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But I was bound and determined to do this NaNoWriMo thing. Surely that would fix my head? My heart? Starting a day late, though, I was already 3,334 words behind. That was enough to put a big lump in my throat because at that time I wasn't in the habit of writing regularly. Other than journal writing, which is a very fluid, informal beast for me, it'd been at least a couple of years since I'd put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.
Hubs hid the squalling children where I couldn't see them (I suppose finding them wouldn't have been too hard but can you blame me for not?) and pushed me out the door so I could find a place where I could hole up and work on my outline. I ended sitting hunched-over in a booth at Denny's, plate piled with cheese fries and cup after cup of coffee in front of me on the faux-wood table, til I'd hashed out an outline in a cheap little spiral notebook. I took three pens with me, ended up using two.
I came home with my heart light. Well, lighter than it had been before I left. I was ready to start my work the next morning, but when I woke all I could do was stare at the blinking cursor on my blank document. The idea of writing a whole novel? Daunting, to be sure. But even the idea of writing 1,667 words per day? I couldn't do it. Outline and all, I felt so...sick to my stomach.
That's where this idea came in. It was like getting my feet wet in writing, and I'd be having the daily reinforcement of people reading my blog and giving me insight. I thought I'd only write five paragraphs at a time, maybe ten. A page, at most.
Meanwhile, I thought I'd feel less scared by sitting down to the computer and writing, so I'd feel more comfortable working seriously on my outlined story throughout the day and evening, etc.
Come to find out, everything's good in theory, right?
My outlined story quickly took backseat to the one I was working on for my blog. I was getting all sorts of fun feedback both on my blog as well as through email and FB. It was awesome, and though the idea of writing an entire novel was still over-my-head, the daily reinforcement of friends and loved ones kept me going.
Blah, blah, there's all sorts of detail in the middle that I'll leave out for lack of time and no doubt interest. The point I'm trying to get at is this:
When I finally got serious with myself and said, "Okay, Deb, you may actually be able to pull this one off..." I took the story off the blog and started giving myself deadlines. Some of my deadlines I've been able to keep, some I've had to stretch. It's all been very much a learning process.
Did I reach my August 25 deadline?
Am I okay with that?
I find comfort in reminding my Virgo-side that, "Writing, then editing, and editing, and cutting, and writing more, then editing...is a bitch, no?" It feels good when you can finally read through a page without cringing, though. So there's that.
Here's an example of how I started:
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Revisiting this scene again, over and over, I realized I didn't like Grayson having so much voice. He's not a huge character, other than his actions get the action rolling, so I needed to cut that whole chunk. Ax it. That was frightening because I knew I wanted the feeling to be there from the break up, but it needed to come in somewhere else. In such a way that the emphasis was completely on Aimee, and not at all on Gray.
Anyway. Here's my less cringe-worthy version. Still not perfect, but...
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So we've got a new deadline. October 31. Why? Because November 1 starts us off on NaNoWriMo again. Just in time for me to find a booth at Denny's to hash out my outline for the demons book/Novel Two.
You going to write your novel this year too?
As I am already a little late for work but couldn't resist reading anyway I will come back to the pieces of your novel (edited out or not I can't wait read a little of you!)ReplyDelete
As for deadlines, blah! Bend them or break them completely they are not the line around the prison camp they once were!! I have so many things on at the moment at least one is two days behind already, but that is just life sometimes you find an unexpected hole in the wall and have to take the time to fix it.
I love hearing how your novel started and hats off to your super supportive hubs! Will I write my novel this year, ha probably not. But hey by the time I get there you will have published and I will be able to get lots of super advice from you ;-)
Love your thoughts. Thanks for being supportive, even if it means being a little late for work ;)Delete
p.s. Your reply was this: "Will I write my novel this year, ha probably not"...so...you're saying there's a chance?
There is probably more chance of it rainig meatballs than me producing anything that could be considered a novel. Too many walls built from self doubt standing in my way at the moment. I would just be happy if I could actually get an outline written for my two ideas!Delete
The only thing moving me forward at the moment is the inspiration and support you provide!
I am so excited with you and for you. I can't wait to read the rest. I think it's incredible how much you've done already.ReplyDelete
Ah, Moon Whaler. Have I mentioned yet how much I miss you? Cause I do. Thanks for sharing in the excitement, and for your support.Delete
Oct 31 is a good idea for a deadline! Right now it seems like I only write anything right before it's time for the critique group, but at least that keeps me going, right? I did do a few paragraphs last night, so that's good. This time of year I tend to focus on sewing anyway, so if I haven't finished my first draft by the time NaNo comes around, maybe I'll make it my goal to do it that month.ReplyDelete
Can't wait to see your new stuff! You know you can email me everything you're prepared to have read if you want!
Aye, but if I emailed you everything then what would I do for the critique group? And if that's what's getting you to write...critique groups must continue. But maybe I'll send you bigger chunks? Dunno. We'll see.Delete
Deb, I am always so inspired by your writing deadlines and projects–things I neither impose on nor grant myself as an artist. You make NaMoWriMo sound VERY tempting. Utterly insane, but oh so very, very tempting...ReplyDelete
Tempting? Good. The indulgence is better than the richest, smoothest dark chocolate, I promise. You should do it this year.Delete
I'm likewise inspired by your writing...it surprises me a little that you don't do deadlines or have some kind of project you're working on? Really? I can't (or won't?) believe it.
Ew, cutting out chunks is so daunting! But, cut we must!!ReplyDelete
I've been thinking about NaMoWriMo a lot lately. Thinking it'd be a good time to start on my next book, since queries go out next week. (AaaaH!)
Your wording, "cutting out chunks," reminds me of part of a story where a woman cuts out a chunk of her arm muscle to make soup for her sick mother because it was tradition in the culture to do so for an ailing matriarch.Delete
That would be a great sacrifice of love.
I think it's kind of like that.
On a less gruesome note -- Good luck (plus positive thoughts and roar-energy, etc) on queries next week. Yay for you for being that far along in the process!
You constantly bowl me over with your hard work and dedication to the craft. I am learning so much from you. Still cheering for you!ReplyDelete
Thank you for this, and for the continued cheering. The general bowling over and much learning is mutual, for sure.Delete
Also? Denny's. Yes. Many a transformative moment in my life has been spent in Denny's. Something about the coffee, perhaps?ReplyDelete
I melt at the thought of their coffee, so I think you may have hit it on the nose. Their mugs are pretty fabulous too.Delete
I finished my scrapbook today and thought of you. Thanks for the August 25 challenge! I didn't make the deadline, but I did finish a project, so it's a very good thing!ReplyDelete
You made the deadline if you finished, eh? I'm so glad you were able to get it done, and it makes me happy to think I was in any way able to help. Roar for finished projects!Delete
I have been feeling so...daunted...lately. And coming here and reading through the five or six entries that I've missed, hearing more about your own motivations and forward motion has been really inspiring to me.ReplyDelete
As to not quite making the deadline--you know, sometimes I think the work has its own inner timetable and racing to the finish line may not always serve it well in the end. There are parts of the process that I think it's good to get through quickly (getting down that first draft, maybe), but the revision and tinkering process often requires perspective that can only be gained by time away or working on other things.
Or maybe that belief is why I've not really completed anything worth showing to anyone since 2005... ;)