Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 20: Keep Going

Keep writing. Keep working. If you’re at a point where you don’t want to put words on paper and are terribly far behind, work on something else. The important thing is to keep writing.

Being a writer is not about doing it when you feel like it. It’s about doing it.

A writing colleague commented on a blog the other day, “You don’t feel like writing? Boo fucking hoo.” And that about sums it up.

Some days, it’s a bit harder to sit down and do the pages each day. However, once I got past the first half page or so, I fell back into the world of my story, and it gets easier and easier with every paragraph. If I can push through the first 400 words, I can find my rhythm and make it to the 1000 or 1500 or whatever my goal is for that day. So, push through the initial resistance and keep going.

We’re in the final ten days. We’re tired. We don’t know how we can reach the finish line. Time to make like a hockey player and dig deeper.

Come Write In! at the Marstons Mills Public Library, 2160 Main St., Marstons Mills.
Tuesdays 11-1 and Thursdays 2-4, during November

Published in: on November 20, 2015 at 5:01 am  Comments Off on Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 20: Keep Going  

Thurs. Nov. 19, 2015: Saying Goodbye and Writing Forward

Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015
Waxing Moon
Cloudy and cold

Yesterday was a long, sad day. The memorial service was in Manomet.
Valet parking and everything. I was a little confused and the guy said, “Don’t worry, we haven’t lost one yet.” Which was pretty funny.

There was a lot of us from the Marine Life Center. We were okay until we saw his pirate costume, that he always wore to the Mermaid Ball, hanging up beside the cremation urn. That’s when we lost it.

The service was lovely and simple. We then had a long procession, complete with escort, back over the bridge to the National Cemetery in Bourne for the Honor Guard Ceremony – incredibly moving and beautiful. Then it was back over the bridge to Flynn’s in Manomet for the reception.

I only stayed an hour or so, then headed back to the library to finish out the work day.

Home, exhausted. In bed by 8:30.

It still is incomprehensible to me that my colleague won’t be at the holiday splash or the trees party or the Mermaid Ball. I keep expecting him to walk through the door at any moment.

Got some work done on TIE-CUTTER this morning. Thursdays and Fridays tend to be short writing days for me.

Long day at work, and then meetings tonight.

I’m past 45K on Nano, between the two projects. I think I’ll hit 50K before Thanksgiving, which is usually my goal. If I hit it early enough, I might just upload everything before Thanksgiving and not worry about it, to get the final count. Or, I might add what I do over the holiday, because I should have a couple of solid writing hours each day.

Devon

Published in: on November 19, 2015 at 9:47 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 19, 2015: Saying Goodbye and Writing Forward  

Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 19: Hitting the Personal Goal

In Years 1 and 2 of Nano, I hit 50K on Day 19. I could pull back to a saner pace for the rest of the month.

My completion goal, I estimated to be around 100K in Year 1 and 85K in Year 2, so I still had plenty of work ahead of me, but I set a goal and I met it. And there’s no feeling like it. Year 3, knew I’d be 100K or more, so I slowed down to a saner pace. I found a good stopping point, put it away for awhile, and then went back to work on it. I had to do a great deal of ripping apart and restructuring, especially once I realized it was actually a trilogy. It was worth it.

Year 4, the mystery’s goal was around 90K. After I hit the 50K and was dealing with my grandmother’s death, I put it away. I took it out again several times, but there were bad memories associated with it. I finally created a false, temporary ending so it wouldn’t drain creative energy, and I could move on. Someday I might rewrite it. It’s definitely helped me in the mysteries I’ve written since. I have to accept the fact that it might be one of the books that stays in the drawer.

This year, for Tandem Nano, my goal is simply to write as much steadily as I can on the ongoing novel — respecting its pace. I doubt it will be 50 K. More like 30K. The final book will be 92-95K, maybe more, and I expect to have to do some deep cuts in revisions. For the new mystery, my goal is to hit 50K during the Nano month, and then continue until it’s done — I’m figuring between 75 and 90K.

