My wrangler is doing his job admirably, but I have run into a problem tonight. I wrote 130+ words, you see, and the last two of them were “The End.”
And then my brain stopped.
I finished 'Office Demons,' which is a great feeling. I've gone back through my other works in progress and I just haven't thought about any of them in so long — I don't know what happens next. In any of them. The one I want to tackle next is 'Red Carpet' but it's largely done except for the end, and the problem is that I don't know how it ends. I need time to think about it, to weigh possible endings against what's on the page already.
I went through some other stories that have been languishing for months or years, and came up against the same problem. I just don't know what happens next in any of them, and I'm not going to be able to figure it out tonight. So I thought maybe I'd try to start something new — but I don't have anything new, apart from my NaNovel. Nothing's really been perking upstairs, getting ready to be written. No sparks or new connections have been made in a little while now.
So tonight my word count falls short. And also I realize that I absolutely must have at least a rough outline for November, or I'll find myself in this exact spot, not knowing what happens next.
I'm going to let myself off the hook tonight, but tomorrow I've got to have something ready to bring to the table. Maybe it'll be 700 words of outline — who knows? But tonight I'll take my win and forgive the shortfall.
'Shortfall' sounds like the title of something, doesn't it?
(Was that a spark?)
It is really unbelievable to me how easy this is proving to be.
I'm sure I'll be eating those words shortly, but for now they are true, and they feel good. I just knocked out 535 words in less time than 400 took me last night, which I produced in less time than the previous 300, etc.
Beyond which, I'm one tiny denouement away from being done with 'Office Demons,' which is a story I started a year and a half ago, and it's high goddamn time. I believe that denouement to be something less than 600 words, which means that this story will be done tomorrow night.
I've already started going through my backlog to see what I should work on next. There are two possibilities that leap to mind.
I did a quick word count earlier and had to laugh at myself. I thought I was only 150 or so into tonight's assignment. Instead I'd already written 400. Why did I ever stop? Why did I let myself get so out of shape? I could have come so far, if only I didn't keep having these periods of giving up, of terminal distraction.
Well, that was then, and lesson learned (maybe.) But for now… tonight was easy. :)
That was Patrick, of course.
410 and it didn't even take me half an hour. It's coming back.
What I failed to do was stop in at FM tonight during my writing time. No bueno. Maybe I'll do that for a few minutes before I settle in for the night.
But this is just a note to document the fact that it's working, that I'm getting there, that I think I'll be ready when the time comes.
This seems to be working.
Just finished 316 new words and rearranged some of what I'd already written.
Credit where credit is due: my magnificent boyfriend-slash-writer-wrangler (also a writer himself) prompted me to get my words done.
I was rereading my late-summer entries today. I have clearly abandoned that whole early-riser thing. I'd like to get back to it, but that's going to take another kind of discipline and I think I'm only up for creating one new habit at a time. Right now I have to focus on getting the mind and fingers limber.
In Forward Motion tonight they were doing an Outline War. This will be the first NaNoWriMo I've done without one in some form. All I've got are some names, two locations, and five situations that all have to come together somehow. I have a few days yet, I may get more notes down before the grind begins, but then maybe it wouldn't kill me to just wing it for once. NaNo is about experimentation and freedom from the fear of writing crap. It's about the sheer joy of just producing, about making “big, messy art,” as Chris Baty put it.
I kind of feel like my life has been big, messy performance art for the past year-plus. Might be fun to see how that translates to the page.
Not a lot to say tonight, but wanted to document the fact that I made my goal of 200+ words, (207 to be precise.) Tomorrow will be 300. Patrick is committed to kicking my ass and keeping me on task.
Stopped in at Forward Motion for the first time in a while. I realized recently that it's been five years since I first found them. My kindergartner was just a baby. Seems like a lot of the same people are still there. All good folks, many of them also gearing up for NaNo. It will be good to write in company again.
Across the room Patrick is working on a blog entry of his own. Earlier we sat in what I call the Pointy Diner and ate grilled ham and cheese sandwiches that weren't on the menu and made notes on a functional art project we're collaborating on. Then we went to Home Depot to do some materials assessment. I used to call him every time I set foot in Home Depot. I couldn't even tell you why, really, except that it seemed appropriate to do so.
Life is beginning to shape up into something I recognize as being the one I've always wanted. It's not easy, but I don't value 'easy' as much as I once did. Relationships of any kind are not easy. Making ends meet is not easy. Producing a damn good Vernesque undersea patina on an Ikea lamp is far from easy. Writing a novel is, in fact, a real bitch.
But they say nothing worth doing is easy.
I think it's time to curl up with my boyfriend and a glass of wine and watch Heroes now.
Okay. So I was wrong. That will be very easy indeed, and worth a great deal.
So the thing about writing is that it takes discipline.
I haven't been writing much. Journaling here and there, but I haven't been generating any new fiction. NaNoWriMo is coming up in a matter of days, and in order to succeed I will have to write 1667 words per day, every day. I have done it before, but it's been a long time. At the time that I pulled it off I was writing every day anyway. 500 words a day, or 1000.
I just wrote 131 words of new fiction and I feel like I just ran a mile. The problem is that I'm going to have to run a marathon starting in two weeks.
So, it's time to start ramping up. Little by little, maybe, but I've got to start producing again. Today was just over 100 words — tomorrow can be 200. If I keep adding to it, by the time November 1 rolls around I'll be in shape and will have finally completed this short story I started a year and a half ago. It's humor, too, which is good because my NaNovel will be, also.
And in terms of inspiration… for those who missed this a few days ago, Neil Gaiman, on The Moment, and Wil Wheaton, on being inspired by Neil Fucking Gaiman. (Thank you, Patrick.) :)
Cory Doctorow and Ursula K Le Guin have had a bit of a dust-up, with Andrew Burt (of SWFA, Submitting to the Black Hole, and Critters fame) as a go-between.
Patrick and I had a conversation a couple of weeks ago about e-publishing, copyright, and Creative Commons licensing. I have a lot of proto-ideas and opinions, about how publishing works and could work differently; what it means to be a writer; what value I place on commercial use and financial gain; about the differences between netspace and meatspace, and in which one my work is most likely to find a life. I still have a lot of reading and thinking to do. This situation has given me more to think about.