And drinking coffee

NaNoWriMo, Day 26

Day 26 of writing a novel, kind of.

I have good news and bad news.

Bad news first. I’m not going to make it to 50,000 words by the end of the month. I’ve made a number of excuses for this, including multiple trips to Oregon, friends visiting from back east, general lack of discipline, and uncertainty about the story. I’m sure I could come up with more if I thought I needed to justify it to myself. I’ve still been trying to write every day, but I’ll probably be closer to half my goal by the end of the month.

So, the good news. I’m really happy with the experience I’ve had, and despite not having met my target word count, I feel like the month has been a major success. I’ve learned a huge amount about writing, about myself, and about the place where those two things intersect. A few important realizations:

  • Writing new material for more than about two hours a day is excruciating. At a certain point, it just stops flowing. Editing and whatnot can still happen, but my creative well needs a day of recharge after about that point.
  • It’s a lot easier to write in the morning before other distractions have started filling my mind. Immediately after waking up is probably best.
  • The rest of my life doesn’t appreciate being pushed aside in order to be able to spend more hours writing. I still need to paint, play music, exercise, and visit with friends. This actually works really well in concert with item #1.
  • Reading is always important, and even more so when I’m trying to write a lot. It provides good perspective.
  • It’s OK (and usually better) to be a little bit crazy, both on the page and in life.
  • It’s really easy NOT to write. And really lame.
  • Fail constantly. Just do it. I need to come to terms with the fact that I’m probably going to make a lot of terrible art and writing and music if I ever want to get good enough to make something good. If I just sit around and wait until I have the perfect idea, my skills won’t be up to the challenge of translating that idea into something tangible.

I’m still committed to the novel even if it won’t be done by the end of November. It took me until mid-month to come up with a clear outline for the main plot, and I’ve been refining that as I add to it and flesh out the chapters. I have a lot more to write, but I’m going to try to write every day and chip away at it until it’s done. I’ll let you know when it’s there.

Oh, and more good news. My mustache has been going strong all month and is doing fantastic.

3 replies
  1. Christine Graham says:

    reflections: I am so surprised about reading being good when you are writing! Contrary to my suspicions! And please keep the moustache till you come east so we can see (or take your picture if you’re dying to get rid of it!) And bravo for the willingness to fail. Big progress!

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