That’s part of finishing a draft – not only are you forced to ask yourself questions and turn your process inside out, you make writing a priority. You make a commitment, not just to the work, but yourself, and you stick to it. You stop treating it as a hobby, and treat it – and yourself – with respect.

When you respect yourself, others respect you.

How did I do it?

–I sat down and wrote every day. If I anticipated a day would be stressful, I worked ahead of my goal the day before. I took off two days consciously, in order to come back refreshed. I didn’t just let them go.

–I trusted my characters and tried not to control everything to the nth degree. I let it happen instead of trying to make it happen.

–I did not worry about what “others” would think of the work, or care what a potential editor or reader would say. This is a first draft. This is for me, not for anyone else. Future drafts are shaped with an eye to “other”, but unless it’s on the page in the first place, it can’t be shaped and it certainly can’t be sold.

–I wanted it badly enough to do whatever it took to finish. Again, you ask yourself “How badly do I want this?”, you answer, and you make your decisions from there. You are the only one who can decide where the writing fits into your life. There never IS time. You MAKE time.

Come Write In! at the Marstons Mills Public Library, 2160 Main St., Marstons Mills.
Tuesdays 11-1, Thursdays 2-4 during November.

Published in: on November 19, 2015 at 5:53 am  Comments Off on Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 19: Hitting the Personal Goal  

Wed. Nov. 18, 2015: Not Ready to Say Goodbye

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015
Waxing Moon
Sunny and cold
Frost

Today is my colleague’s funeral. I still can’t wrap my head around him being gone. It’s incomprehensible to me. I dread going to the service because I’m not ready to say goodbye.

Last weekend was a blur — grocery shopping, errands, paying bills. Eversource should really be called “Neversource.” They keep raising rates at ridiculous levels, but heaven forbid they give customer service — especially when they screw up. They are a company that’s grown too big to serve its customers and should be broken up, just like Ma Bell was. Ma Bell was actually a good company and most companies that rose in their wake — Comcast, Verizon, etc. – -have sucked.

Most of the writing I got done was on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. The story’s taking some good twists and turns. I’m setting up some interesting over-reaching arcs that can play out over several books without taking away interest in the central mystery of each book. I wanted to work on it yesterday morning, but got in so few words (due to a stressful situation that needed to be dealt with immediately), that they weren’t even worth counting. I’m hoping to have better luck today.

At yesterday’s Come Write In! session at the library (we had a nice group), I wrote 2002 words (in longhand) on THE TIE-CUTTER. I felt good about it, and it was fun to write in company.

Looking back on it, however, I realize that I rushed a couple of scenes and put them in narrative when they would have worked better as active, dialogue scenes. In the next draft, I’ll have to rework them. Olivia’s in Iceland now, and I have to put up the photos from my trip and get a feel for the place again. I couldn’t even remember place names properly without looking them up. Of course, even if I remembered, I would have had to look them up in order to spell them correctly!

The historical mystery is pulling at me, but I’ve written enough notes on it so I won’t lose it, and I’ve got to finish the historical play first anyway, because I have to upload it in mid-December.

The next few days will be long — lots to do at work, plus it’s my Saturday “on.” Next week, we move into the Thanksgiving holidays, and then it’s full force into Spectacle of the Trees. Not to mention my own holiday decorating and baking.

The past two days were filled with unmitigated and unnecessary stress due to someone trying to play God with me. It didn’t work, but the whole thing was very unpleasant. When someone feels powerless in their own life and then deliberately sets out to harm someone else in order to feel better, that is not okay. Not only do I refuse to be the one harmed, I refuse to let that individual harm anyone else.

Back to preparing myself, both mentally and physically, for a difficult day.

Devon

Published in: on November 18, 2015 at 5:12 pm  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 18, 2015: Not Ready to Say Goodbye  
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Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 18: Breaking Your Own Rules

I broke one of my own rules. I went back and added an insert of several pages into a previous chapter. As I worked on the current chapter, I realized that a character I thought was a walk-on in Chapter 10 actually has a much more important part to play in the entire book. So I added a scene. I didn’t rewrite what was there – I fleshed out a bit I’d skimmed over before. And that helped the current chapter.

The piece dictates the process, not the other way around.

