I Finished!

I know some of my writer buddies did the NaNoWriMo with me.  Well, I am pleased so say I finished!  Not only did I finish, but I finished with 5 days to spare. Of course the competitive nature in me would not let me lose. I verified my word count and I am technically finished.  Although like many of you this just means just the beginning.  Now comes the long process of editing my novel so I can submit it to a publisher. I have a feeling that when I am finished editing, it will far longer than the 50506 words that it is now.

So, to my friends who are still working on their NaNo - keep going!  You have 5 more days.  To my friends who have finished - Congrats!!! You are a winner.

Are you a sprinter or long distance runner?

I am not a sprinter.  Let me repeat that - I am NOT a sprinter.  I am more of your long distance runner. I am the tortoise who plods along daily, working at it, working at it, until it's completed.  I am NOT the hare.

Some of my NaNo buddies were talking about doing a "sprint".  I guess a sprint is when you sit together for a set amount of time and see how much writing you can knock out.  I learned about this one night at my writer's meeting.  They were getting together beforehand to sprint for about 15 minutes.

I'm glad I didn't know about it until afterwards because my brain works in weird ways. It's hard to force the writing, but one thing I have learned is that if you set aside time each day to write, you can make your goals. I am the type of person who makes time to write. I write each day. I write for several hours each day. Sometimes it's for NaNo, sometimes it's editing something else I've written, sometimes it's my blog I update, but every day I write.

I would compare myself to those kids who play with video games for hours upon end.  You know, the ones whose parents are always trying to get them to go outside and play.  That's me. I was that kid. I was the kid who read all day long - for hours upon hours. I wrote as a child.  I watched old movies.  Whatever it was, I did it for long periods of time and on a daily basis.  You could almost say I was addicted to writing just like people get addicted to drugs or alcohol.  I am not trying to knock down those addictions, but why can't it be like those? Isn't an addiction something you have to do? You feel compelled to do? You have to do or you go crazy? This is my drug. Writing fills my life and gives me a natural high that makes each day feel great.

So, sprinting is not for me.

Although I have to make another confession while I'm at it - I also do not work with a set path.  Many people write their outline or synopsis first.  Not me.  Sometimes I have a general sketch of an idea what I want to happen, but it's usually just the beginning scene and how I want it to end.  The stuff in the middle - the inside of the Twinkie - is totally empty.  I write the story as the characters dictate it to me. Every so often I run into a little speed bump, something that will not let me go on, but once I resolve that issue, it's smooth sailing.

Happy writing.  And if you get a chance to comment - tell me - are you a sprinter or a long distance runner (writer)?

How is your writing going?

Hopefully you get to write each and every day.  I make a point of writing every day.  Sometimes I accomplish more than others.  I think this is the same for all writers.  There are times when we want to write more but life just does not go our way that day. Now, if we lived in a world where we could sit and write all day, imagine how much writing we could get done.  Of course for authors who are published and are best-sellers, this is true. But if you are like me, you have another job that helps to pay the bills until you are published successfully.

In my previous post, I mentioned the NaNo. For me it's a competitive thing.  When I am writing I like to know I am ahead.  I never like to be behind. I know that sounds crazy.  How do we know if we are ahead or behind? In our everyday life we can usually plan what we want to write, but we don't always hold ourselves accountable. Through NaNo, there's an accountability factor.  You have to post how many words you write each day. I know what you are saying - couldn't people lie about how many words they write each day.  You could. You could.  That said, we all know how a person would feel if they lied about their progress.  Eventually the lies would eat them alive.

While I was tweeting today, I came across an interesting tweet.  The 10 commandments of a writer.  I found them through Rachelle Gardner's tweet.  The site is called The Kill Zone www.killzoneauthors.blogspot.com and the blog title is "the 10 commandments for writers. The very first commandment is Thou shall write a certain number of words per week.  This goes directly to the NaNo.  With the NaNo you don't have to state how many words per week, but if you follow the chart, you will be writing a set number of words every week.  I love the second commandment - thou shall write with passion.  This is important because when you write, you don't want to write just to put words down on paper, you want it to mean something. The third one is - thou shall make trouble for their hero. This is entirely worthy of my attention because like many others, we tend to write whatever comes to our minds without thinking of the consequences and how it might effect our main characters.  These are just the first 3 commandments.  If you want to read the rest, go to The Kill Zone site mentioned above.

I have found that in writing, just like in weight loss, if you don't make an attainable goal for yourself each day, then you will never really succeed at this goal. Remember that the ultimate goal is publication.  Take those small steps.

At the beginning of the year, I made a promise to myself that I would submit to one contest each and every month.  I have been very good with keeping this promise.  I will admit that some months I did not mail anything out, but I did submit in other areas.  To this I must say how valuable the critiques had become for me.  I read to my group and received critiques from them as well.  I also work with a small critique group.  On each level, the feedback was valuable and helped me polish my work.

Here are some things I realized - I have written for a little while now.  I have several finished manuscripts - some handwritten, and some on the computer.  No matter how much I learn about writing, I am not perfect.  I can always find something or somewhere I need work. Another set of eyes can look over my manuscript and help me make it better.  We are not islands.

So, let's all get back to work.  Let's complete those NaNo's.  Let's submit to contests.  Let's work with others to improve our craft.  And remember that even when we are reading and critiquing others, we are learning what works and doesn't work in our own manuscripts.  Never close your mind to improvements.


Have you heard of this before? NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month.  I heard other authors doing this before in the month of November.  They agree to write a novel during the month of November.  At first I thought WOW, this is quite an accomplishment.  Other authors have done a novel in a week, and that is what I call insanity.  If you’re lucky you write over 50 pages a day so you can get a 400 page novel finished.  If you are not prolific, this is near impossible.  I also worry about the quality of the work if the author is rushing to get it finished so quickly.  Not that writing 50 pages a day is impossible.  On the contrary, I myself have sat down more than once and wrote 50 pages a night. The novel ended up being 861 pages long and was more a family saga, but I was so motivated to write, I could not stop.  This was my first historical romance – and I have to admit it wasn’t the best.  Everyone had a point of view.  This was before I learned what POV was and how to use it to my advantage in a story.  Someday I will sit down and revise the entire book.  But not this month.

This month I am writing a new novel.  I decided to tackle the job of writing Robert Wellbourne’s story.  This is the prequel to my Order of the Golden Apple series.  It will be a shorter story – only 200 pages. In order to write the necessary pages I needed to figure out how many pages per day to write.  I knew I needed approximately 1700 words per day which came out to be around 7 pages.  If I could keep this pace, I knew I would finish on time, perhaps ahead of time.  Once I did this, I started writing.  Here’s the ironic part – after I did all that figuring out, I went to my stats page on the site and discovered they do this for the writer.  Not only do they figure it out, the keep track of the words you write, how many you have left, and they have a lovely graph to show if you are on track or not.

Also on this site is a section for writing buddies.  I have to admit something – I did not think about doing NaNo until one of the writers in my chapter announced her decision to try it.  I was hooked.  Of course I would do it too!  Now we are buddies on the site and we can see how many pages we all right during the month.  Six other authors from my chapter are also doing NaNo.  It has brought out the competitive spirit in me.  I check to see how many words they have written and I compare it to mine.  I don’t know why I want to be ahead, but for some strange reason, it really propels me to work harder when I know I am behind one of my writing buddies.

Here’s my question – are any of you also doing NaNo?  If you are, what are you writing and how far are you? (See my competitive nature rearing its head again?)

For those of you interested in joining the insanity, the website is:  www.nanowrimo.org .  Check it out and start your novel too!

Vivienne J