I am currently four days into this year’s NaNoWriMo challenge, and so far I am on schedule.
Even though I have five jobs. And notebooks to grade. And papers to grade. And official paperwork and expense statements to fill out. And a write-in next week at which I am hostess.
But I’m still writing.
If you are familiar with my writing journey, you know that a soul-reaper named Welsan, and a would-be suicide named Jada, overtook my brain a few months ago. Their story has been building momentum in my imagination ever since. The official page for “Welsan’s Story” has been removed for now – the tale was changing too quickly, and I’d rather spend the bulk of my writing time composing than posting more episodes – but he is very much at the forefront of my brain right now.
In the three days that I have been tackling his story, however, a couple things in this next stage of writing have really come to light. I wouldn’t say that I’ve levelled up – more that another breadth in the magnitude of novel-writing has come apparent to me.
Four days into serious scene-writing, I’ve learned the following things:
1. Morning really is the best time to write. Please note: I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON. Not by any stretch of the imagination. But work schedules have made me write in the morning lately – otherwise I’d have to bail from NaNoWriMo completely and let worldly pressures defeat Welsan’s struggle to be alive on the page.
The funny thing is – in the last few weeks, I’ve found that I really DO do better at writing when it’s first in the morning. I get my ideas down, no one is calling/texting/emailing me yet, and I have the rest of the day to mull over my next step while I go about my other obligations.
2. If I protect that morning writing time, then that 1700 word goal comes out in fairly short order. Before the phone starts ringing. Or the texts/emails start rolling in. Before I must get in the car and go somewhere. And I’m not kicking myself for the rest of the day for not getting my ideas down.
No, this is not me. Silly reader!
3. That “1700 daily word goal in short order” phenomena is a LOT easier if you have a one page summary of your novel. Yes, I am referring to the ubiquitous, elusive-as-bigfoot one page summary that everyone and their brother says you need BEFORE you begin your rough draft.
Please understand: I’ve written five – count them, FIVE – manuscripts before Welsan – and never did the one-page-wonder beforehand. Some of those manuscripts are salvageable; some are most certainly not. One went through the shredder years ago (and I don’t regret it. Never have.). And yet, somehow, about three days before NaNo, I sat down to “tighten up” my plan for Welsan and…lo and behold….I had all my bullet points in order. In one page. Beginning to end.
Getting up early and slogging through the next scene is FAR less intimidating, and much more doable, now that I have a stout list to go by. And no, it doesn’t cramp my style or box me in. It frees me up to tell the story that needs telling, and gives me the creative wiggle room to do some funky-cool things along the way.
I’m pretty sure that NaNo has some other lessons to teach me along the way, and I’ll certainly sound off on those as they come. In the meantime, I’m headed to another early bedtime so I can get up and do it again – another 1700 words await me tomorrow morning!