Friday, November 1, 2013

Writing Away November



NaNoWriMo 2013 | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
My bifocals and my keyboard will be my
dearest, closest friends during November.


11/30: I cannot believe I pulled it off! And the story wrapped up beautifully. I am so excited!! I cannot wait to dig into editing. One of my resolutions for 2014 will be to get it in front of agents. Wow! What an amazing feeling.

11/23: Yes, I've fallen behind. But I will catch up. I have not written tens of thousands of words since November 1 just to give up now. My characters deserve better. I will keep going.

11/12: Today, I broke 25,000! I'm halfway to reaching the NaNo goal. What a great feeling. The story line is shaping up nicely, my characters are coming alive in ways I never expected, and to top it all off, it snowed in North Carolina tonight. I was not sure I'd make it to that halfway mark today, because I not only wrote, edited, and submitted my column this morning, I also published a new blog post this afternoon. Typically, I run out of writing steam after I submit a column. Maybe the discipline of writing an average of 2000 words specifically for NaNo has had a positive overall effect. Maybe my muse is as charged as I am. Maybe the cold air and fluffy, white flakes provided a boost of motivation. Whatever the reason, I'm now officially halfway there! HAPPY DANCE :D

11/7: I surpassed my old high-score, if you will. The closest I have come to realizing a word count of 50,000 was 15,000 words. Today, I hit over 16,000. Here's what I've learned about my personality as a writer thus far:
     * I have to write in Times New Roman 12pt font and my document must be double spaced, otherwise I become too distracted to write. I believe this quirk derives from 14 years of weekly column-writing, and three children's book manuscripts, completed in that format.
     * While I am more creative in the early hours of the day, I can write any time of day. I'm not as productive at 8 p.m., but as long as I pull out my laptop and write, I will accomplish something, and that in itself helps keep my momentum going strong.
     * I will not be able to write as much for NaNoWriMo on the days I have to write or edit my weekly column. I shouldn't expect to be able to write as much on those days. I don't have to write as much on those days. I've actually nearly convinced myself...
     * I can write a novel. I always knew I had the potential, but the way my NaNoWriMo 2013 story is developing and the process I'm experiencing as a result has me convinced writing novels is something that I can and will do.
     * I now completely understand why authors become emotionally attached to their characters. Characters do have a life of their own; they are entities. Being the conduit that releases them from imagination to the written word, giving them meaning and credence, is humbling, cathartic, and mystical.
     * I don't think my novel will be done when I hit the 50,000 mark. My new goal is to finish the novel, regardless of the final word count. However, my sub-goal is to reach 50,000 by November 30.
     * I am actually looking forward to the editing process, which I plan to do after I complete the first draft of the entire novel. And while it was hard at first, I'm finally at a point where I can let the editing go for now for the sake of moving the story forward. It's what my characters, especially Amelia, would want.

11/3: I woke up this morning worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up the momentum. But I began writing in the morning again. Morning has always been the most productive time of day for me. It's also when I'm most creative. Getting up, hitting my personal word count goal for the day, then starting the usual stuff--cooking, cleaning, shopping, hanging out with family and friends--is definitely working for me. I'm not getting the same level of chores completed as I was able to accomplish before NaNoWriMo, but that's okay, because I am fine with using NaNoWriMo as an excuse. And, on day three, I'm thrilled to have churned out another 2565 words in my novel which, at this point, is beginning to take on a life of its own. This year, for this project, I went somewhere different for inspiration, because I honestly had no idea what I was going to write about on October 31. Then it came to me. My great grandfather was an artist. Several of his paintings hang in our home. I decided to gaze into one of them and draw my inspiration from it. So far, I've been more inspired to write than I've ever felt in my life. What was your inspiration for NaNoWriMo 2013?

11/2: Just added my widget, above, so my word count will be automatically updated on this blog. I've accomplished 5018 words and 17 pages thus far. I just wrapped up chapter two, so I'll begin with chapter three, and word number 5019, tomorrow. I feel great about this strong start this year and hope to be able to keep up the pace and hit that 50,000 work mark by the 30th. I'm also happy with my characters and story line. This novel is truly taking on a life of its own. Also, I'm thrilled about adding Hubby as a buddy on the NaNoWriMo site. I was ahead of him on word count last night, then he surpassed me this morning. I currently have a higher word count, but I doubt he is finished for the day. Let the household competition begin!

***

As if the holiday season doesn't zip by fast enough, I've decided to participate in another time-consuming activity above and beyond the chaos indicative of the last two months of the year. I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo2013 as it affectionately shows up in social media hashtags.

This isn't my first go at the 50,000-word writing challenge. I attempted it in 2005, at which time I was able to crank out about 4,000 words. In 2008, I made another attempt. But by December 1 of that year, I had only 15,000 words--a great improvement over 2005, but still far short of the NaNoWriMo goal. In my defense, all my children were still at home and I was still employed full time. Not that either of those excuses should inhibit others from participating. People with far busier schedules than mine meet and exceed the NaNoWriMo goal every November.

This year, however, with only one child still living at home full time and no other jobs outside of writing, I decided to officially track my progress and be more diligent about keeping up the pace. It is possible to write 1,667 words a day and still participate in life. All it takes is willful determination and prioritization. The fact that we no longer subscribe to cable television will help me greatly in efforts to prioritize my writing this month.

Tech and science geeks have their Comic Cons. Theatre geeks have their summer musicals. Athletes have their triathlons. Those of us who write have NaNoWriMo. Therefore, in addition to logging word counts and other updates on the NaNoWriMo site and participating in local NaNoWriMo activities, I will update this post on my blog. We are midway through day one and I've already written 2112 words. And just so we are clear, the word counts I will be reporting toward the 50,000-word goal are in addition to my column writing, blogging, and any other writing on my plate. I am only counting words written for the novel I began this morning for the purpose of participating in the 2013 NaNoWriMo event.

It is November. It is time to release the novel within.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at) gmail.com
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