But I did not EDIT material – I ADDED material. I changed direction a bit. There’s a difference.

Had I gone back to EDIT, I would have sabotaged myself, doing second draft work within a first draft, and gotten stuck.

Will it change the chapters I didn’t edit? Some of it. I made some notes, so I have possible roads to travel down when I DO the edit, several months down the line.

If you go back and edit while you write, certain sections of the book will be overworked to the point of diminishing return while other sections remain raw. Write an entire draft before you go back and edit, especially doing Nano.

Somewhere in your rounds of edits (and yes, there need to be more than one), you will do a beat-to-beat, sentence-to-sentence edit, where you will rework and rework each piece until you’re done before moving on. Nano is not the time for that. Nano is about getting words on paper, and rearranging them to shine properly after.

Come Write In! at the Marstons Mills Public Library, 2160 Main St., Marstons Mills
Tuesdays 11-1 and Thursdays 2-4 during November.

Published in: on November 18, 2015 at 5:49 am  Comments (1)  

Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 17: Unexpected Day Off

Sometimes, life gets in the way so completely – be it bad weather, mass transit, illness, that you’re overtired and overwhelmed.

Again, don’t be afraid to take a day off.

But make it a conscious choice. Don’t say, “I don’t have time”. Say, “I’d rather deal with the rest of my life today and come back to the page fresh tomorrow.”

Your approach will affect your writing, and you want to create as positive an atmosphere as possible.

Come Write In! at the Marstons Mills Public Library, 2160 Main St., Marstons Mills.
Tuesdays 11-1, Thursdays 2-4, during November.

Published in: on November 17, 2015 at 5:45 am  Comments Off on Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 17: Unexpected Day Off  

Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 16: Comparison/Contrast Between Experiences

Since we’re just pas the half-way day count, it’s time for more comparison/contrast. If this is your first year, it’ll be helpful to remain aware of your experience this year, so you can adjust as you hit obstacles, should you decide to do it another year.

I’m going to use four years of Nano experiences for today’s comparison/contrast. I did four consecutive years of National Novel Writing Month, where I completed 50K in 30 days. Usually, I did far more than 50K.

I took a big break from Nano for quite a few years, because it interfered with my contracted work. This year, I’m doing what I call “Tandem Nano”, which means I’m working on two projects — a Rebel Nano, where I’m continuing a book on which I have a good rhythm, and a mystery for “Classic Nano.”

In some ways, I found the second year easier than the first year. I was warned about “sophomore slump”, but, although some days were more difficult than others, the second year flowed better.

Part of that is where I stood in my writing life. During the first year, I WANTED writing to be the priority of my life. The second year it WAS. I was further along in my transition from dual careers into writing full time. That’s bound to help Nano.

Part of it how I structured my preparation for Year 2.

In Year 1, I got my idea in summer – July or August. I outlined it in a frenzy, did the historical research, and then didn’t look at it for a couple of months until Nano started. Although I liked the idea, I was in the midst of other projects, and it was hard to make it a priority.

In Year 2, I got my idea in September. And I worked on it every day until Nano began, even just a few minutes reviewing notes, to make sure it was fresh and exciting to me on Day 1.

In Year 3, I played with three ideas during the month of September. One idea was a comic mystery, with whose premise I’ve played for several years. Then, in The Muse Online Workshops (where I both attended and presented), I developed material for two new novels. One of them grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. I did a scene-by-scene outline, and that’s the one I decided to pursue for Nano.

In Year 4, I knew I wanted to write a mystery, so I took classes in mystery writing to prepare.

In Year 1, I set my quota, but there were days where I went far beyond it, writing myself into exhaustion. And then, I could barely squeeze out the words the next day. I forced myself to do it until I hit 50K, then only did 2 or 3K additional until the end of the month, and only sporadically worked on it after that. I realized that it was really two books, and it is being restructured and re-envisioned.

In Year 2, I set my quota – 2500 words/day. If I wanted to go beyond that, I only allowed myself to do so if it meant finishing a chapter. And then I MADE myself stop, and work on other things. Novel #2 was rewritten over a period of five years beyond that Nano, and eventually published by Champangne Books as the romantic suspense novel ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT under the Annabel Aidan name.

