A new writer's journey

Chronicling my embarkation into my own personal world of writing. I do not have a destination in mind. My only hope is to make some sense of this compelling desire to create with words.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Bowing out for this year

I chose not to write yesterday. I also chose to not write again today.

I am not happy cramming writing like this. It feels like work.

I learned that it takes a huge amount of preparation to write a story in a month at this kind of pace. Character development. Key scenes. I was not prepared enough and had not developed my free writing skill to the extent needed to keep going. I wasn’t happy writing meaningless text and dialogue that I wasn’t sure would for a logical plot.

I take 18 weeks to train for a marathon when I commit. I wouldn’t ever show up on the day of a marathon without putting in that training. I think that’s what I did with this writing marathon and it hurt.

I wasn’t happy working long days then hiding out in a room by myself to struggle with writing. I wasn’t happy giving up running and spending time with my wife to write.

I’ve decided I need to re-evaluate how writing fits into my life right now. I get great satisfaction when I read my writing most of the time. I have received plenty of compliments on my writing style.

I also know that I truly enjoy writing non-fictional pieces, like my opinions, my experiences and my lessons from other people. I want to find a way to writing these types of pieces more frequently.

For now, I will not push to finish NaNoWriMo. It was a hard decision to make. I set this goal, and for now I will not achieve it.

However, I am proud that I wrote 8,000 words in six days. I will consider trying another year, and be extremely proud that my writing has progressed so dramatically this year. I am also proud of my courage to give it a shot.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Day 4 -- 6,723 Words Total - ON TRACK

If I hadn’t said it already, this is an extremely difficult goal. I am proud to say that I am on track after four days. It has NOT been easy, especially when dealing with the guilt of leaving my wife and mother-in-law sitting without me in the living room so I could write.

I’ve done ten marathons in the last 6 years. This feels harder than a marathon psychologically. The difference is that I train for my marathons usually in 18-week increments leading up to the race. Not in the case of this writing marathon.

I am getting the words down. I can’t say everything flows together. In fact, I am skipping around from scene idea to scene idea. I haven’t figured out yet if and how what I have written will comprise a cohesive plot. I am sticking to my outline, but my outline was fairly loose.

I found an approach that works for me. I picked a particular scene that I knew I wanted to write and took a blank screen. I gave myself 60 mintes to free write on that scene. The rule is “DON’T DELETE OR EDIT”. I knocked out 1,000 words in 54 minutes. Some of it is good quality writing, most of it – well, who knows…

I’m feeling the excitement of the NaNoWriMo journey. Keep writing!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Three days = 4,505 words - Got to keep focus and maximize output

Wow, this is really challenging.

I am slightly behind schedule. However, I have decent reasons. #1: My mother-in-law came in Thursday night, and #2: It was my wife’s birthday yesterday. I simply cannot ditch my family to write whenever I feel like it. I had to spend time with them today and yesterday.

All and all, I am in decent shape.

The biggest challenge about NaNoWriMo so far is maximizing output in the time I have available. I thought I’d be able to do 1,500-1,800 words an hour. I’m not anywhere near that.

It makes me realize that I have not done nearly enough planning on characters, setting and plot. I just need to keep writing – despite any holes or inconsistencies.

I will make up the 500 words I am short as well as another minimum 1,667 tomorrow.

We gain an hour tonight. Yes!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Day 1 Complete - 1,670 words

I completed what I hope will be my hardest day of this project. I spent at least 3 plus hours working on my writing today—about 3 times longer than I hoped I would for this many words.

I need to stop editing. I just need to write. Stop worrying about the quality of dialogue and sequence of ideas. Just keep writing. I do not have time to deal with the internal critic.

I feel really proud that I have begun, particularly since I had a very busy day at work today.

Day 1 is complete. I am happy – for now.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

OK, it's just about "GO" time!!!

I just got off of a conference call with China for a major project that I need to deliver in the next few weeks (among numerous other career commitments), my wife is pregnant, I just completed my third marathon of 2007, my mother-in-law is coming this weekend… what other excuses can I think of to avoid this task?

None! Nor do I want to… I’ve made a writing commitment. It’S NA NO WRI MO time!

We are exactly 2 hours and 15 minutes from National Novel Writing Month. I have no idea how I got myself into this little predictament. Wait, yes, I do, I am wildly ambitious, creative and dedicated to constant challenges and adventures which I believe will fulfill me as a human being. Once I set a goal, I deliver. And this one I set for myself, no matter how difficult I KNOW it will be.

I know I can I do it. I’ve got the story outline, the skill and the ambition to hammer out a story in 30 days. It will not be perfect or remotely pretty. It will hurt, like all ten of my marathons have at the end (although this one may hurt more in the beginning than the end), but I will succeed.

We all have lots of things going on in life. This is important. I can make the time. One solid, uninterrupted hour of robust productivity will get me to the finish line on November 30. I can do this. I will need to adjust constantly, but I have the planning experience to make it happen. It’s GO time!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

November is rapidly approaching - It's getting close to "GO" time!

November is rapidly approaching, which means I will begin writing. A lot.

I have my outline nearly complete. I have a decent story line.

I think I have a pacing plan figured out. I think I can average 30 meaningful, thoughtful words per minute when I free write. This would include time for pauses and “on the fly” quick edits.

If I can do this, then hard hour = 1,800 words. If I put in a single hard, dedicated hour per day every single day, I would write 54,000 words in a month. This plan leaves margin for error.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Holy crap. I am signed up. No turning back now...

Dear Writing Self:

In case you weren’t paying attention, this is to inform you that I am officially signed up for NaNoWriMo.

That’s why you’re feeling that sudden surge of anxiety.

50,000 words in a month. No editing. Just 1,667 words per day output for 30 days. Eegads.

I haven’t written that much toward a novel in a year. I am running the Chicago Marathon this Sunday. Four weeks until a entirely different kind of marathon begins.

Yours Truly,
The Former Non-Writer