Today, Part 5

Today was a rush of lukewarm, cold, and comfortable–a pleasurable mix of love, life, and work.  Today my song dimmed to a hum, but the melody remained.  I smiled, and I meant it.  You laughed.  We sat in warm silence together, the two of us, separate and joined.  I saw your light, and it made me feel new again.

 

Millie

NaNoWriMo: WON

After a month of tireless writing and constant panicking over word counts, I officially crossed the 50,000-word threshold at around 5:45 this morning.

I have participated in a total of eight NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo sessions, and of those sessions, I have won six times.  But never have I felt this proud of myself at the end of the month.

I have truly immersed myself in my screenplay this month and learned more about myself in the process.  I have spoken more to my characters than I have to real, physical people.  I have been slowly going insane.

So basically I’ve just been doing normal writer stuff.

I feel a strange sense of freedom now that I’m not tied to a prescribed word count quota.  I find that writing about 500 words a day (as opposed to 1,667) generates the best quality of writing from me, even if the total project word count does go up slower.  So I think I’m going to stick with the writing schedule I developed during this month, but I’m going to give myself a 500-word daily goal instead.

I apologize if this post was a bit messy, it is still very early in the morning and I have post-NaNoWriMo adrenaline.

Congratulations to all you NaNo winners!  And if you didn’t reach 50K this month, don’t despair!  Stick with your story and you’ll get there!

More later,

Millie

NaNoWriMo: Closing In

After a month of nearly nonstop literary self-doubt, I finally breathed a sigh of relief this morning when I realized my screenplay has a beginning, middle, and end.

That’s more than I could say about any of of my previous NaNo novels on 27 November.

I know each character’s backstory.  I know their primary struggle over the course of the story.  And, most importantly, I know where they end up just before the credits roll.  It took a lot of headaches, word sprints, and confusing moments of panic to get here, but who cares about that now?  I’m here.  And this is the closest I have ever come to creating a story people will actually listen to.

Now, I know there are more headaches down the road.  In fact, I probably won’t feel this confident about completing my screenplay until I type “THE END” at the end of my Scrivener document in big, bold letters.  But at least now, I have some type of road map to follow instead of just feeling around aimlessly in the dark.

As of right now, 27 November 2016, this year’s NaNoWriMo has been an overwhelming success.  Will I have a finished project by the end of the month?  Not even close.  But will I know what to do to get to that finished project?  Absolutely.

So I will continue writing these next few days with more fervor and excitement than I have all month.

Happy NaNo-ing, everybody.  We can do it!

Millie

NaNoWriMo, Weeks 2 & 3

First of all, I have a totally legitimate excuse for not updating last week.

I have been insanely busy.

And not just normal busy.  Really, really busy.

So this entry is going to be a summary of both this week and last.

My Current Word Count: 38,443 words (slightly above quota, for once!)

Last week, I was having a lot of difficulty getting my head in the right place for writing.  My only writing time was in the late afternoon, and by that point I was often so mentally exhausted or preoccupied with the events of the day that I just couldn’t write that much.  So I decided to start waking up early and writing before I even washed my face in the morning.

Surprisingly enough, this was incredibly effective.  My inner-editor was as tired as I was in the early morning, so I wrote quicker and more freely than usual.  Most days, I’d have my word count goal reached before I even left the house.

Then the super-busy week from Hell came and I was barely getting enough sleep.  I slept in more than I should and I had absolutely no time to make up for it in the afternoons.  As my novel statistics below show, there were several days where I didn’t reach my quota and, as every NaNo participant knows, if you’re behind one day, you’ll be working double-time to get back on track.screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-8-43-00-pm

But I’m glad to say that as of tonight, I have officially met my quota for the first time in days.

I am by no means close to the finish line with this project, but I know I’m on the right track and, despite the setbacks, I consider this session of NaNoWriMo to be the most successful one I’ve participated in so far.

Millie

 

NaNoWriMo, Week 1

Due to my fabulous time management skills, I have about five minutes to write this post.

So I apologize in advance–to all of you.

A week into NaNoWriMo 2016, I am less than impressed with myself.  I have spent way too much time doing non-writing things and way too little time doing actual writing.

