October 7, 2012

Write Me, Maybe (NaNo): ROW80 Update

I want to be finished
and this is crazy
But just join NaNo
and write me, maybe?

Clearly, I'm influenced by my kids' music. This song is always in my head, but lately my newest WIP has been begging me to commit and write.

Could NaNoWriMo be the answer?

My idea for a Young Adult novel is fleshed out in my head, and I've made quite a bit of notes, but I've only written disjointed scenes. Is this the kind of piece you take to NaNo?

I'm still working on the Depression Cookies follow-up with Mom, but it's hard to write while I'm waiting on a chapter from her. If I write ahead and she throws me a curveball, I have to rework. That gets frustrating. Even though we have a plan, we let the story unfold as our Muses dictate.

But I'm also afraid to continue to put my other WIP on the back burner. I don't want to lose the feel for the story. I'm balancing that fear with the fear of attempting 50,000 words in a month. Something I've never even come close to.

So, I ask of my writer friends, both those who have done NaNo and those who are considering it for the first time, to give me some encouragement to just sign up. Or, tell me I'm crazy and to focus on the WIP that's already 50,000+ words in.


A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) Update

Writing: Since I just sent a new chapter off to Mom, I turned to outlining my YA WIP. I wrote a few scenes and a character interview (trying to flesh out how my YA character in this is different from Krista in Depression Cookies, a character I know inside and out). This is what got me thinking about NaNo, because I'm excited about this story. What if I can't maintain that feeling through November?

Editing: Contacted my client and set up a schedule to keep us both focused. Excited!

Blogging: Keeping to my less-hectic and more doable schedule of Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Tomorrow, I'm excited to host a guest post by fellow ROW80er, Kim Switzer. Please stop by. She's sharing ideas for keeping the Muse engaged.

Social Media: Of course I wish I could visit even more blogs and leave more comments, but I'm finding balance.

Reading: Thanks to a rainy and cold weekend, I made some headway in my reading commitments.

Yeah for progress. Hope everyone is enjoying some round 4 progress.


Melissa said...

There's no harm in giving it a go. I tried last year & failed... however it did get me writing again! November is a busy month here in Australia. Even if you don't get to the target, it may just get you writing. Go for it.

Donna B. McNicol said...

I did Camp NaNo in August, my first ever. I loved the challenge and the way my story told itself - I'm now a more confirmed pantser than I ever thought I could be.

I finished Aug with 52k done, now at 62k with another 8-10k to finish my first draft. I had hoped to be done by the end of Sept but too much life got in the way.

I just signed up for NaNo, going to take my short story and expand it (many readers asked for this) and make the short story the prequel.

That means I'll have three WIPS - the mystery from Camp NaNo that will be in first draft, my romance that I put on the back burner to do Camp NaNo that is only at chapter 3 and the new NaNo attempt.

Remember, NaNo isn't just about winning, it's about the journey. I say go for it!

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell said...

I'd say go for it. I don't do NaNo, because I would probably beat myself up if I failed, but you sound like you would keep it exciting and fun, so go for it!

It might just give you the impetus to keep at it after November, whether you win NaNo or not. :)

Beth Camp said...

Participating in Nano is a real jump start to any writing project, whether you finish the "official" word count or not. You sound like you have good ideas starting to circle. Why not give it a try? I would -- but we'll be on the road for November. All I'm taking is a journal. I'll be writing various notes but I'll be far from any computer for the entire month of November. Ah, perseverance furthers!

mitsuraki said...

To be honest, it takes a very special person (to me), to be able to do NaNo and be successful at it. I've tried twice and failed both times (once because of comp failure and once because I lost heart), but I feel like even if neither of those things happened I still wouldn't have prospered. There are a lot of reasons for this, mostly being my ADD, but that's not important. The qualities of someone who can complete NaNo, to me, are as follows.

