Thursday, November 10, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011 - Day 10

"First, you get the idea. It may germinate for a long time or it just pops into your head. And then you work out a structure. And when you feel confident enough, you start to write. And you have to allow yourself the liberty of writing poorly. You have to get the bulk of it done, and then you start to refine it. You have to put down less than marvelous material just to keep going to whatever you think the end is going to be -- which may be something else altogether by the time you get there."
-Larry Gelbart
Anyone feeling the SQUEEZE yet?

Well, here we are. If you've done your writing for the day, and you're on track with the word counts, we are exactly one third of the way done with NaNoWriMo.

Even if you haven't done all those things, we're still one third of the way through the month of November, which is almost basically the same thing.

This is, most likely, where you're going to encounter your first real instance of "writer's block."

You've been at it for about 10 days now. It was fun for that first week or so, yeah. I mean, the first day was great, right?

Maybe you've even kept up this long, plugging away day after day. Maybe you're a bit behind, but you're planning to catch up!

Either way, you've likely produced more fiction in a concentrated period of time than ever before. I know I have. I'm going through this thing breaking all my speed records.

Yet, despite the seemingly enormous amount you've written thus far, you're likely realizing that this thing is only beginning. We're only one-third of the way through the month, people!


It's easy to get burnt out at this point. To decide that you could never possibly produce enough words, conceive enough scenarios, or connect enough plot to fill the rest of the month.

And what's the harm in stopping now, right? I mean, you've written more in the past ten days than you've managed to produce in the past ten weeks, or more! That's a huge accomplishment!


True. But to quit now would be letting all that beautiful momentum -- the true thing that we've accomplished here so far this month -- go to waste.

This is a difficult time of the month for me, as I hope I've made clear above, for a number of reasons. All the talk of getting burnt out by writing page after page with no end in sight is all very true. I feel like I've put a lot of effort into this thing already, and yet I know I still have to do twice the amount of work I've already done in order to bring this thing to its conclusion. That tires me.

This isn't helped by the fact that I'm coming up on a dense week for schoolwork. I've got two papers and a test due, and preparing those three things is going to take a lot of mental energy from me -- energy that I'll need to continue producing words for NaNo.

On top of that, Thanksgiving is fast approaching (I know it seems like it can't get here soon enough for some of you, but for me it looms like a train of death hurtling toward me on its implacable tracks [I've been writing, can you tell?]) It requires ten times the amount of discipline for me to write at home as it does for me to write here at school. I could go into my theories as to why this is, but it's a fact that I have yet to solve. So returning home for Thanksgiving, while a wonderful occasion that I look forward to every year, is also a major death trap for my writing. If I don't have enough written by then, I could fall so far behind that I'll never have a chance to catch back up.

These things scare me. They intimidate me. They wear me down.

But I can't let them stop me. And neither should you.

I'm slogging through the middle now, as I mentioned a few days ago. It's slow going, mentally. I look forward to my writing time with apprehension each day, wondering if I'll be able to muster up a scenario that will both advance the plot and be entertaining to read. Each day that I sit down at my computer, I doubt myself. I don't think that I can manage it.

Yet, once I set that timer, and actually force myself to write, the words come. Often haltingly at first. Sometimes painfully, even, as my inner critic denounces every stroke of the keys. But they still come, and they often come more swiftly as the hour wears on. Soon, I'm finished, and I look back to find a seemingly coherent sequence of events staring up at me from the page.

"Huh," I often think, "Where did that come from?"

Until next time...
-josh k.

(Sorry this one sounded like a pep talk. I kind of needed it today. Hope it helped, in some small way.)

(Also, don't forget that you can read along with my progress by following the links on the "Writings" page above.)

NaNoWriMo 2011 Progress
Today: 2,464/1,666 words.
So far: 19,323/16,666 words.
Total: 19,323/50,000 words.

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