Yeah, all I can say is phew! I made it, scraping home at just over the 50,000. I slammed the 20,000 words in the last five days, but feel a bit burned out. Also, some of those later pages are going to need a hatchet attack in editing. Hmmm, apparently the competitive side of me trumped the artistic/perfectionist side of me. There’ll be time enough for editing when the draft is done (sing that to the tune of The Gambler)(totally going to make a writer’s version of that song now, but later, when rested).
Today’s my critique group Christmas party so I need to start getting stuff ready, just thought I’d fix the suspense if you were on tenterhooks as to my NaNo completion.
I’m a little sad I hadn’t come to a decision on a proper title, so the working title is what’s listed, but there are worse things in this world and others.
The shameful part however is that after passing the 50,000 word mark my pace dropped right off. I’ve barely done 5,000 words in the last few days – though China Mieville is partly to blame since I started reading Un Lun Dun.
A quick list of tips for anyone trying to pass the home stretch with NaNoWriMo. These tips are advice I used. I hope none of them horrify any of you so badly that you never visit this site again.
Put down the books for a few days. It’s tough, I know, I thought I might die, but reading time became writing time.
Who cares about house work! As long as it wasn’t actual filth (because that is wrong) just clutter and toys all over the floor I let it slide and just cleaned once a week for an hour or two block instead of every day till it looked shiny. This also avoided the craptacular feeling when Xander would promptly up-end his toy chest or a box of cookies (that I have no idea how he got a hold of) all over my fresh cleaned floor.
Minimise internet time. I had a strict 15m on facebook for morning and evening, a ban on Pinterest and since I wasn’t reading pretty much ignored Goodreads. The only internet I didn’t cut back significantly was blogging, though I did skim read my RSS feed more viciously.
Typing one handed while cuddling Xander. This may sound horrible, but Xander still enjoys being cuddled to sleep, and I am an indulgent mother, so he would snuggle up, I’d throw one arm over and type with the other hand. I want to ensure any horrified readers that this was the only time I multi-tasked his care. We still went to the park every non-raining day, went to swimming lessons, played in his sand pit, read books together, built things, blew bubbles, practiced with his shape sorter ect ect and I was fully engaged with him those times, it was only nap wind down time and when he was actually asleep that I did this.
Interestingly, because of Xander’s sleep patterns this month, I couldn’t use the getting up early and staying up late method which helped me write 65,000 words in two months earlier this year. He did have lovely big naps in the middle of the afternoon though which gave me one and a half to two and a half hours each day.
So, with what I’ve learned from my first NaNoWriMo it is clear next year I need to intentionally set a higher goal so I don’t peter out at the end, and that I should hire a cleaner next year.
Now, off to finish that first draft that NaNoWriMo has helped me start.
As followers of my facebook page would know, on Monday I hit the legendary 50,000 words in my NaNoWriMo novel. As awesome as that is, in my plotting I projected the novel would actually be 100,000 to 120,000 long, typical epic fantasy stand-alone length, so I’m barely half way through, so I’ve got to keep up the momentum.
The other day, on The Vixen Gamer’sfacebook profile I found the following task set by Ray Bradbury for writers. He suggests you write down ten things you love about writing and ten things you don’t really love. Here’s mine:
1 – The feeling when the story just flows and I can write for ages almost without pause. My husband says I can write faster than he reads and that makes me grin so much there’s no space left on my face for my cheeks,
2 – The way that even if I have to drive a long distance by myself, my characters and scenarios just play in my head and keep me company, also works for boring periods at work and menial tasks around the house,
3 – The feeling when you write a sentence that sings, and you didn’t even try!
4 – Re-reading my work and getting wrapped up, excited and emotional – even though I know what’s going to happen
5 – Creating characters and making all their scars, complexities, dreams and fears, even though I don’t get to share it all with the reader – those bits are my little secret *Cheshire cat-style grin*.
6 – I write far better than I speak, I’m more articulate and communicate more easily,
7 – The swell of excitement I get when I write a new idea down for the first time and it just keeps expanding on itself,
8 – Being able to write a character that may make a real person feel good about themselves or smile when they identify with them,
9 – Making magic systems, races, cultures, creatures, entire worlds – I must have a god complex,
10 – Having an awesome excuse to research fun things (like medieval inventions and Greek mythology) and calling it work.
1 – Stopping at ten for the ‘like’ list,
2 – The fear that people will be enraged or full of hate (for me or the character) at my portrayal of ‘different’ characters,
3 – When I desperately want to keep writing, but either my son needs me or the housework is overdue to be done or I have to go to work >.< also the guilt that follows the ‘I’d rather be writing’ feeling,
4 – When my personal mood differs from that in the passage I am writing and that feeling begins to seep into the scene but doesn’t fit at all
5 – When I NEED to stick to the current story but another idea just keeps banging on the door like a salesman that just won’t give up,
6 – Pressure to live up to the expectations of certain people who seem to think one book published and I’ll be JK Rowling or Stephen King,
7 – Writing ‘rules’ that make you second guess yourself,
8 – That there is never enough time to write everything I want
10 – ?
I couldn’t quite come up with ten dislikes. Oh well, a good sign I guess.
Any you agree/disagree with? Anything you might add? Are there ten pros and cons for your dream job?
Kirstie Olley is an award-winning speculative fiction author and the full-time wrangler of her children Xander and Harlequin.
Newsletter Sign Up
Sign up for my newsletter to be notified when I publish new stories and when discounts and freebies happen. You'll also score an exclusive freebie: an ecopy of my Redlitzer winning short story 'Stolen Hearts'.
Read The Troll's Toll: A Retailored Fairy Tales Novella now.
Read 'Charming' (Honorable Mention in the Writers of The Future contest Q4 2014) in Leading Edge Magazine issue 68.
Read 'Short Circuit' (finalist in the 2013 Aurealis Awards Best Fantasy Short Fiction category) in Oomph: A Little Super Goes A Long Way from Crossed Genres.
Read ‘Hanabi to Kitsune'(Fireworks and Foxes) now in Tales of the Sunrise Lands from Guardbridge Books.
Read ‘Glass Bones’ now in WARRIOR an anthology choc-full of LGBTQIA warriors all across space, time, and imagination.
Read 'Gaps' in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #63. Click the cover to buy.
Read The Beauty of the Dance(Honorable Mention in the Writers of The Future contest Q41 2015) in Myriad Lands vol 1: Around the World.
Read 'Nightfall' for free now in 18. Click the picture to decide where to download it from.
Read ‘God’s Chosen’ for free now in Darkest Depths – the Vision Writers 20th Anniversary anthology. Click the picture to decide where to download it from.
Free Story Sign-Up
Want to grab a free copy of the out-of-print, Redlitzer Writing Competition winning 'Stolen Hearts' AND get emails whenever I release new fiction and offer discounts and new freebies? Click the book to sign up for my newsletter and have it all!