Sunday, November 27, 2011

NaNoWriMo Wrapup

Awwww, yeah.

So this month was a definite success, not just because I managed to crank out 50,000 words. That's the underlying goal, and that final wordcount is what gets you the Purple Bar of Success on the NaNoWriMo site and all the winners' goodies. (Like the chance to buy a t-shirt, which of course I did.  Also a coffee mug - don't judge me!)  But I've won before, so I knew already that I had it in me to finish.  So I measured this month's success in other ways.

The most important thing I figured out this month is when I write. When I started dedicating every spare moment I had to laying down words on the page, I noticed the times I was the most efficient at it.  I set my alarm clock a half-hour earlier, so I could get all the morning crap out of the way - feeding pets, getting ready for work - and give myself a good few minutes to peck at my draft.  I brought my netbook to work and wrote a few paragraphs at lunchtime.  I added to my wordcount a little here and there while cruising Facebook at night.  But I found that I really cranked story out on weekend mornings.

I'm not sure why it took NaNoWriMo for me to figure this out.  I'm a natural early riser - usually up by 7:30 or 8 without an alarm.  The rest of the house sleeps until at least 10:30 or so.  So I discovered that, by getting up at 7:30, putting on some coffee and getting my useless-internet time out of the way, I had a good two hours of solid, uninterrupted writing time.  It was gorgeous.  I was having 5,000 word days on the weekends, jump-started by that Saturday morning writing burst.  Progress led to more progress - I'd take a break to, say, clean the kitchen or fold a load of laundry, but still be writing in my head, so I could go back and type some more later.

My other main achievement is that, not only did I hit that 50,000 word mark, I finished.  That didn't happen the other time I won in 2009.  Then, I crossed the finish line, wrote a little more, then put it aside.  I like the story so I'm still working on it, still trying to finish it up.  This year, I had a romance story in mind.  One that's actually been in my head for 20 years or more, ever since I fell in love with Soviet rock music in the 1980s.  I had the beginning, middle and end in my head, so on November 1 I just dove in and started typing.  I crossed the 50K line on November 24 and kept writing, finishing up the story on the 26th with close to 56,000 words.  And now I have a complete novel.  I mean, it's crap, of course - it's a NaNo draft.  But with so many unfinished drafts on my hard drive, to have something complete is a big deal for me.

There were other NaNo victories among my friends, other than the "finishing" variety.  One friend didn't get much written, but realized that she wanted to make writing a priority, so she set up a dedicated writing space in her room.  Another friend started with a story that had been tickling her brain and decided a few thousand words in that she didn't love it that much after all.  But another story that she had temporarily set aside started whispering in her ear, insisting that it be written instead.

In closing, do you want to hear a really pretty song in Russian, that I've been listening to all month?  Of course you do.

("Muzyka Pod Snegom," or "Music Under the Snow" by Mashina Vremeni [Time Machine])

I'm going to have to start weaning myself off this stuff, and go back to listening to songs whose lyrics I can understand without Google Translate.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Better Than I'd Hoped

There's a section of the NaNoWriMo forums titled "This is Going Better Than I'd Hoped," a place for people to crow about their (often unexpected) success in this crazy 30-day project.  And I hate to say it without jinxing anything, but that's how I feel right now.

I admit, I felt a little guilty at first for participating this year.  I have a novel I'm trying to finish, and to completely ditch it to write something new felt like stalling.  I should know, because I do plenty of that.  But I started writing something completely different - something just for me, without any kind of publication aspirations - and I've been typing like crazy.  I realized on day 2 or so that this was just what I needed.  I hadn't "just written" in a long time.  The past six months or so I've been working on The Main WIP, which was a NaNovel I wrote in 2009, adding bits, taking bits out, and generally turning it into a readable first draft.  But I had hit a bit of a wall lately, and it hit me that my stalling point was at a section that had to be created out of whole cloth.  It had been outlined, but none of it had gone down on paper yet.  And I hadn't "just written" in a long time.  The Inner Editor had come back and set up camp, and I'd forgotten how to just slam words onto paper and edit later.

So, only 5 days in, I'm calling this a success.  Not just for the month - even though I've got a good cushion on my word count and I really think I'm going to win this thing - but for my writing in general.  Come December 1, I'm going to jump back into The Main WIP and finish it.  I'm pumped now.

But first, back to Cheesy Russian Rockstar Romance.  Because for 25 more days, that's my focus.  Even if it never sees the light of day.