NaNoWriMo, Week 1

Last Thursday was Halloween.  I went and handed out candy at my mother’s house, then came home and watched TV with Hubs like the thirty-something’s we are.  On Friday morning I awoke at 5am, unable to sleep due to bad dreams, which have been plaguing me lately.  I’ve been very stressed out so I’m sure this is the reason, but alas, I haven’t been sleeping well.  So 530am found me at my computer, retyping half of the first chapter of my novel.  I could easily have finished it, but I was pacing myself.  1667 word a day is rough.  I didn’t want to get too crazy.  On Saturday morning I finished the chapter and felt very proud of myself.  Only like 14 more to go.

Day three was a little trickier.  There was much research of the Eastern Meadowlark, as well as me trying to peck out a couple hundred extra words when I came up short.  I wasn’t discouraged though, and sat there typing away while my husband watched the football game.  Every once in a while, my click-clacking was interrupted by a holler from the other room.  I could tell the Bills were winning.

Monday found me on my sofa not wanting to move.  I had to update the blog as well as do NaNo, and I am running out of blog posts.  All my writing thoughts have been about the WIP (work in progress, for future reference,) and I have thus been neglecting my blog.  I mean it’s easy right now to do NaNo updates on Thursdays, but Mondays are looking pretty bare.

Anyway, I wasn’t feeling it, and then Hubs send me a text saying “break a leg on your writing today. You got this.”  That got me off my ass and into the office, where I finished up a blog post and got it out, then did 1500 words on the WIP.  A little encouragement goes a long way.  I told him so, and therefore on Tuesday I woke up to “never give up on your dreams, you’re an awesome writer.”

I went to the office and did 1800 words, then 2000 words of a short story that was taking up space in my field of vision and needed to disappear.  I felt that if I could get it out of me quickly then I could continue focusing on my WIP, which was getting away from me because of a stupid ghost story idea.

Yesterday I dropped another 1700 words which took me over 10k total.  I did another 2000 in the afternoon, and today I did 2400, bringing my total up to 14,768.

Pretty good start for a week.

Of course, everything I have done so far has been meticulously planned and many scenes were already written in bits and pieces.  In a few days, I will be writing without a net, so to speak; I have less material and notes for the middle and end of the book.  I know where I want to go, but we shall see what path I take to get there.

In a few days, my friend Sahar will be in town, and we are planning an epic 24-hour write-in.  I am both excited to be working alongside my friend and terrified that she will be typing away while I stare at the ceiling trying to peck out 100 words.  This is a stupid fear of course, and I will do everything in my power to ignore it, but it’s symbolic of how I feel without having so much material to work from.  Still…I got this far.  I wrote this much.  I can do this, right?

And so, week 1 comes to a close, and we move on to week 2.  I am on the end of Chapter 4 currently, and am excited to see where I will be in another week, even if I am terrified that I will run out of words.  To my fellow NaNo buddies, keep plugging away!  I promise to do the same.

Preptober

I decided to do a thing, and that thing is called NaNoWriMo, which is short for National Novel Writing Month, which is in November.  This is a big deal for me because, if you were unaware, I have had a novel sitting inside me for a few years that I just haven’t been able to get out, and I am hoping this is the push I need. 

Everyday you go to the site and put in your word count, with the goal of reaching 50,000 words by the end of November.  You cannot start writing until November 1st.  Most people spend the month of October preparing (preptober,) and that is where I am right now.  I have an outline, I have character notes, I have idea lists, I have research topics, I have dialogue snippets…I am over prepared, and yet I feel lost at sea.  I have been plotting this in my head for FIVE YEARS.  I remember the day it came to me.  Robin Williams had just committed suicide and I was heartbroken.  From that grief for a person I did not even know, a seed for a story was planted, and it has grown into a wild underbrush that I find I must tame into landscaped masterpiece. 

I have been looking for all the preptober worksheets and tips I can find.  I have asked my Twitter friends for their input.  I have even delved into building a world for my character that is outside the one I reside in, which is far out of my comfort zone but is allowing me to express myself creatively.  I am doing all the right things. 

I am terrified.

Of what, you ask?  Of writing 1667 words a day, that’s what.  That’s my weekly blog output.  How can I do that much each day and call it good?  But it doesn’t have to be good, I remind myself.  It just has to be words on paper.  I can make it good later.  My fear, however, is that I am too direct.  I do not expound on slight details and I am not verbose with my descriptions.  I am straightforward, and this lowers my word count, and makes me stress about how much I am putting out there.  I have been adding to my idea list regularly so that I always have something to write, even if I have to jump around a little.  Still, it scares me, making me feel like I am not up to the task. 

I think about the deadlines of my youth, when I would scramble to the computer lab after lunch to finish some term paper or essay, and type them off like my fingers were on fire, always on topic, always an accurate word count, always a good grade.  Those were my way of succeeding-pulling off essays on topics I had long thought of but only sat down to write in the 11th hour.  November will be my novel’s 11th hour.

