Can I haz a rest now?
Wheeeeew! I’m now officially at the half-way mark of NaNoWriMo: Day 15. I gave myself a bit of a break today and stopped at 555 words. (Funny number, eh? Not even planned!)
My observations at this point? Yeah, I am so not doing this again. While it’s been great to get back into novel-writing, it feels so unnatural. Never would I write a book seven days a week without taking a break. Sometimes I need distance from my characters and I’m even feeling this after only 15 days! This morning, in fact, I cheated on Xax and Viv and wrote a bit of a short story I began before November 1. I know, what a trollop I am!
The other thing that doesn’t feel “normal” for me is that I have to write and keep going without too much reflection. That feels odd. Sometimes I want to jot things down and then ponder for a day or two about it, then let the ideas flow at a more leisurely pace. This feels more like I’m in boot camp and feeling ordered to “move along, soldier,” which I suppose is fitting, since I’m working on a military space opera.
I also find NaNo writing more first-drafty than a regular first draft, and I’m sure I’ll be filling in scenes and editing until the cows come home. At this point I know the novel will be way more than 50,000 words, too. I half-wonder if I can even write a short novel.
What I do like is that I am sort of treating each chapter like a short story of its own, so this makes it easier for me to achieve my word-count goal. And when I get stuck, I sometimes put markers in square brackets so I can keep the flow of writing. An example is one that looks like this:
[Intense battle scene]
I swear to you, that is in one of my chapters. I had two other similar markers, but I went back and filled them in. I’ve never done this before, but it’s sort of helpful for “black-boxing” my writer’s block. When my mind clears, I can go back to them. So, this was a helpful discovery.
Now, how did I get this far with my total number of words? Well, one key thing for me was to ignore every email and every forum and every Facebook group about NaNoWriMo. I’m sorry, I know that sounds awful, but by shutting out all that noise I could actually focus on the task at hand. For me, spending time in those spaces, or reading the email, or heading out to a write-in would just interfere with my creative process. I like a quiet house, first thing in the morning, or in the evening, alone with my laptop and a cup of something. Also, if I hear about “winning” and “losing” one more time, I am going to projectile vomit my lunch.
Okay, that’s my latest update. The Stealth Lovers is over 27K words and counting. My next NaNoWriMo post will be on Day 30. It will be interesting to know what I’ll have to say about it then!
Hope I don’t swear much.
Cait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm, a comedic space opera where boy meets girl, but girl doesn’t notice boy because she’s sharing a body with another boy. She is also the creator and editor of the Spoonie Authors Network. You can follow Cait on Facebook and Twitter.