In Year 3, I planned to use the same quota system as Year 2.

I found it frustrating in a different way, but I didn’t feel the exhaustion and despair I often felt in Year 1. By the end Year 1, even though I hit the 50K goal, I never wanted to do Nano again.

Part of the reason I did it in Year 2 (in addition to wanting to socialize more with other participants) is that I wanted to see if I could create a different experience. Which is weird, because in Year 1, I tried to “make” certain things happen and was disappointed. In Year 2, I “let” them happen, even though I was consciously trying to create a different experience, and it worked.

For Year 3, I took a more business-like approach. I want the writing to be a playground, but I’m setting up a structure to allow me freedom within the next structure. I wrote a combination fantasy/sci-fi book. Over the years, it’s had substantial rewrites, grown into a trilogy, and the first book is out on submission.

In Year 4, I kept up a steady pace. However, my grandmother was dying, and I had to go back and forth to Maine frequently. When the draft was finished, I put it away and could not look at it for several years, associating it with my grandmother’s death. It’s only recently I’ve been able to pull it out and look at its potential.

This year, for Tandem Nano, the goal is 1000 words a day as a rebel and 2000-2500 words a day on the “Classic Nano” mystery.

For the year-long novel-writing class I taught, everyone was required to write a minimum of 1000 words/day or 7000 words per week. We had a month of planning, four months to write the first draft. Then we put it aside for two months while we worked on short stories and our second novel. We continued writing a minimum of 500 words/day on the second novel, once we started the intensive revision process – eight weeks for the first revision, a manuscript swap, and then four weeks for the next revision. Some novels were close to submission-ready by then; others needed more drafts. Each novel is different. But if you don’t have a first draft, you have nothing to revise.

The more you plan, the more steadily you show up at the page, the more you accomplish.

Come Write In! at the Marstons Mills Public Library, 2160 Main St., Marstons Mills.
Tuesdays 11-1 and Thursdays 2-4 during November.

Published in: on November 16, 2015 at 5:36 am  Comments Off on Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 16: Comparison/Contrast Between Experiences  

Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 15: Week 3/Half-Way Point

Welcome to the start of Week 3!

The third week is both more difficult and easier than the previous two.

Hopefully, you’re far enough into your story so that you’re getting out of your own way.

However, there are two more types of resistance you may face this week:

If you’re on count, you’ll be tempted to take time off because you’re ahead of yourself. Don’t fall into this trap. Keep on pace. You can ease up once you’ve finished your draft.

If you’re behind, you’re likely to say to yourself, “I’ll never make it anyway, so why bother?” Don’t fall into this trap, either. Simply do as much as you can. Every word is a word more than you had before. Eventually, the words all add up.

What if you’ve hit this point and you truly hate what you’ve written? To the point where you can’t continue?

Create a temporary ending – write a scene to end the piece. Start the next piece as soon as you type the last period on this one. Put this piece aside for a few months and then reassess. Even a temporary/false ending is better than leaving something unfinished. Unfinished projects drain creative energy.

The point of all of this is to keep writing.

This is where I hit the point where I resent every minute I spent away from the manuscript. Real life is nothing more than an annoyance.

Until I sit down at the computer. Then, I have trouble again. I almost skipped today, because I was ahead of my goal. But I didn’t. Because every time you skip a day, or a series of days (which is different than a conscious day off), it’s harder to get back to it. That’s why so many professional writers emphasize the importance of writing every day. This doesn’t mean you can never have a day off. It just means approaching the work each day as you would any professional job. Scheduling the time and meeting the page, whether you feel like it or not.

Pat of this journey is finding out where writing sits in your life, and then restructuring things around it, if appropriate.

Happy Third Week!

Hopefully, you’re at 25K by today!

Come Write In! at Marstons Mills Public Library, 2160 Main Street, Marstons Mills
Tuesdays 11-1, Thursdays 2-4 during November.

