Sometimes writing is painful, each word requiring a fresh bloodletting and a sacrifice to the muses. Others, it feels like running frantically behind a runaway cart, trying to catch hold and jump on.
Last night was a mix of both for me. (Oh, yes, I should mention that I’m cheating and writing this blog on Day 8.) Some parts of the novel I’m writing are incredibly clear to me, complete with lines, motions, and clothing (yes, really). But the spaces in between are murkier. I began writing this book because I had a unique (I think) idea with some fantastic twists. I didn’t stop to ask myself if I had enough fodder between the exciting, inspired bits to actually write an entire novel (or trilogy, but that’s a different story…). Instead, I wrote. I didn’t question the inspiration, I gave myself over to it. And because I did, I end up with writing sessions like last night’s, wherein I had absolutely nothing to guide me but white and a blinking curser. Show me anything less inspiring than a blank Word document, I challenge you.
I muddled through for a bit, changed a few words here and there, fiddled with yesterday’s writing, checked my word count (oh my god, how can I possibly only have written 800 words?! This must be wrong), and then started the whole mess over again. Finally, I realized I needed some outside inspiration. If you’ve forgotten, I’m creating an entire world in this novel. This means that nearly every time I sit down to write, I’m faced not only with an empty page, but also with empty rooms, shapeless buildings, silent streets. I’m inventing as I go, and that’s rarely a fluid process.
So I took a break in the midst of my writing last night. I ventured into the depths of Pinterest. I spent 15-20 minutes reading funny tumblr posts that had nothing to do with writing, giving my poor writer’s head a break (and allowing my muse to work quietly in the background, something I’ve found she needs from time to time). Then I searched for what I was really after: inspiration for the odd assortment of vehicles I was struggling to write into the scene I was (not) working on.
Here’s the thing: it worked.
After 30 minutes of seemingly useless Pinning and scrolling, I had a moment of clarity and dove back into the scene. I closed the night out with a word count of 1,973 and only stopped writing because I found myself chasing after the proverbial cart, my muse at the helm, and my spelling skills decidedly sitting down on the road in protest. Writing while exhausted rarely works out for me. I once wrote that Charles Dickens penned Les Miserables while tired and suffering a migraine. I learned my lesson.
Here’s to another day of NaNoWriMo2016 in the books.
Day 7 word count: 1,973
Total NaNoWriMo words as of 11/7: 12,400
Today's NaNoWriMo blog is brought to you by Titan the Wondercat, my constant (and irreverent) writing companion. Titan's priorities involve disrupting my writing, snuggles, looking cute while getting in the way, and otherwise being a cat. I'm worded out, so you get a photo-blog. Sorry, kids - that's just how it happens sometimes.
Day 6 word count: 2,100
Total NaNoWriMo words as of 11/6: 10,427
Today’s NaNoWriMo session brought to you curtesy of Pandora. I almost always listen to music while I’m working on anything, but I’m particular when it comes to my writing soundtracks. My “Little People” station on Pandora is perfect for the novel I’m writing this month. Here’s a sample:
“Aldgate Patterns” by Little People on We Are But Hunks of Wood
“At the End of the Day” by Amon Tobin on Foley Room
“Edge Hill” by Groove Armada on Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub)
“Spirit of Life” by Blackmail on Miracle
“Resolution” (Rewound by Thievery Corporation) by Thievery Corporation on Babylon Rewind
“Recurring” (Live) by Bonobo on Live Sessions
“Smoke & Mirrors” by RJD2 on Deadringer
It’s a blend of chill electronica and mellow beats, and it fits really well with my writing rhythm at the moment. The genre isn’t exactly a 1:1 fit with my fiction genre, but it works.
Day 5 word count: 2,317
Total NaNoWriMo words as of 11/5: 8,327
Today was rough. I’ve been writing at night, and tonight I wrote haphazardly in between dinner, playing with the puppy, and having conversations. I’m 100% certain I’ll remember that lack of focus when I reread today’s writing at some point in the near future.
But, the goal is to crank out the rough draft of this novel, not to polish it. Frankly, I’m aiming more for plot arc and key plot points than anything else. I’m building an entire world, so there’s very little chance that 30 days and 50,000 words will enable me to develop a fully comprehensible (believable?) world.
Day 4 word count: 1,174
Total NaNoWriMo words as of 11/4: 6,010
Today I actually wrote, like for real—new words. It was painfully slow-going. I’m clearly out of writing shape, but I pushed through the pain (maybe I should follow my own example in my workouts, too…) and managed to crank out 1,965 total words today (about 200 of those were revised words, but shhhhhh).
My novel-in-progress is untitled and I have roughly 10,000 words drafted out. Everything that I’ve written previously will get a once-over during November, not so much because I want to edit at this stage, but because some of the key concepts of the book have changed since I pecked out the first words.
This is the first time I’ve written a book that needed unique words. I’m creating a world, so it needs a certain amount of created (or borrowed, in many cases) words to complement it. I have ventured down the dark path of research and Pinterest too many times already in the first three days of November, but it’s necessary evil. And I do love research—hello, PhD? I really do geek out over cool words, too. Did you know that logolepsy means “an obsession with words?” That, dear reader, is what we call irony.
I’ve done language research for other books and projects, but it’s always been focused on a particular language, dialect, or era. I’m stealing words from multiple languages, smashing them together into portmanteaus, anglicizing their spelling, and otherwise committing linguistic heresy—or is it genius?
And yet, I still haven’t come up with a name for this world, so, there’s that…
Total NaNoWriMo2016 words as of 11/3: 4,836
If you’re also doing NaNoWriMo2016, you can find me on www.nanowrimo.org - my author name is “wandering_author.”
3 days down, 27 to go.
I made an easily avoidable mistake today: I waited to write until night had fallen. If that doesn’t sound terrible, let me explain further that I used meeting up with two of the women from my writers’ critique group as my excuse. Oops. We did meet, and we talked ever-so-much about writing and life, but we did not write.
Then I went to Target, because: 30% off Halloween candy (and a costume to torment my cat #winning). That’s how I found myself at 10:30pm finally sitting down to write. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t even going to write - I was going to revise the rest of the scratched-out draft of the novel I’m writing this month.
Is there a happy ending? Sort of. Target was nearly cleaned out of Halloween candy already (double-edged sword), so I only brought home organic faux “M&Ms.” I did actually revise the section I’d intended to work on and bring it up to an acceptable first draft level. And I did some solid brainstorming over a key place name I need to make up for my novel. I’m using a crappy placeholder right now and it kills me, but I also know that I can’t rush naming an entire world (#spoilers), so I’m trying not to be too upset over it.
Oh look, it’s tomorrow already…
I have a confession to make: I didn’t really write today. Well, I did…sort of. I mean, editing counts, right? I revised and rewrote 1800 words of the few scribbles I have of the novel I plan to draft during NaNoWriMo.
This is my first NaNoMo, so I feel this is a fair start.
Writer, bookdragon, marketing and communications consultant by day, wine snob by night.
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