Thursday, November 04, 2010

National Novel Writing Month: Dispatches From My Living Room #4

--by Hanje Richards

The calendar I received from NaNoWriMo Organization tells me that today, November 3rd I will discover that what I’m writing so far wasn’t necessarily what I was planning to write. They assure me that is okay and to keep writing in anticipation of what will come next.

They also remind me that on November 5th I should go into the first weekend of November having written 8,335 words, but they assure me that if I am not there yet, not to worry. “That’s what weekends are for.” Additionally they say, “aim for 11,669 words by Sunday night and you’ll be golden.”

Well, so far so good. I have written at least 1,667 words each of the first three days of NaNoWriMo. I have made it to work on time and not fallen asleep on the job. I held the first our our NaNoCon Circles yesterday at the library. Attendance was low, but useful. We hope for more attendees next week, but we will carry on, giving support to those who do attend. (Tuesday 10:00 am – 11:30 am in the Copper Queen Library Meeting Room)

Here is some of the advice I received in the book: No Plot? No Problem by NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty:

Week One: Trumpets Blaring, Angels Singing and Triumph on the Wind
--Ditch the inner editor.
--Write your novel in a high-velocity, take-no-prisoners, anything-goes style.
--Take this challenge seriously
--Do not take any of this very seriously, write wildly, joyfully, in huge and bounding strokes
--Know that you have done all of this before. You have been writing a novel your whole life. This month is just the time when you finally get it down on paper.

One of the very best tips I found in No Plot? No Problem is this: “Don’t delete, italicize and if you wish change the color of the italicized text from black to white, rendering it invisible (yet still word countable). At the end of the month you can use ‘select all’ to turn the draft back to black, and go in with your editing scalpel to make your excisions.”

I love this idea, because I think I am writing pearls of wisdom that don’t always exactly fit where I put them, but I might be able to save them, invisibly, and use them somewhere else at a later date. Also it allows me not to choose to keep or edit words based on what it will do to my word count.

Brilliant idea, Mr. Baty!

I have made my word goal each of the three days so far, and although the very general outline idea that I had is actually where I seem to be going with my writing, it is taking a somewhat different form and is a bit more stream-of-consciousness that I thought it would be. I know that it feels good, and I feel like this challenge was exactly what I needed right at this moment.

I hope that all of you that are attempting the challenge are feeling good, or at least feeling like you will give it a few more days, before you throw in the towel. If it is adversely affecting your health, mental or physical, it is probably time to re-evaluate.

If you are in the Bisbee area next Tuesday morning and participating in NaNoWriMo (we would also love to hear from veterans of the challenge!) our NaNoCon Circle will be meeting again from 10:00 am to 11:30 am.

If you are participating from near or far, I would love to hear your comments on my blog or the Copper Queen Library blog or on Facebook. (And if you want to be a cheerleader, I will happily accept that too!)

Happy Day Three of NaNoWriMo 2010!

P.S. Lots of Sugar Free Dove Chocolate being consumed and lots of ice water being consumed, some with lemon, some without...