Organized: A person who is going to write 1667+ words a day for thirty days straight needs to have some semblance of organization. Without it, it's easy to get lost in the rush to write those almost 2000 words. It's easy to lose the flow of plot, to add in filler that doesn't make any sense, and it's easy to have characters do something that is so radically out of character that it makes you stop and think about where that came from (which then halts the writing flow and possibly the day's creative flow). Without organization, it's so easy to lose sight of the point of your book that you may never find it again. To me, the level of organization needed to complete a task like this is so far above mine that it almost sounds like Organization Nazism (though my level of disorganization rivals that of a kindergartner, so that may explain that).

Focus: Someone who is going to write insanely fast and concise during this time has to be able to focus. By focus, I mean that they need to be able to cut the entirety of the world from their vision and completely zone into the story and the plot and the characters. For however long it takes you to write those words (and don't be afraid to write more to have a little bit of cushion in case you end up writing less at a later time), nothing else can matter. Again, that's how it works for me, because if I stop for anything, I'm done for that day, or at least until a few hours later because my rhythm has been interrupted. It might be different for you!

Strong-will/Determination: I combine these two because, in this instance, you can't have one without the other. There will be set backs, and disheartening things will happen, but you have to be able to suck it up and move forward, or else you're likely to fall behind and be unable to reach your goal. I, clearly, have been unable to do that, but one day I hope to.

Motivation/Inspiration: The real key to succeeding at NaNo is to have the motivation to do it. You can organize and focus and be as strong-willed as you want, but if you don't have the motivation to complete this (whatever that motivation might be), it's not going to happen. However, all of those three things join together with motivation and inspiration to make the novel happen. I hear of people who somehow magically write 100,000 words during NaNo, and I wonder how they do it (and, if I'm honest, how much of a life they have because I'm a bit of a mean person sometimes).

Now, don't take all of this to be me saying "Don't do it because you're going to fail." This is me saying this is what I see when I see someone who is successful with NaNo. To be honest, if you have just a little bit of all four of these, I think you'll be fine. Plus, it would only be your first time doing this, so it's not like there's this huge pressure to make up for past failures or keep up the train of success.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that while these things are important to me, they may not be important to you, so you should do NaNo if that's something that you think you could do without beating yourself up if you don't succeed and if you think it would be fun. That's what NaNo is supposed to be, and so many people forget that during NaNo that it drives them insane.

I realize that the more that I'm saying the more it sounds like I'm telling you not to do it, so I'm just going to stop here and wish you the best of luck with ROW80 and NaNo!

Jo Michaels said...

I'm doing NaNo this year. My first year!! I've been holding an idea for over a month just for this purpose :) I have no formal outline, just an idea brewing in my head. I don't even have character bios done :) hehe I intend to do all of that the week of my blog party (because my posts will be done). It's for our good friend, Sandi and she's super excited about it, too :)

Let's GO FOR IT!!


alberta ross said...

I did NaNo last year and finished (well the 50000 words not the book - still working on that)

I usualy do do my editing later so that aspect didn't worry me - have signed up this year knowing my health problems will probably make it impossible to finish the course but the buzz and encouragement from everyone else will mean something new will be written and they will be words that may not have been written.

It really doesn't have to be about 'winning' - thats great - but about starting, trying and suceeding even if it's succeeding in writing a chapter. A new story begun- new possibilities - always worth giving it go - leave the beating sticks and hair shirt where they belong in the drawer and just have fun with us all:)

Tia Bach said...

Wow, I knew you guys would be helpful. I'm so close to pulling the trigger. Just thought I'd mention it to hubby since he's affected by my challenge-happy self!

Truly, I appreciate all of your advice.

Unknown said...

Nano is interesting. When I attempted it, it forced me to just write without going back and editing - which was actually a great exercise for me since I have a habit of getting hung up on editing while I write.

I failed miserably at completing Nano though. There was just too much going on in my life at the time for to meet the 1667 (I think that's it) minimum every day, but I've seen friends who have a lot more going on than me (one being a mom who home schools her kids) meet their goal and win Nano.

