Day Fourteen

I’ll be honest, not much has happened today. I’m behind on words, behind on my thesis, and I can’t even get my internet to work, which is a royal pain.

I’ve done lots and lots of thinking about my novel today, but not so much actual writing. Which means that tomorrow, when I have more time to write, I probably won’t remember anything that I thought about today. That’s me. My mind’s like a sieve.

I have a big thesis deadline on Monday, so I’ll be working through the weekend. No rest for the wicked, and all that. Wish me luck! And then maybe I can get back on track. And I hope everyone who’s on or around the halfway point just now is celebrating – reward yourself! – and all those people who are finished with their novel, or even have (gasp!) more than 50,000 words…well, don’t post about it here. It will only cause me to mutter resentfully. Such elusive productivity is certainly nothing to boast about, especially in front of procrastinators.

Hope November is still looking positive for you all!

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Day Thirteen

I am only two days behind. That’s not so bad. A girl can catch up in a couple of days, if she applies herself.

My boyfriend and I are both participating in Nanowrimo this year. Earlier this evening, he said that the reason I was likely to succeed at Nanowrimo and he wasn’t was that he couldn’t write while he was at work, and I could write during the day, while I was at university.

“I don’t write when I’m at university,” I told him.

“You don’t?” he said, aghast.

I try to separate working and relaxing, especially at university. I can’t study at home for a number of reasons and so I want to maximise my productivity at uni by not allowing myself to think of it in recreational terms. So I don’t write at university. When I start thinking it’s time to put some words down, it’s usually time to go home.

In my opinion what really separates my boyfriend from me in terms of getting our writing done is this: When we sit down to write in the evenings, I sit down and do it, while he gets distracted on the internet. So while I can write a couple thousand words in a couple of hours, he gets only three to five hundred words done.

It’s very easy in this day and age to get completely distracted by what we can get on the internet. In fact, I have fallen behind precisely because of internet distractions.

And it’s not even necessarily bad to get distracted a little. The brain needs a break sometimes. The problem occurs when the brain doesn’t come back from break. Life has to be something more than one big distraction, and so does Nanowrimo.

So, lesson number 13, as brought to me by my boyfriend: the internet is bad. IT’S BAD. Turn it off for November! Way more will be accomplished. Also, I wills top looking at crazy cute pictures of sloth and wishing I could have one for my birthday.

Mood: quite tired, but not too bad.
Word Count: 18,929
MusicThick as a Brick, by Jethro Tull

Day Twelve

Well, my writing today wasn’t nearly as impressive as yesterday’s sprint. I’ve fallen even further behind. And I was so hoping to make it to the 20,000 mark today. Curse you, Community, for your imminent distractability.

Today I rediscovered the joys of writing longhand. It’s particularly nice to catch a break from the furious typing I’m used to engaging in. The variation gives my wrists and fingers a break, though it’s no softer on my back. Plus, there are fewer breaks. My mind moves faster than my fingers when I write longhand, so I always know where I’m going next. Another great thing about longhand is that you can write and look like you’re taking notes, or write when a computer wouldn’t be viable – on the bus, for example.

The big detractor, for me at least, is that four pages of longhand condenses into less than a thousand words.  What looks so impressive when I’m flipping through my notebook turns out to be no big deal.

I remember when I used to prefer writing longhand. The nice thing about it is that I can really focus on what’s on the page. There are no other internet tabs, no skype messages, nothing calling me insistently away from my story. Unless I’m supposed to be paying attention in class, of course.

I’m hoping tomorrow will provide some nice catch-up opportunities. I should probably stop distracting myself. Maybe I can stick to just the notebook…

Mood: still good, I’m probably just in denial.
Word Count: probably around 16,400? I’m not really sure. That’s not as bad as I thought.
Music: Still Primo Victoria, as warbled by Van Canto. Seriously, that song is amazing. Very epic to listen to while completing boring assignments.

P. S. Does anyone else love the Recommended Tags category in the post-writing section? Right now my recommended tags include the Pope, Catholicism, and the Archbishop of Canterbury. I think this may be the first time I have mentioned any of those things in a WordPress post. Do you think the Pope is doing Nanowrimo? Think he’d run a word sprint with me? I’d totally put that on my CV. Though my nano name, which references Anne Boleyn, might hit a sore point.

Day Eleven

The First Writing Funk of November is officially a thing of the past!

I ended my two-day unintentional writing vacation this evening by writing 2.5k. I am still 4,000 words behind, so there will be a bit more of that in the future.

I started feeling optimistic again after this writing session. It makes me wish I’d started writing a bit earlier in the evening, since now I have to get my wussy self to bed. I have a vague idea of what’s going to happen next, and a vague idea is all I ever need.