Due to my current lack of employment I have plenty of time during the week to work but I am concerned about the weekends, especially those I spend with my kiddos.  I told K that I would have to write for at least two hours each day, and she vowed to guard my office door so that I would be undisturbed.  I almost cried at this little outpour of support from the youngest of them, and Hubs smiled at me and told me I could do it.  They all tell me I can do it.  My team is 100% behind me and that gives me hope.

Yet, self-doubt is strong when it comes to my writing, and the little voices in my head that tell me I’m not good enough come calling with no invitation.  Sane Brigid, the side of my brain that rules us most of the time, tells me that this other Brigid is a loony toon and she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.  Sane Brigid shouts her down every time, but that doesn’t mean Crazy Brigid isn’t still there, whispering at night when the words just won’t come. 

I try my best to keep my head up and stay focused on the tasks at hand but sometimes that becomes difficult.  Sometimes I just want to give up and walk away.  I am doing NaNoWriMo so that I can hold myself accountable when that happens, and not give up on my project.  I believe in my story, and I want it told.  I will work my ass off over the next month to make that happen.

So, friend and family and reader, I may be talking about NaNo a lot over the next month.  I may be a little scatterbrained.  I may not get a blog out.  I may not get anything out other than the thing I am forcing myself out of me, this 50,000-word behemoth that I have been carrying around for so long.  Hopefully though, December 1st will roll around and I will be able to say that I did it, that I finally competed the first draft of my first novel, and I will be satisfied. 

When I Grow Up…

As I’ve said before, deadlines were never my strong suit.  I would often finish a paper on my lunch for a class that was an hour away.  If my teachers graded me based on how well I did in such a short period of time, I would have been an A student.  As I got older and the words became creative as opposed to academic, I realized that my process does not deal in deadlines.  One cannot just will the words onto the paper. At least, I can’t. Maybe some best selling millionaire author who puts out three books a year can, but not I.  

I’ve been thinking a lot about this, as I have been pondering the idea of going back to school.  Of course, I’ve been pondering this for over a decade now, but this is a more serious ponder this time around.  Alas, I am stuck with the same old problem. I want to go to school, but for WHAT? I’m thirty-five and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up!  Some days I want to go for Creative Writing, the obvious answer, so I can realize my dream of becoming a novelist. Other days I want to go for Psychology, not to be a counselor or anything but perhaps something in the research field?  Some days I want to go for Botany, and learn about plants, since I love gardening. Other times it’s Business Administration, so Bernie and I can finally develop a plus-size, affordable women’s clothing line that isn’t completely hideous.  

I’m not great with decisions,  I over analyze most things, so this is not going to be an easy choice.  And I don’t want to go back to school without a goal of some sort, so just taking a few basic classes is fine but also not what I’m looking for.  Though it couldn’t hurt to start, I suppose.

Of course, then I remember myself, struggling with deadlines, and worry that the whole thing might be a disaster in the making.  Cuz, you know…anxiety.

I don’t know what I will do yet, but hopefully some divine inspiration will come to me and point me in the right direction.  

Or, maybe I’ll just eenie-meenie-miney-mo it.  

 

Deadlines

Today I struggle.  My goal, as previously stated, is to write at least one blog post a week, and today is the deadline.  I never worked well with deadlines.  I remember being in high school and frantically writing papers at the last minute in the computer room during lunch.  I remember checking books out from the library the night before the report was due.  Creative writing was always the easiest, because I could always just make something up on the spot.  I’m a fast learner, and I think that’s why I always waited until the last minute.  Also, I did not enjoy school.  I wanted to learn at a different pace than the one I was being taught.  Some topics I was already well versed in and felt bored with.  Others I struggled with and needed more time to work on.  The structure of my schooling did not really allow for this, as you were expected to learn at the same rate and in the same way as your peers.  Part of the reason I left college was because I had hoped it would be different somehow but found that it really wasn’t.  I’m just not a traditional learner, and once I figured that out, life became a lot easier.

So here I ramble, because I have given myself a deadline and I am desperate to keep it, if only for myself.   And of course, I find myself writing about writing, which is one of my three favorite topics along with religion and theater.   I asked my husband what I should blog about and he replied that I should write about not knowing what to write.  Oh, Mark, you sweet, innocent little peach.  I write about that on a daily basis.

And now, it is Saturday.  I started this post on Friday of course, trying to meet my deadline and ultimately failing.  I had little time yesterday as I had a test run for a job and went to my friend’s sex toy party, which would probably make a good blog entry, but frankly, I’m just not that kind of girl.  So last night at precisely 12:06am I looked at my clock and sighed.  The time had come and gone.  As expected, I missed my deadline.

However, I got the job.  So that was nice.

PS  If there are any members of the WordPress family reading this, do you ever get a bunch of spam followers?  Lately I’ve gotten several email followers that all have a string of letters at an outlook.com address.  Thoughts?