I came home from visiting family for Thanksgiving with a terrible head cold. I’m so mad – this week is super busy, plus it’s the toughest week in my RunBet game, and I’m resigned to the couch with a blanket and a cup of tea. I don’t even like tea, but it’s the only thing that feels good to my throat right now…
But in happier news, I finished NaNoWriMo! (There’s no name or date on the certificate, because a slow website + slow WiFi = no patience from me). This is the first time I’ve attempted it seriously with a work of original fiction, and while the story is a hot mess and only about 70% done, I got my 50,000 done! I’m super proud of myself; as a reward, I bought a discount Phalaenopsis orchid from Kroger. I repotted it on Sunday and it looks happier already.
What really worked for me this year was:
1) Plotting ahead of time (shocker). I didn’t have a very complete outline, but I had enough so that I had 18 or so scene cards in Scrivener already laid out by Nov 1.
2) Writing consistently. I knew ahead of time that there would be one weekend in which I wouldn’t be able to write for three days; but those three days were so easy to turn into four, then five…it was super hard to start up again, and after that I tried extra hard to write something every day, even if it was just 50 words.
3) Word sprints. I started these on day 13. I was a skeptic going in – I don’t know why – but on that first day I tried them, I knocked out 3000 words in just three sprints. They were garbage words, but still words – something that I can edit. The sprints also helped with finding consistent times to write. Doing 25 minutes of writing with a 5 minute break meant that I could sit down and define exactly when I was going to start writing, when I was going to stop, and kept me from getting distracted.
So, next steps – I need to compare my outline to what I actually ended up writing, and pull out all the “Note to self” markers I left in the document; then write up a new outline, and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.
Now that the bulk of Draft 0 is done, I’m feeling much more excited about the story than I was at the start. Not that I wasn’t interested in it before – but I’m used to fan fiction stories, where even when I’m not writing, I’m thinking about new scenes and new stories and can’t wait to get back to writing some more. With this one, since it was so new, that didn’t happen – until I was about 20,000 words in. At that point, I felt like I was finally getting a feel for my characters and for what the overall plot would be, even though I had it outlined already. It just started to feel more real.
So, that was a pretty exciting feeling, and a sort of internal validation that yeah, I might actually be able to hack it as an author of original fiction!
Well, we’ll see what the final product ends up looking like.
Anyway, back to struggling through work now…my goal is to take it easy without letting things pile up. I can’t really get upset with my clients for being late on deadlines if I turn around and let their drafts sit on my desk for a week.