nanowrimo – day 13

still in the cafe from earlier, someone still crooning above me — i can hear it now because i’ve taken the earbuds out that i put in to create an enclosed writing zone. i just got wind of the NaNoWordSprints twitter feed and did some serious word sprinting — over 1600 in the past two hours.

and so far, in between travel, subletting dramadies, becoming familiar with the comments about all of the home repair types in my area via angie’s list, i’ve managed to squeeze out what is shaping up to be an interesting story. and sometimes, the problem is not that i don’t know what to write — which is often true when i start an article or chapter: ever the struggle of where to begin! — but parts of the story are incredibly sad and just creep up on me, even though im the one writing this thing! so here i sit, working my way through my second pot of bombay spice tea, typing away when i start to get a little choked up. time for a break, i say.

so im taking this opportunity to give a little update about this kooky tale that is taking me on some interesting adventures and giving me pause about the very nature of the writing process. that is, every moment of this writing is pure joy. i can’t say the same for some other writing i’ve done. why is that? and i don’t feel the least bit guilty spending hours at a time weaving the intricate and multigenerational backstories of characters that have taken shape in my head. is it precisely because there is no guarantee that these thousands of words are ever going to see the light of day that they feel free to come flowing out of my fingers, in a series of keystrokes, onto the screen? maybe i should write with abandon more often…!

the word count at the moment is coming in at a little over 12,000. i have a bit more sprinting to do if i want to reach the coveted 50k word goal — and not to mention that whole other mess of writing im also supposed to be doing that is also due at the end of this month.

a few writing tips i’ve learned from my nanowrimo experience so far (that many of you probably already know and i am just coming to learn/remember/accept):

  • timelines are good — i mean here a timeline for what happens in the story as opposed to a writing schedule. i’ve written out what amounts to an entire family tree for these characters, including siblings, dates and places of residence, key events; much like ethnographic work invites us to do, but that can feel tedious when prepared for the purposes of writing an article versus telling stories.
  • if something comes pounding through your subconscious into your conscious mind, write it down for pete’s sake! even if you have no idea what to do with it.
  • write every damn day. even if it’s a few lines emailed to yourself on your very old smartphone.
  • word counts are strangely motivating.
  • give yourself a treat, or a few, for good word sprinting.
  • enjoy the story.
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2 Responses to nanowrimo – day 13

  1. lb2035 says:

    I wonder if we can adapt these rules to work writing. I do try to write every day. And I was struck by a comment a friend made to me yesterday–and I think she took it from Writing Down the Bones–that writing requires ‘composting,’ and that writers should think of even the crappy writing we sometimes do to get started or wallow our way through to finding our point as this fertile soil, essential, but stinky 🙂

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