Published in: on November 15, 2015 at 5:52 am  Comments Off on Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 15: Week 3/Half-Way Point  

Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 14: Priorities/Reality Check

A few years ago, when I still worked on Broadway, the first week I started a new book, a colleague of mine at the theatre was diagnosed with liver cancer and given two weeks to live. He died during my second week of the book. I found out right after I finished my Nano pages for the day. He was only 48, and the theatre is a dimmer place without him. Another year, I was frantically trying to finish a novel as my grandmother was dying. Yet another year, I was in the middle of a book and of teaching commitments and had to pack up 38 years’ worth of my family history to move to another state.

It was hard, and there were times when I thought I would shatter, but I kept writing.

When mortality slaps you in the face, you reassess. You have to figure out what your priorities are, and what you need to do to keep them in the forefront.

Writing is my priority, and, therefore, I plan my life to support the writing, not the other way around. If it doesn’t add to my life in a way that makes me a better writer, and allows me to use my best energy of the day for writing, it’s eliminated.

There will be times when you have to put the writing aside to deal with a life issue. Make sure it’s a choice, and you don’t just let it slide. There will be times when life is tough, and yet, if you drop into the work for a few hours, it will give you the energy you need to handle the stress of the rest of the day.

Every person must answer the question for himself, and sometimes, over the course of time, the answer changes. But knowing how important the work is to you helps you get it done.

Some days start rough, but then flow. At the end of the chapter, I was ready to go on.

Happy writing! And even if you’re behind where you think you should be, don’t get discouraged. Just do as much as you can. Every day.

Come Write In! at Marstons Mills Public Library, 2160 Main St., Marstons Mills
Tuesdays 11-1, Thursdays 2-4 during November.

Published in: on November 14, 2015 at 5:48 am  Comments Off on Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 14: Priorities/Reality Check  

Fri. Nov. 13, 2015: Sad News and Rebel 2 Writing

Friday, Nov. 13, 2015
Waxing Moon
Sunny and windy

Busy day yesterday. We had computer issues at work, which put us in a muddle all day, and limited what we could do. We did a lot of work on the tree.

When the computers finally came back up, we were short-handed, I was trying to catch up, and it was a challenge. But we got a good bit done. I couldn’t get anything catalogued, though; even though the circ computers worked, I couldn’t get Sierra up on my computer to receive books. I couldn’t commandeer a circ computer, because it was busy and they needed them.

I got some sad news in the afternoon – a colleague at the Marine Life Center unexpectedly passed away overnight. He’d just been at the Board meeting on Monday. It’s a shock. We’re all reeling. He was committed, dedicated, funny, and kind, and will be very, very missed.

I was exhausted by the time I got home. Dinner, reading. A novel that was highly recommended, but didn’t do it for me, and another one where the heroine is supposed to be goofy and sweet, but is, in reality, an idiot. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a mystery, so I couldn’t even hope she’d be the next victim.

Overslept this morning, but managed a thousand words, on an outline for the piece that’s been niggling at me. Still, I wrote, so it’s going into Nano total as “Rebel 2”.

Weary and sad. The weekend will be busy, hopefully good busy. I need to run errands and do yard work and write.

I’m getting into my Nano Week 3 head a little early, where I resent anything that takes time from my writing. Oh, wait, I usually do that anyway. 😉

Have a great weekend.

Devon

Published in: on November 13, 2015 at 9:40 am  Comments (1)  
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Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 13: Working Beyond the Month

I write the 1000 words/day on what I call my “Primary Project” – the piece that needs the bulk of my attention – each morning before I start my day.

If it’s flowing well, I’ll keep going until I’m written out for the day. If it’s a struggle, I’ll stop at 1000 –but I’ve met my goal for the day.

If I have to be somewhere at a certain time, I get up a little earlier to make my quota. If it’s a tough day and I don’t, then I add in another writing session at night. Even if I’m tired. So I’m tired? So what?

We all write for different reasons. This is my life’s work, my vocation as well as my passion – so I need to develop techniques to get the work done even on the bad days.

There’s nothing wrong with being an occasional writer. You’ll have a different type of career then, that’s all. There’s nothing wrong with not having this as your career. But, if you want it badly, the way I do, you make it happen, you don’t wait for it to happen

What is your goal for your work outside this month?

