preparing to write a novel*

today i begin my second attempt at nanowrimo, although i’d like to consider this the real first attempt thereby rendering last year’s effort — in which i didn’t even produce 10% of the 60,000 words nanowrimo’ers are meant to aim for by month’s end — the pilot go around. i’m not sure if it’s because i “do” academic research that i tend to talk in stages — pilot, year 1, etc. — or if i gravitated toward longterm, multi-phase studies because of this latent tendency to organize time into phases and stages. nevertheless, today begins year 1 of the great nanowrimo adventure!

here’s what i’m doing or have done to prepare:

– telling people im nanowrimo-ing — apparently peer pressure is still the most effective kind
– committing to a steady early morning writing block free from other inter/online forces — i’ll have to start this tomorrow and hope that i can channel some of that good, early morning writing energy to kick things off this afternoon
– saying no. to everything. else. this will feel especially good after i clear the following off of my plate: 2 article reviews, 1 tenure review letter, a cadre of job rec letters — i am to be free of these by week’s end, after which my answer to all the rest for the duration of this month at least will be no, niet, non, nein, nope, sorry.
– freeing myself from the self-critical, editing monster that only reduces productivity. she can wait until december…
– keeping paper and an extra word processing document open and on hand at all times in case this novel writing stimulates ideas for either of the books im really supposed to be working on.
– making jottings and timelines for the characters that loudly wormed their way into my time at the silent meditation retreat — incredibly fascinating how difficult it continues to be to take what seem like crystal clear ideas from the ether of the mind to pixels on the screen.
– incorporating new routes into my daily walks — im already stimulated by the world around me. i might as well put this otherwise distracting quality to good use!

that’s it for now. oh, and write 2,000 words a day. this is what the folks at nanowrimo recommend. i suspect that the entries on this blog will also be more heavily writing focused in the weeks to come, and as i find interesting sites and such, i’ll be sure to share for general enjoyment by all.  the first such resource was actually sent to me by my dear sister, who herself is having a bit of a renaissance and who i might have convinced to join me in the ‘wrimo journey:

Prepping for NaNoWriMo 2011 — by Sara Toole Miller

*once again an asterisk is necessary because to declare that one (I) is writing a novel feels much too daunting to accept full responsibility for, thus i am grateful for the distance from accountability that the asterisk provides.
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2 Responses to preparing to write a novel*

  1. How productive! I find it hard to stay motivated toward one idea for more than a week. Any suggestions?

  2. sabonseine says:

    motivation is tricky, isn’t it? i appreciate your question and worked into the latest post — i also thought about it while i was writing today. much of my motivation comes from external deadlines, and sometimes this produces work that i’m happy with and other times not as much. for me, it helps to let a few key people know that im working on a writing project — people who i know will offer helpful nudging and generative thoughts that won’t feel like pestering when they check in about the writing. and i recently remembered (thank goodness!) that i need to read a lot while im writing — including my old writing, books i love as well as those i haven’t read before, emails with friends that can sometimes read like a story — mostly, the act of reading helps me remember my love of writing. with nanowrimo this time, im really just seeing if i can do it: write out this story that’s all mashed up in my head and give it the patience it needs to come out as prose.
    thanks for your question and comments — really got me thinking!

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