December 13, 2011

So, that happened

Hard to believe it's halfway through December already. Happy Holidays, y'all! November was a wordy, wordy month, as I raged against the arbitrary and unyielding demands of NaNoWriMo. I won! Weird, huh?

But "winning" came at a price, a slump that I've been trying these two weeks to recover from. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days was a major challenge and accomplishment for me, and it felt great for about a day or two. After that I started to feel twitchy; it was hard to realize that I didn't have to spend all day struggling with words, and I wasn't sure what I should be doing with my time.

Even if I'd wanted to, I couldn't keep writing for words. Because of NaNoWriMo's frenzied pace I'd already written a lot of things that probably have to get cut in revision. When word count is the ultimate goal, writing can suffer. In my case, I'd only outlined half (maybe less) of the novel before the month began. When I should have taken the time to do more outlining, I felt like I would get behind. So instead I rushed ahead blindly, down what may have been a dead end. I'm trying not to think about that now (just finish!).

Then came the saddest realization of all: the novel, the thing I'd been killing myself all month to make, was only about halfway done being drafted. Yes, I'd written 50K words, but the novel needed that much again in order to be done, and I knew it would take me much longer to write the second half--by definition it would, since the first half was the fastest writing I've ever done in my life. I felt like I'd just run a marathon and still had 26 miles to go. After all that work, looking at the long road ahead made me want to lie down and sleep.

In other words, I am a dope who apparently needs external motivation in order to work productively. So here goes: now that I've finished a rough outline, I'm going to commit myself to writing 1,000 words per day until the novel is drafted.

Starting tomorrow.

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