What are you learning about yourself and your process?

These are important questions, and the answers can carry you far beyond the days in this month. The answers may change throughout your writing life, and that’s okay, too, but you need to re-ask them every time you sit down to write a book.

Is this book worth the next X months of my life?

Only you have the answer.

Come Write in! at Marstons Mills Public Library, 2160 Main St., Marstons Mills.
Tuesdays 11-1, Thursdays 2-4 during November.

Published in: on November 13, 2015 at 5:45 am  Comments Off on Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 13: Working Beyond the Month  

Thurs. Nov. 12, 2015: Why, Yes, Writers DO Write

Thursday, November 12, 2015
Waxing Moon
Rainy and cool

The Energy Vampires are out. This always happens during Nano — those who like the idea of writing better than the actual writing. They love to talk about it, to pontificate about how one should or shouldn’t write, but they don’t actually get any words on paper. They’re always around, but during Nano, when hundreds of thousands of people are attempting to write in company — they can really feed.

I have very little to do on the forums this year because there are so many energy vampires. Hey, we all run into obstacles. I’m happy to help however I can. However, if you’re not going to show up to the page and do the work, there’s nothing I can do for you. Not only that, I’m not willing to spend time placating you when I could be putting that time and energy into my own writing. You want support? Earn it.

There’s also an article being passed around Facebook about what writers — I’m not sure if it’s “should” or “need” to stop saying, with the top one being “Writers write.” Well, of course “writers write” you dumbass, or nothing would ever GET WRITTEN. It’s another one of those pseudo-self-help pieces meant to placate wanna-bes, giving them a list of excuses for not writing.

In truth, there are no excuses. You choose to write. You choose not to write. If you choose not to write on enough successive days, weeks, months, years, you’re not a writer. I’m not an astronaut because I’d like to fly to the moon. I haven’t earned the right to call myself an astronaut. I don’t DO it. Writing is one of the few professions where wanna-bes can sit around with their thumbs up their asses making excuses for not doing it and still identify themselves as a member of the profession. Um, no.

I USED to work on Broadway. As a dresser. I no longer do that. Therefore, I am no longer a dresser. I WAS a dresser, I had a great career. But I am no longer a member of that profession.

Speaking of Broadway, that’s another one — people hear I worked on Broadway and say, “Oh, I want to work on Broadway one day.”

Actually, you don’t. If you did, if you even had any clue as to how much work it takes, you’d run screaming. Because if you REALLY WANTED it, you’d spend every free minute working in theatre. You would only accept part-time jobs with flexible hours that allow you to remain in theatre. You’d get enough regional credits under your belt and hone your craft so you could move to New York, start off-off Broadway, work your way up to off-Broadway, and maybe, just maybe, if you worked hard enough AND were good enough, you’d make it to Broadway.

You’re not willing to do that? You’re not willing to work nights, weekends, holidays, give up family events? You only want to work when it’s convenient? It won’t happen.

Same with writing. You need art. You need craft. You need work ethic. You need commitment.

I take tango lessons. I go to practicas and millings when I can. Tango is something I enjoy. It is a hobby. I am not a tango dancer. I dance when I can, and I’m learning — but I’m not a tango dancer. If and when I give up other things and commit to tango to the exclusion of other things and get my skills up to par, I will have the right to call myself a tango dancer. Right now, I don’t. It’s something I do on occasion, because I enjoy it. It’s not something I am.

We are more than our professions, of course. One hopes each of us is a unique, complex individual. But if we’re going to identify with a particular art or craft, we have to earn our way into it.

The ironic thing is that these articles to make wanna-be writers feel better about not writing is that SOMEONE WROTE THEM. If that someone is smart, that someone got paid. Right there it negates that we need to stop saying “writers write.” Obviously they do, or there wouldn’t be anything to read, not even a cereal box. Some of these writers even get paid for it. Some of these writers even participate in an entire, money-making industry to KEEP YOU FROM WRITING. They provide you lists of excuses and soothe you when you don’t wanna.

