My first full week on the new regimen has been successful – writing every weekday and reaching my goal. This week’s number: 1371 words. Not quite 200 words for a 7-day week, but more than 200 per weekday, so I’ll take it. Yay!
Not much, to be sure, but once I got started I wrote at least 200 words every week day this week! Let me acknowledge:
- 200 words is not much. Seriously not much. It’s not even a whole typewritten double-spaced page. At this rate, it will be a full year before my first draft is done.
- Since I actually started writing again on Wednesday, that’s only three days of consecutive writing.
Still, I think it’s worth celebrating that I’m back on the horse and moving forward. Any movement is better than no movement. Hooray!
Oh: any my word count for this little baby week: 730 words. Not much, but that’s 730 more than I had last week. I’ll take it.
I wrote actual words today! I tweaked the end of Chapter 2 to allow me to jump over that scene that just wasn’t working at all, and tomorrow I can launch right into Chapter 3. I can feel how rusty I am at this, but now that I’ve made a start (again) I can feel the rust starting to wear away.
Two important things happened this week — important to me, at least.
At the college where I teach, the English department has scheduled some workshops for NaNoWriMo, and I went to one of them. It was called “Starting Your Novel in the Middle,” and what it actually focused on was just starting your novel. At one point we had to write for 15 minutes, selecting a scene that might fall on page 75 of our novel, and then read what we wrote aloud. I selected a scene I’ve thought of a lot, and it felt good to get un-stuck. It felt very brave (and good) for me to turn up, admitting to colleagues I see often that I’m actually hoping to write a novel. What felt bad was to realize the middle scenes in my novel are hazy in my head – I’ve been away from it just too long. I really need to dive back in, to get going again. Really!
The second thing was a blog post by Katrina Kittle, posted on the Writer Unboxed site, called Keep the Faucet On: Slow and Steady Fills the Ocean. You must read this post. It is true. I made me cry. Her message: once you miss a day it becomes that much easier to miss the next, which makes it even easier to miss the next, and then you’ve lost your way. You doubt the book, and doubt yourself. It made me swear that I will get back to work, even if I just snatch ten minutes at the start of each day. Even if it’s a week before I actually write something more, because it may take me that long (at 10 minutes a day) to pick up the thread where I left off. Even so. I promise myself: back to the book.
What makes this so hard is that, having been away so long, getting back to it seems a mountainous, impossible task. I know it’s not, but the monkey in my head has bared its teeth and is shaking sticks at me, warning me that I can’t do this.
Shut up, monkey. I’m going to do it anyway.
I broke my promise to post at least a few hundred words each week. Why?
First, because I’m really swamped with work and life. You don’t want to hear the story about the course I’m doing over from scratch and how I’m just barely staying ahead of the class. (For instance, today I really have to prepare the lecture/activities/videos/demos for TOMORROW’s class – I hate flying so close to the trees!) I’m behind in the material I’m supposed to maintain on the web site for the singing group I belong to. I’m behind in reading this month’s book for my book club. My husband goes out of town tomorrow for three days while my kids come over for dinner, so I have to get that ready. I’m on the worship committee for my church and we have to get all our Advent plans in place this week. And … and … and ……
I know lots of people have lives that are much more complicated than mine. I know that if I really wanted to, I could carve out the time to get at least some writing done. So why have I not? I really think part of the issue is the spot where I stopped – I have to back up and re-think things, since this scene I’m in the middle of is dragging like a dog that doesn’t want to go to the vet. Every time I think about getting back to it and finding the lever to light that fire (how many metaphors can I cram in here?), I find something else I could/should be doing instead. So, yeah, it’s a matter of will, not time.
Here’s my current plan. I’ll keep thinking, planning, working things through, but I’m not going to sweat the actual writing now. Everyone around me, it seems, is doing NaNoWriMo, but this is not my month. As a teacher, November will never work for me as a novel-writing month! But July, though – that’s a month I can totally get behind!
So, a new pledge. I will take my time, using all the resources I find on the web or in books, to revise my outline, plan my scenes, and get it all in place, and then write a draft next July. I know i can do that!
In the meantime, I’ll just be posting info about where I am in my planning process. For me, and for anyone else out there who might find it useful.