And I had fun during this writing session. It’s always more difficult when you’re not having fun, and even though I’m sure what I was writing was pretty bad, I enjoyed it. So at least I didn’t totally waste my evening.

The next big milestone is tomorrow! 20k. I don’t think I’ll hit it until at least Tuesday. How about you guys?

Mood: tired but positive
Word Count: 16030
Music: Primo Victoriaoriginally by Sabaton but I’ve been obsessively listening to the Van Canto cover. Seriously. If you like a capella music, go listen to this. If you like metal music, go listen to this. I couldn’t believe I’d never heard of these guys before now.

Day Ten

I’m still in a bit of a writing funk. Writing today didn’t go too far, but tomorrow is another day. A weekend day! That means lots of time for writing…right?

We’ll see, anyway.

I think I posted all my relevant thoughts for the day over on Look! A Nanowrimo Forum!! where I do occasionally guest post. I hope you find it sufficiently awesome. You should also check out the blog’s other contributors.

I’ll pose the same question over here as I do over there. Fellow wrimos: at the end of the day, why do you do Nanowrimo? And non-wrimos: why do you not? That is a serious question by the way, I’m not trying to heckle anyone into doing anything.

Any thoughts?

Day Nine

I am now fully wrapped up in my mid-novel depression.

Something that seems to happen to many writers, each November, is that somewhere around the middle (usually the second week) we start getting upset about our novels. We don’t think we can possibly finish, and even if we can it won’t be worth editing and making into a real, readable novel. This year it has hit me early. I don’t really enjoy working on it anymore, and in turn that makes me feel like it’s not really worth working on.

This, like all other writing humps, is something to be overcome. In November, it’s not about overcoming it with patience and deep thinking about one’s personal issues and possible inability to finish long works. It has to be overcome by just plowing through. Such is Nanowrimo.

Hope everyone’s novel is going well! I’m sure it’s not doom and gloom for everyone – but any tips for getting back on track might be nice.

Mood: defeatist
Word Count: somewhere around 14000 (I didn’t do my Nanowrimo check today)
Music: none.

Day Eight

An excerpt from the novel. Don’t judge too harshly, this is a hastily-written first draft:

They fought their way through the underbrush until they found a smaller road, then they walked along it. Leva strode next to her with his head down, contemplating something. Probably how much he hates peasants, she thought. “So,” she said. “Can you do any magic whatsoever outside of the school?”

He smirked. “I guess I haven’t tried that much,” he said. He turned that well-known, cocky expression on her. A smile played around his lips – the same smile that he always had when he knew he had the upper hand.

Her hair burst into flame.

She couldn’t help the scream that erupted from her mouth. She dropped the rucksack and threw herself to the road, dislodging Cat as she rolled back and forth on the hard ground.

“Stop,” Cat was shouting – as loud as a cat could shout. “Stop it. Stop!”

Leva was laughing.

After a few moments Marian realized that she wasn’t in pain – and she didn’t smell burning hair. She stopped rolling and tentatively put a hand up to her head. Her hair was as long, as lush and as curly as ever. It was a bit dustier now, but otherwise undamaged.

Leva was almost on the road himself. His face was red and tears glinted at the corners of his eyes as he snorted with laughter. “It was an illusion,” he gasped. “You should have seen yourself -”

What she was seeing was red. She scrambled to her feet, ready to punch him in his smug, upturned mouth. Cat was shouting something but she couldn’t really make it out. She didn’t care.

She opened her hand at the last moment so that her punch turned into a hard slap. Leva’s laugh became a choke as he was thrown off balance and onto the road.

 

Today’s lesson for me is: if you have personal problems, write them right in to your novel.

When I started writing today, I was behind by almost 3000 words and I was not in a good mood. I’m currently having some personal problems with my best friend – my ex-best friend, I should say, since our friendship is a bit on the rocks these days. I had just finished having a totally unsatisfying non-conversation with him and was (and still am) unsure of how to proceed along the road of our relationship.

This novel, and the interactions of the two main characters in it, has become an outlet for my frustration with my friend. While I didn’t come up with the idea with him strictly in mind, he soon became the jumping point for the easy, arrogant Leva, and the problems and flaws we both have were easy to make the starting point of an argument that got out of hand.

When I started writing I didn’t think I would make that many words. But I managed to make up for yesterday’s lack of writing, and keep going. And I could write even more – but I’m going to go home and make some dinner, instead.

Mood: frustrated but in some ways satisfied.
Word Count: 13,358
MusicThe Host of Seraphim, by Dead Can Dance.