A friend read my last blog post and came by to have it out with me over NaNoWriMo.
“It’s national novel writing month, not national novel writing three weeks!”
Well, yeah, but … I flipped him off because I didn’t have a response for that. Yeah, I’m a wordsmith. Worse, in our chat he reminded me of something else that I have to accomplish in November that I didn’t have on the scales of writing already: Christmas. I’m behind. Really behind. Uncharacteristically and unforgivably behind, and I can’t pass my behind-ness off on Hubby because one of the things I’m behind on is nagging him to get his own list taken care of. Just lovely.
One of the things I wrote in my last post was:
Fine, 2500/day. Will I have inspiration to help me? Yes actually. I’ve had this novel seething in the back of my mind while I dealt with other things. My fingers are twitching to get it finished. Inspiration makes words flow. I’d feel better if I had a more solid ending in mind. Right now it’s a vague concept and I’m not comfortable with that. It won’t be a problem though.
I know how a write, even when I outline I’m a pantser. My characters look over the nice, neat outline I set forth and laugh. Then they go do their own thing. It’s incredibly frustrating. The ending will come into focus when my characters get closer to it. And I haven’t missed NaNoWriMo since I took up writing again. Yes, Christmas will be an issue, I have a lot to do this month, deadlines are looming, and starting this late just adds to the pressure.
Pressure? I can do this. There’s nothing like talking myself into ‘I can’t do this’ to make me need to do it.
Decision made on Saturday, I focused on getting as much done on Sunday as I could before my ‘deadline.’ Sounds logical, right? It’s suspiciously close to planning, and life chose Monday morning to remind me I’m a pantser, not a planner.
What happened? My own personal Drama Princess, again. Oddly, last year at this time we had almost exactly the same problem: sitting in the emergency room when obviously we’d rather she was in school. Then spending hours the next day visiting a doctor while he scratched his head and shrugged. The good news: she’ll be okay and able to throw a curve ball at me again next year. The bad news: I can anticipate her being whiny off and on for another week.
Darth Jingles is caught inside by ‘fluffy rain’ which others might know as ‘frozen mix’ so that should be a source of comfort for The Girl. And it is, off and on. Jingles gives her loves, then wanders off in search of somewhere she can sleep without having to listen to Adventure Time in the background. I totally empathize with her. I love my cat and won’t subject her to that nonsense even if it does sooth The Girl. Okay, I won’t subject her to it often of for very long. Not all day.
Needless to say, no NaNoWriMo this year. Last year I was ahead when disaster struck, and was able to bounce back from falling behind. This year I’m already behind by too much to make a ‘comeback’ anything less than determined misery. I’m not willing to do that to myself, I don’t have anything to prove.
I will cheer everyone else on, however. As of today, November 12th, you should be almost half-done. In word count that’s easy to quantify, but on your story? That’s quite a bit harder. And you may be nowhere near half done on your story, the total length may (probably will) exceed 50k. The target length depends on genre and your plans for the piece. That makes it difficult to gage your progress, and makes word count nearly useless (with the exception of NaNoWriMo.)
So how do you know if you’re doing well? Is your plot established by now? Not your resolution, but the conflict should be exposed and your characters should have goals. How far they’ve gone to achieve those goals will vary, but they should still be working on them. The end doesn’t need to be in sight yet, so don’t fret about that. In fact, the climax doesn’t even need to be in the near future. Maybe I need to have a chat about balancing your story. Hmm. Next time. For now, keep writing.