Thursday, November 8, 2012

NaNoWriMo Week 1: Ass Cramps, Dark Chocolate & The Stats

Greetings from NaNoWriMo Land (that's Nat'l Novel Writing Month for those who can't read gibberish). Thirty days, 50,000 words.

Last year was my first year as a participant in one of the looniest pledges I've ever signed on for. It was a fool's errand. "Hey, let's try to write 50,000 words in the  same month that you launch your first novel," my subconscious said. I should have bitch-slapped myself, but instead I signed up for the craziness.

But lo and behold, somehow or other I managed to "win" NaNo last year. I banged my fingers on the keyboard until I had pounded out 50,000 words in just thirty days. Okay, truth be told, to get my word count I wrote almost 10,000 words the last day. (Don't try that one at home kids. I couldn't hold a pen in my hand for two days and I swear, a year later, I still have an ass cramp from it.)

Here I sit, a year later, and I did what I swore back then that I would never do again. I signed up for another month of self-punishment, sore shoulders, and self-induced pressure to create a 50,000 word masterpiece in thirty days. Wait, scratch masterpiece. I'm just hoping that most of the time I use complete sentences and that when I go back to read over my draft, I haven't just typed the same word over and over again until the word count says 50,000.

We're at the end of week one and I can say that I'm feeling slightly less like I want to punch myself in the head for signing on to this than I did a week ago. I've not only been able to put butt in chair and write every day (despite some strange happenings that could have been roadblocks), but I'm having fun with the ideas that are flowing. Mind you, I did not say pleased with the writing. The writing is crap so far. But if I learned anything my first year of NaNo, it is this: Don't worry about the writing. Don't focus on crafting beautiful prose. Instead, focus on letting the ideas flow and have fun!

Before November 1 rolled around, I worked the snowflake (as I suggested others try in this post), and I felt good about my plan when I typed the first word just seven days ago. Two days in, I didn't like the feel of what I was producing following my plan, so I melted the snowflake and told the characters to show me their story. That's when things got interesting. I've got some rudimentary pieces, now, of what the novel will become. I'm starting to see the structure that the story is dictating. And as always, my muse is so much wiser than me. The story that's unfolding is much more complex than the one I'd originally planned - and more intriguing. It will be unlike anything that I've done before and I'm enjoying the feel of stretching my writing muscles in this new - sometimes scary- way.

So without further ado, here are my stats for week 1:

15,466 - The number of words typed so far
22 - the number of cans of Diet Coke swilled during week 1
1 - number of trips to the hospital for a surgery on my 10 year old daughter's broken finger
122 - the number of times my daughter called out 'Mom!' over a three-day period while recovering from surgery (Okay, I'm making that number up and it's probably an exaggeration, but it sure felt like that many.)
21 - the number of Hershey's Dark Chocolate kisses eaten during week 1 (Okay, I'm making that number up too. I stop counting after my allotted three each day. Probably safe to assume it's double that ;-)
2 - Number of hours each day, on average, I write to produce my word count.

In conclusion, week one felt good. I've been rewriting/revising two novels for the past 11 months, so I'm enjoying producing completely new material. And so far, I have not allowed the detritus of life (there's always something) to stand in the way of my commitment to myself to get this story told.

Next hurdle on the horizon: Sister-in-law visiting and staying in our house, while her brother (my husband) competes in a 60-mile bike race, leaving me to entertain said sister-in-law. Any suggestions?!

How about you? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? If so, what strategies do you employ to stay true to your commitment and write each day? And please feel free to share any stats you'd like in the comments :-)