing words, 25% to 50%.  Try again!”

“I hurt and have stress.”

“You hurt and have stress every day.  Doesn’t count as a legitimate no-writing pass.”

“This scene isn’t going as well on the page as it did when I talked it out in the car.  The characters continue to be unclever.”

“And once you’ve finished it, you can fix it.”

“I’m restless.”

“Fine we’ll take the computer and write while we do laundry, thus getting TWO useful things done.”

“Oh, all right.”

It worked decently well–6 pages’ worth.  Being elsewhere has its own distractions, but knowing why I’m there helps me refocus as needed when the distractions happen.  I usually like to write at home, but I like to try writing around others in social situations frequently enough so I don’t lose the knack of being able to.

Previous novel wordcount:  21,169
Today’s words: 1277
This blog post: 834
Total daily words: 2111

New novel wordcount:  22,446
Favorite tidbit:  Thinking about the differences in the attributes we assess when meeting someone in person when we’ve already seen a picture or video of them.

Funnest flub: My old friend word repetition repeats itself here again. “Instantly” three times in a paragraph, twice in one sentence.  Some things are quick and necessary to fix when noticed even in an initial draft, and self-amusing when found in revisions. Plus, that’s one of those words to be careful about using; how often do things really happen “instantly”?

Comments Off

Nov 18 2009

NaNoWriMeet: recovery days

Published by Reesa under NaNoWriMeet, Writing, momentum

I had an impromptu (and not entirely desired) recovery day today as my back-up laptop spent all day in updates to try to fix its issues.  Main laptop is still down.  I did spend several hours talking about writing and the novel and related things, as well as other work stuff, which isn’t as good as words on the page but better than nothing.  If I have enough energy left before bed I might try getting a couple of pages in just to have some small triumph over the capricious computer.  we’ll see.

It did make me think of another useful writing topic, however.  Again, not as relevant for this month of November, since you’re in “crunch writing mode”, but if you’re trying to establish a longer-term writing routine, it’s worth considering the idea of days off.  The other writer I live with, as far as I can tell, only takes days off if he is actively travelling, at a con, or some other routine-disrupting event.  Every day he is home, he is at the computer 14-18 hours a day, any of which could theoretically involve writing as the in-progress file is always open and ready.  Another writer I know who does it full-time has a firm six-days-on, one-day-off routine; they found that giving themselves a day to mentally recharge made for better and easier writing the other six days than trying to do it every day.

I think that after November is done I’ll be setting my own goals at a chapter every 1-2 weeks (the chapters are averaging around 40 manuscript pages each so far), depending on how much planning time is needed for each next chapter.  I think that giving myself the “planning days” interspersed with the writing days is less likely to cause a disruption or cessation in my overall routine.  I’m looking forward to trying it out!  That’s a nice thing about devised routines, they’re modifiable if you find that one or more parts aren’t working the way they should for the results you want.

What are you learning about your own patterns of creative activity and recharge time?

Comments Off

Nov 17 2009

NaNoWriMeet: Murphy loves me

Yesterday was nicely summed up by the following:  “It’s a good thing that I’m not so weak-minded as to be driven in my behavior by omens and portents.  Otherwise the universe would definitely be telling me to quit writing.”  After my first really good day back on the project, I received a major piece of upsetting family news, and my laptop broke.

I continued in the back of my mind to keep writing as a goal throughout the day, and it was not entirely the tragedy it might have been.  Last night, right before powering down the laptop and bed, I made sure to copy my first 9 pages of the current chapter to my external hard drive.  Hurray for being a Smart Writer!  I already have my music and the rest of my writing on the drive, so except for some links and maybe a randomly missed file or two I’ve lost no important data even if I can’t recover this laptop.  Moral for this part of the story: save your work, often, multiple places.  Email your chapters to yourself if you have no other option; there’s not a single writer woe I can think of that is more likely to make you stop writing than losing days or months of hard-earned words in one stupid digital or electronic storm.

The second part was actually harder to deal with.  There’s an artist myth I’ve always been skeptical of, the tortured artist who must suffer for their art in order to create.  I’m leery of it in general, since I suspect it’s one of those sneaky ways humans devise to keep themselves miserable, but in specific I know for sure it’s inhibitory rather than inspiring.  On days that I have extreme emotional distress, I find it insanely difficult to write.  Perhaps not for everyone, but certainly for me, the energy for dealing with the consequences of strong emotional surges and the energy for writing come from either the same internal pool or closely interconnected ones.

It didn’t create a block on the words themselves; I still know what comes next for several pages.  I’m certainly in a very different emotional place than my characters right now, which makes it harder to empathize with the scene.  In today’s writing, depending on if the difficulty lingers, there are two obvious solutions to attempt.  One is to just skip that scene and go write one where the emotional state I’m currently in IS more conducive to empathizing with my characters.  The other is find some way that my emotional state can be related to something happening in the current scene, even in disguised form.  For example, one character is in a pretty good mood, the other is fairly agitated, maybe even a little aggro in response.  That second emotion isn’t quite where I’m at, but emotional agitation in general can give you more insight into a specific emotional state that’s similar even if not the same.  Hopefully I can turn the internal agitation into a powerfully charged scene.

As you might have guessed, by the end of yesterday I hadn’t written any words, not even a sentence.  I was so drained from processing that it was easier to just get some rest and start fresh tomorrow.  And that’s what I’ll try today!  Got some errands in the first part of the day for work, and a poker game this evening, but there’s time around those for writing and I can always sit out some card hands if I need to write instead.

What is something you’ve struggled with in the past week, relating to creating your art?

