Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Writing to Win

Today marks the final day of NaNoWriMo 2011 and I have just validated my novel (that's where I paste my novel into the official word counter and it tells me whether or not I have indeed achieved winner's status).

I have. That's right. 50,558 words and that makes me a winner! Yippee! Notice my new winner's badge off to the right there. Now...I'm not done. My story is still in the thick of things; it does not have an ending and really isn't even on the cusp of having one. So I'm not really sure I can say I wrote a whole novel in 30 days. But 50,000+ words: I'm plenty happy with that! I'll keep on and I'll get this novel done, because I write now. Every day, just about. More than anything, I'm happy with that. Returning to writing. Rediscovering how to scratch out a rough draft. Relishing the thought that I can edit later. Realizing a personal writing goal for the first time in ages. It just took that official third party to keep me accountable, I guess. So, thank you to National Novel Writing Month and the Office of Letters and Light.

I'll be back later with more things I learned about writing this month. For now, I'm off to enjoy some delicious lamb kofta courtesy of Mr. Wolf. Yum!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NaNoWriMo Update

It is day 9 of the NaNoWriMo challenge, and I am doing it. Of the required 50,000 words due at the end of this month, I have written 18,585.

I still have time to play with the baby. And read. And cook dinner. And exercise. And shower. Who knew? Actually, I've found it surprisingly easy so far and, while I am fully prepared to hit a slump at some point this month, I'm starting to wonder why I have convinced myself for so long that I just don't have time to devote to writing while my children are young. As it turns out...I do!

Part of the magic in that discovery has been simple willingness to embrace the mantra "quantity over quality, quantity over quality, quantity over quality" (and so forth). I have tended to bog down in rewriting and proofreading and editing and rewriting and polishing and editing and rewriting by the paragraph during past attempts to really get a novel going. I don't like to leave a paragraph sloppy. I want it to be brilliant right off the bat. I think it feels like building a stronger foundation for the next paragraph, which is well-intentioned...but I end up with a lot of really strong foundations and exactly no energy left to build anything on them. So. This month I am not going back to read what I write. No rereading means no rewriting. I'm just moving on, sloppy or not. I may find when I get to the top of my novel that the foundation really stinks and the whole plot can only cave in on itself. But a whole novel with a caved-in plot is far superior to an awesome, brilliant foundation all by itself. Yes? I'm going with yes. I'm pretty sure my novel is Quite Bad at this point in the process, so I really have no choice but to go with yes, blithely.

There's always next month for all that rewriting....