Can you think of any profession where you’d succeed if you only showed up and worked when you felt like it or it was convenient?

Show up and earn your way in, no matter what “it” is.

It’s also ridiculous that writers who write should even need to defend the fact that they participate in their profession, like professionals, to those who don’t.

Honestly, I can’t really remember last weekend. It seems very far away. I know I wrote a lot on Saturday and ran some errands. Sunday, I was up ridiculously early to pick up ornaments for the NMLC tree and finish putting the hardware on the gold starfish. I wrote a little, but not as much as I wanted to. Baked a lot.

I read a lot. Some of it was disappointing, mysteries where the protagonist is an idiot (not “goofily endearing”, but an idiot), and I kept hoping she’d be the next victim. Other pieces were very good.

Renee Rosen’s WHITE COLLAR GIRL is good. It takes place in Chicago in the 1950s. My parents lived there at that time — I had my mom read it, too, and she remembered some of the events in the book.

Board meeting early at NMLC, and then off to Plymouth to meet a friend from theatre days in New York who I haven’t seen since I left. It was great to catch up with her and maintain the friendship.

I’d gotten up at 4:30 that morning, to make sure I got some writing in.

Up early on Tuesday. Wrote on the classic project. Then went to the library for the Come Write In, but I was the only one there. Did about 1K on the rebel project, came home, and went to Spectacle of Trees meeting.

Came home and did some research.

Two more characters are yapping at me. Their story is interesting, so I might do a rough outline and see how I can fit it in.

I created a rough outline of deadlines, putting on paper what’s due when and what stage I need to be on various projects when. It’s realistic, but slower than I’d like. But that’s life. At least Nano’s gotten me into a better daily writing rhythm, although I still feel like I’m pushing too hard.

Woke up sick on Wednesday. Was going to take the entire day off writing, but by the afternoon, it hurt more not to write than to write, so I wrote, a whole chapter, just over 3K. On the classic.

I didn’t go to the Write In session, because I don’t want anyone to get sick.

I’m better this morning. I wrote just over 1200 words on the Classic this morning. Ideas are spinning in my head for the rebel, so I will try to do some tonight at home.

Will have a long day at work both today and tomorrow, and a busy weekend.

Two weeks from today is Thanksgiving. I can’t believe it!

Enjoy,

Devon

Published in: on November 12, 2015 at 10:13 am  Comments (2)  
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Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 12: Stuck

I didn’t want to today.

I did not want to get my butt in that chair and work on my novel.

I slept in. I barely had enough coffee to make one big Nano-cup. I was still full of yesterday’s playfulness (and the 52 books I bought at the second hand bookstore).

I didn’t want to.

The first 113 words were such a slog, I thought I was going to have to sit there until midnight.

And then, pushing on, it got easier and easier.

In the book mentioned in yesterday’s post (from a previous nano), there was the argument I left the characters in yesterday to resolve, the tension to rise between them, the attraction rising, and then an action scene with an attacker. So there was plenty to do.

Today, I set up for a bit of B-line story in the next chapter or two.

The bulk of the action of the novel takes place over the course of three days. So my characters have a very long night ahead of them.

The point of this little piece is that there’s plenty of resistance to sitting down and doing the work. But once you get through the first couple of hundred words, you re-enter the world of your story, and it gets easier.

So, on the days when you don’t want to, do it anyway.

On the days when the first hundred words seem to take a hundred hours, keep going.

And you’ll get there.

If you feel like you’re stuck, throw them a curve ball. Have something happen to them, have a character come in, one who doesn’t seem like it has anything to do with anything. And see how the characters respond. That will give you a lot of information, even if you end up cutting the scene in future drafts.

You’re not going for publication in this draft. You’re learning about your story and your theme. You’ll go back and polish in the drafts – and there will be more than one – you do when you’re done with this one.

Come Write In! at the Marstons Mills Public Library, 2160 Main Street, Marstons Mills.
Tuesdays 11-1 and Thursdays 2-4 during November.

Published in: on November 12, 2015 at 5:39 am  Comments Off on Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 12: Stuck