Ugh.

This happens every year at some point, I know, but I really thought it would be different this year.  I just put my two year-long project on the shelf to work on this screenplay and now I’m feeling like the guy who left his wife for another woman only to discover that this new woman is certifiably insane.  Which, coincidentally, is something that actually happens to one of my characters in this new NaNo project.

The reason this NaNoWriMo is so difficult this year is the same reason I temporarily stopped working on my novel–because writing just doesn’t feel fun anymore.  It feels more like a chore than something I enjoy, even though I know that it’s not.

Writing is hard.

And…my five minutes are up.

Anyone else in the same boat here?  What gives you motivation to keep writing?  Please, help!

Millie

Novel-Writing 101: Getting Through the “Crazy Phase”

So—you’re writing a novel.  You have a magnificent idea.  A magnificent plot.  Magnificent characters.  Maybe you even have a magnificent first draft (though first drafts can rarely be called “magnificent”).  Yet despite the fact that you’ve been working on this novel…

A month?

Six months?

A year?

Two years?

You still feel as if it’s going nowhere.

You are not alone in the slightest.  Every writer I’ve ever talked to has been in this predicament in one way or another at some point in their careers.  This is what I call the “crazy phase” of writing.  This is the phase that culls the weak from the herd, so to speak.  This is the phase where you stare at the ceiling for hours on end, obsessing over plot holes and lapses in character development and wondering if you’ve always been this bad at writing.

Then, ultimately, you do the absolute worst thing: you give up on your novel.

No.  Do not do this.  It’s not worth it, I promise you!  Part of writing a novel is pushing through the “crazy phase” and proving that you are strong enough to do it!  And I have some tips to help you do just that.

 

#1: Marry Your Novel

Yes, you heard me right.  Say “I do” to that ginormous mess of words, page numbers, and headaches.  You MUST be committed to your novel in order to finish it.  Now, this doesn’t mean you have to be chained to your novel for the rest of your days (divorce is always an option, after all), but once you have committed yourself to a project, try your best to stick with it.  By metaphorically “marrying” your novel, you will hopefully think twice when the next tantalizing, juicy “plot bunny” (a persistent new novel idea that has nothing to do with the novel you’re writing) threatens to distract you.

 

#2: Turn Off the TV

Depending on how addicted you are to technology, this could be either the easiest or most difficult step.  Television is wonderful.  It’s fun, it’s relaxing, and it allows you to temporarily escape from reality.  Unfortunately, it is also incredibly addictive.  How many times have you logged into Netflix with the intent of watching just one episode and ended up spending 6 hours paralyzed in front of the screen?  Don’t lie to me, you know you’ve done it.  You cannot successfully write a novel if you regularly squander your weekends and free time watching The Office for the 5,000th time.  My advice is to cut out the television cold turkey.  The first week or so will be rough, but after a while you will get used to it, and I promise you: writing will be much easier.

 

#3: Take Inventory

I don’t know about you, but I am a very messy writer.  My work for just one novel can be scattered throughout 30 word processing documents, 5 notebooks, and dozens of random scraps of paper.  That is not an exaggeration.  When I start to feel overwhelmed and hopeless, I transcribe all my traditional writing into my computer, and then compile everything into one single word document.  Then, I organize everything by character, in chronological order.  After that, I read through all of it and take notes on what I have already written.  I read through the notes and take more notes on what I still need to write in order for the plot to make sense.  Is it time consuming?  Oh, yes.  But is it worth it?  Absolutely!  I understand this method might not work for everybody, but if you think it will work for you, I absolutely recommend giving it a shot.

At the very least, write down what still needs to happen in order for your novel to make sense.  I believe every writer needs to do that, no matter how organized they are.

 

#4: WRITE!

Magnificent idea?  Check.

Magnificent plot?  Check.

Magnificent characters?  Check.

The beginnings of a rough draft?  Check.

Commitment?  Check.

No technological distractions?  Check.

A list of what you still need to write?  Check.

Well, I’ve got some good news for you: you’re ready to write!  Put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and create a masterpiece!  Remember: only you can tell your story.

 

So, what are you waiting for?

 

Millie