However, it's not really about winning - it's all about enjoying the experience, so I say go for it!

Shan Jeniah Burton said...

Tia, it must have been fate that made you one of my Nines for this check-in!

I suggest you ask yourself the question you wrote in your post. What if you can't sustain your ideas and excitement? What if your word count isn't anywhere near 50,000?

Will that matter? Will it be a failure? An act of bravery? A way of honoring yourself and this idea that has hold of you?

I did my first NaNo in 2009. I had an 8 year old and a 5 year old, then, and somehow I managed to get a few thousand words past the 50,000. I didn't (and still haven't) finished that novel, Blood and Breath. I have finished the story arc for it (I lost most of the draft on a broken external drive), and will likely at least begin flash fiction pieces for each point in the story arc this winter, when life slows down.

I skipped 2010 - too much life for me to settle into it.

I completed NaNO again in 2011, more or less (I had no real idea for a story except that I wanted a Shakespearean element, and I was desperately trying to avoid going into my fanfic universe, because I thought I could never market the result.

I spent 36,000+ words wandering around in my own head, adapting and putting the thinnest of veneers on my real life, until Eden Mabee (my lifelong bestie in real life) turned to me in a cemetery and said, "You need to burn down the Globe."

We've walked with our children in that cemetery, but she's never really said those words to me (although she might have, in that situation, if she had known, because it's just the kind of concise insight she gives so often!).

And so I did, and then there was this little girl lost in time, in the woods outside London, with nothing to protect her and keep her alive but her wits. And, oh, she was Spock and Jeniah's daughter - and, BAM! - into the familiar fanfic universe I went, and there was a STORY!

I finished Chameleon's Dish during the winter, during my first NaNo. It's really quite good, and now I know how to separate the fanfic from the marketable elements, without sacrificing my vision...os the fear of writing fanfic first drafts is just gone...

In August I completed Camp NaNo, getting 75,008 words of To Be or Not To Be written before the month ended. Since Jeremiah needed to take a standardized test and I had a huge amount of other homeschool administration, nearly all of it due September 1, I set myself a goal to hit the 50,000 word mark on Day 10 - which I did! Now I know I can write that much that fast, at least sometimes. The novel floundered in the middle of September, but that's fine...I set it aside at the end of the month, and this month am doing OctPoWriMo and opening myself to next month's NaNo, King of Infinite Space, which is the sequel to TBONTB (which is the sequel to BAB)...

I don't plan in advance - no outline. TBONTB grew up around a flash fiction piece I wrote in response to a picture prompt at Shah Wharton's Storyteller's Writing Challenge a few months earlier.

Since I can't count on school hours for uninterrupted time to write, and because people here all live by their own natural sleep/wake cycles, my writing times are only predictable in the sense that I usually write in short bursts during the day, and for longer, sleepier stretches at night. I often write for a few minutes at a time, all day long, between family times, or when taking a break from hometending. The words really add up, sometimes.

I say that there is nothing to lose from giving it a try. Jeremiah would point out that Edison tried over 2000 times before he invented the light bulb. He said he learned, from every failure, something else that wouldn't work. =)

I know I would LOVE to share NaNo with you, and you can count on my to be in your cheering section - I not only talk a lot, but I can be LOUD, too! =D

And, by the way, you are doing an awesome job on your goals!

Tia Bach said...

Thanks so much, Christina. I'll announce my decision in tomorrow's update. Everyone has been so helpful.

Shan, I wish I could spend 50,000 words thanking you for your amazing encouragment. I can't thank you enough!

bookworm said...

I have been thinking about NaNo since I read about it in your blog. I have no stories running around my head and I don't even consider myself a fiction writer - but I have had this itch since reading about NaNo. Do I step out of the shadows of my blog and do this? Just to see if I can do it? So, gee, thanks for giving me something else to agonize about. I might write more about it on my blog come Tuesday.

Tia Bach said...

Alana, Step out of the shadows and into the burning NaNo light with me. ;-) Hugs.