I pretty much have been writing on the novel every day this month, certainly thinking about it on the couple or three days when I didn’t write. I am not normally the slow and steady writer. I love research probably more than I love story-telling. I love the adventures which research leads me on. I love learning new facts, hearing new stories of people, and visiting new places. But I like to do it in my own, unstructured time, not in this 30-day race “to be a NaNoWriMo Winner!”
I feel like I’ve been cramming the night before for a test. My trouble with cramming for tests is that I tended to let those facts become lost somewhere in my brain, or else leak out in my sleep. I blame the non-retention on short-term memory, or perhaps it’s rather a lack of concern of retaining facts only needed for a couple days of a semester. I crammed so I could produce the appropriate test grade so I could move on to my goal of graduation with a career. My goal of NaNoWriMo is to cram, to seriously spend time on a story. I realize I will later go back and either delete or seriously rewrite everything I’ve written this month for NaNoWriMo, for I want to retain this stuff. My goal is not just 50,000 words in one month. My goal is a well-researched, well-plotted, well-written book, with good-characters and a contract. This is just a forced writing chunk of time, with thousands others worldwide participating.
There are two times when I encourage writers not to write, or rather to postpone their writing: 1) when money is needed to survive; and 2) when family needs are crying out. Money, I can do with little of, but family always tops writing. It’s my steadfast rule.
Today is day 20 of NaNoWriMo. If I were the tortoise, writing a steady 1,667 words each day, I should be on word-count 33,340. I am on 28,839. Although there are some people who have made their 50,000 word NaNoWriMo goal already, I can’t imagine they’ve done anything else but write. I also say, good for them for making their goal. What I figure is that if someone wrote 1,000 words this month, that is 1,000 more words than they had before.
Lots of normal non-writing commitments have gone one this month, and lots of minor incidents. There are also the major incidents. Earlier this month my father had a heart attack. I went to visit him for three days, a four-hour drive each way, worrying and wondering and calling every day since. Now, next week, there are four days of Thanksgiving with a son and his wife coming in. That was expected, and I still have much preparation to do before their arrival. We see them so rarely, and I love them so dearly. Every moment, every second we have the chance to be together (and this goes equally for our other son), I cherish far more than anything else which could be offered to me. I am fairly certain I will not be writing Thanksgiving weekend, and I am very okay with that.
I don’t want to sound defeatist, nor sound like I’m using family as an excuse for not being a winner. After all, I could have been spending this past hour writing on the WIP. In fact, there have been hours and hours this week in which I could have been writing when I was doing other things, like doing quick re-readings and re-writes on this blog. The “race” is not over until midnight on November 30. Back to some serious write-time on my NaNoWriMo novel.
Just write when you can, do your best, and hold your head high my friend. I’m coming down to the wire too. I think I am about 2/3 to 3/4 through the book and I have been telling God and EVERYONE that I am going to finish it this month! Spent two mornings this week speaking at two different schools. Felt like a celebrity when the kids whipped out their papers and asked for my autograph!