2 responses so far

Nov 16 2009

NaNoWriMeet: A day in the life…

Published by Reesa under NaNoWriMeet, Writing, blwio

(Not all the daily reports will be this detailed, but I figured it would be fun for one post at least)

I wake up after a decent amount of sleep, though I expect if I manage to write a bunch today I’ll take a nap at some point. Do the morning routine of checking the internets, then make sure my chapter file and novel notes file are open and ready to go. Not quite awake enough yet to write (sometimes first thing in the morning right after checking email etc. is a really good writing time for me; other times the mental gears kick in a bit later), so decide to do a couple of small things around the house. I figure a good brain hack is to bribe myself, like “Well there’s a perfectly good chapter waiting to be written if you’re tired of doing these chores…” Dishes are washed.

If you’re a coffee drinker, it might be good to give yourself at least one wake-up cup before attempting to engage higher writing functions. On the other hand, if your Internal Editor is overly active, you might want to try writing before or during that first cup, in the hopes that you’ll tap into the deep mind processes before the more cerebral Editor notices enough to criticize. Those of us who aren’t coffee drinkers can use the trick without the prop, and try writing or not writing during that just-woke-up phase depending on what is needed to get the words flowing.

I figure out pretty quickly that lack of food is part of my problem, so make a quick breakfast. I was never really a breakfast person, but I’m making myself adapt anyway since from a health and energy standpoint it really is better to have sufficient fuel to start the day. Homemade biscuits, bacon, and eggs dirties maybe 4 dishes in the making and is so much more viscerally satisfying than a mcmuffin. However, if your choices are mcmuffin or no breakfast, go for the caloric consumption and worry about improving the food quality later. Feed your brain!

Still feeling a bit oogy even after eating, so a quick dip in the hot tub is the next step. Definitely a luxury for which I’m thankful every time I get in, it’s so physically and emotionally beneficial to have a daily soak. If you can’t afford your own but live near a YMCA that has one, pay the $3 fee to go sit in it at least once a week. It’s the price of a Starbuck’s cup but so much more relaxing. If that’s not an option, stretch, take a hot shower, or get up and walk around, anything to get the blood circulating more effectively. And don’t forget water! I buy a camelpak 24-ounce water bottle and refill it several times a day to make sure I’m getting my proper water intake daily. (Also because I’m prone to spilling normal water cups, but if you can drink out of the grown-up cups then save your pennies and use that.)

Time to start working. Since it’s been several months since I’ve worked on this project actively, I open up several files and scan through them to get a feel for where I left off. Goodness, I put a lot into the first two chapters! It’s a bit complicated since the novel is in two drafts and several pieces scattered across multiple files, but I get it down to 4 open chapter files, one notes file, plus the file for the chapter I’m starting today. Hopefully these are all the pieces I’ll need. I don’t spend too much time on this part since, as I suspected before reviewing the files, the first part of this chapter will be all new text. I give myself a little break to let my mind integrate all the pieces for a few minutes, then it’s time to work.

This chapter starts off with my main protagonist dealing with some in-house business before the main action of the day gets underway. There’s another brief pause as I go to that ever-useful writer tool, Wikipedia, to double-check some information on the two secondary characters since this will be their first appearance “on-stage”. That doesn’t take long since the information checks out with no complications, and now there’s no more delay allowed. Writing time!

After writing for 3 pages and most of an hour, it’s time for the first break. I get up, move around, and stretch. We also have the evening call with The Kid that fits in here with nice timing. I start a black bean soup for tomorrow that will cook in the crockpot overnight, which takes only about 10 minutes of prep, most of which is chopping vegetables. We have enough leftovers from this weekend’s Mediterranean feast that tonight’s meal is covered with no effort. It’s been long enough since breakfast by now that I feel like a small snack would be good before writing more.

What with the snack, the phone call, and the general mid-day confusion of stuff happening, it’s a few hours before I get back to writing. In the meantime we finally finish the final episodes of The West Wing, which we’ve watched together as a household over the past several months. Awesome writers on that show, I’d definitely recommend it for anyone who is needing inspiration on snappy, fast-paced witty dialogue. What with those distractions and the awareness that I have more work to do on my small business job later this evening, it’s a little difficult to get back to the writing. That inertia again, tricky beast. However, I’d rather not report a major stumble on my very first day in the wordcount mines, so that thought helps me jump the motivational gap.

I start feeling the urge for a break after a while of writing but notice I’m inconveniently between scenes, so I start the next scene and write another couple of pages before I get to a spot that is between pages but still in the middle of a scene, therefore easy to pick up after a break. I’m not sure if I’ll get a third writing session today, but I’ve managed to go several more hours without eating so now, time to feed the brain again. I’ve written eight pages so far.

I start to take my break but then realize I want to get another page written, so I sit back down and get to the bottom of page nine. And here, dear readers I decide to stop writing, likely for the evening. Thanks to having written enough different things by now, I know about one of my particular weird writer quirks, involving Page Ten. In nearly every short story or book chapter I have written so far that has ten or more pages, if I stop on page ten I have a horrendous time getting started again. Something about my mental or psychological writing process makes Page Ten a block point, for me. If I stop at the end of page nine, or get through to page eleven or more before stopping, I don’t have the same problem. Eventually I’ll probably work on dismantling this block, but in the meantime I simply work around it as I’ve got more pressing mental matters to attend to. For tonight, I stop at the end of page nine, right as the man with the metaphorical gun has walked in–an exciting place to pick up the writing threads tomorrow.

Have you noticed any Weird Writer Quirks of yours yet?

***

Novel 2nd draft wordcount total before starting current writing crunch: 19,085
Today’s chapter wordcount so far: 2,084
Plus, words in this post: 1,299

Making the novel draft running total: 21,169
And today’s total count: 3,383

Today’s favorite bit: smart heroines are made of win
Funniest flub: can’t correctly type “Grendel”. repeatedly.

Comments Off

Next »