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Month: November 2009

Congratulations NaNoWriMo Winners and Participants! \m/

Congratulations NaNoWriMo Winners and Participants! \m/

National Novel Writing Month is over in most of the world. I finished last night around 9:00 p.m., after pushing over the holiday weekend like I have never pushed before. I was way behind going into the weekend, but I managed to hammer out 22,000 words in four days and finish with a day to spare. The question some may be asking is: why?


It’s a reasonable question. The 50,048 words that I wrote over the past month aren’t even a complete draft. I’ve got about 30,000 more to write before I’ll have that, and a lot of research to do. At the end of *that*, I’ll have a first draft. So why was it so important to do 50k in November, specifically? A few reasons:

1. I said I would, the corollary to which is:
2. I’ve said I would for the past two years and didn’t, and I really wanted to avoid another failure. I am sick to the gills of failure right about now.*
3. I wanted to reestablish the habit of writing a substantial amount every day;
4. I wanted to get comfortable pushing myself to do hard things in the pursuit of a goal;
5. I really wanted to write this story, and 50,000 words of new fiction is a damn fine start.

I think it was a resounding success. Writing a thousand words now feels like writing a hundred did at the beginning of the month. I had to really force myself forward at times, and at other times entire scenes that hadn’t even existed in my head before I started typing just flowed onto the page. It was a great experience, but a difficult one — it was supposed to be difficult, though.

I actually came to work after I finished, because I had work to do this weekend that I hadn’t done because I was noveling, and I figured there were still some available hours before business opened on the East Coast. I got here and discovered that the server I need is down. The first thing I thought was ‘I should work on the novel.’

But I’m not going to, not today. Today I am going to Take Off to relax, celebrate by reading the end of The Windup Girl, maybe play a video game, and get my sleep schedule back on track. Then on Tuesday priorities change, and it all becomes about Clarion.

Congratulations to the NaNoWriMo winners, and to the participants who didn’t get as far as they’d hoped, but got much farther than they would have if they hadn’t tried at all.

* I am acutely aware that I am not done failing, but lots of failure is much more palatable when accompanied by a smattering of Win.

You have become 1 better at Writing.*

You have become 1 better at Writing.*

John of recently equated word count to XP (that’d be eXperience Points in gaming parlance, not the Microsoft product.) I loved the idea of writing as part of a game, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Personally I’m still kind of fixated on time as a measure of progress – not time dicking around on Facebook when I’m supposed to be writing, of course, but the actual time I spend working on a story in some capacity.

So what if your max XP was ten thousand hours. What’s the level cap? Let’s say it’s 20. That’s 500 hours per level.

I wonder what level I am, how many hours I’ve put in over the past seven years.

Today I went over all of the projects that are on my mind right now, the things I am doing and want to do in the next few months. I decided to do work estimates on them, just for kicks, to see how many hours it would take to get them done, but also to see how many hours I’d get out of it toward that goal of ten thousand.

I came up with about 225 hours.

The sheer number of them was a little overwhelming and I needed to prioritize them.That was hard, until I started looking at them in terms of what part of ‘my writing’ they affect. I came up with categories, and then it all fell into place. Here is the result:

(A larger, more legible version can be found here.)

Those categories are New, Public, Career, and Commitments. The Commitments column is for my volunteer stuff. I have three different organizations I do stuff for now. I never know when it’s coming or how much time it will take until it’s been assigned, but once it’s been assigned it always takes priority.

So what with the day job, kids, social life, and sleep, I think I will probably need until March to finish all of that.

I also plugged everything into Klok, and made sub-projects out of each of the things that need to happen before I can call any one of my index cards ‘complete.’ If this all seems like making too much work out of it, I can assure you, this isn’t work, it’s fun. I need to see progress, because I don’t feel it. All around me my writing friends are succeeding in ways that I am not – that’s just part of the deal, and I don’t begrudge them a moment of it, but I need a way to keep myself buoyed on the hard days, because the hard days come.

I figure if I get to ten thousand hours and still haven’t sold anything, then I can give up. Fortunately that is a long way away.

*This was the old EverQuest verbiage whenever you gained a level in a skill. Not quite the same thing as leveling your character, but the wording always amused me. I am seriously considering adding an XP bar at the bottom of the cork board. Everything up there doesn’t quite gain me half a level. :)

Much better.

Much better.


Still not caught up, but today I did pretty much nothing but sit in bed with the laptop and produce 6,956 words, and I feel pretty damned good about it.

How’s your progress?

NaNoWriMo progress: a visual aid

NaNoWriMo progress: a visual aid


Yeah. Not doing well so far.

I had a bit of a reversal at the beginning. For the past few months I had been determined to write Sirens this month, and had even worked on a treatment for it to help me through. Then at WFC someone suggested something that I thought was completely brilliant, and I decided to do that instead. So November 1 was spent on that Other Idea, which I quickly realized had historical elements I didn’t know anything about and could not make up. On November 2 I went back to Sirens.

I don’t know what it is about procrastination, or avoidance – Brain wants to work on anything *but* Sirens right now. I got quite a lot of editing done on And If They Have Not Died, They Are Living Still yesterday, which is great – I mean, I was really stuck, and it was a relief to finally fix a problem that had been nagging at me for the past two weeks. I guess there’s nothing better to unstick an obstinate brain than giving it something else it should be doing instead.

I am plowing ahead. Virtually all of my Writing Buddies are kicking my ass, with double my word count or more. I shall not let this trouble me.

I hope everyone else’s NaNoWriMo has started smoothly and proceeds apace. Good luck!