Home Stretch

I have reached that frustrating point in NaNoWriMo in which I am so close, yet so far away.

I now have 3452 words left until I am an official nanowrimo winner. Technically, I can finish tonight -- if I really push myself and write like mad for the next several hours.

But I'm also at the point in the story where the climax needs to be good, not crappy, and I'm afraid that if I push through just to get it done, it will suck. I'm driven to hit that 50,000 mark as soon as possible, and seeing my little blue progress bar so close to the finish is making me nuts.

So I've forced myself to stop, take a break, go work out and process some things, and come back fresh for the finish tomorrow.

It's funny how things work when you are writing. I don't know if it's a matter of paying better attention to the universe, being tuned in, so to speak, or if it's just Divine help, but as I've been going about my day, I've had some nuggets of help for my story. For example, my MC lost her brother when she was five years old. This afternoon, over lunch, I picked up my December issue of Self magazine -- a fitness magazine, of all things -- and there was an article written by a woman reflecting on the death of her older brother when she was a kid. Well.

Even as I sit here and type, I am restraining myself from opening my Word document and jumping back into the story. I really, really, really want to.

It will be better tomorrow. Maybe I will make an event out of it tomorrow... I think of the main character in "Misery," who has his post-writing ritual of one cigarette, a glass of wine, and something else. Maybe I'll have a piece of chocolate, some coffee, and download a song I've been coveting. Wait... that's my "during-writing" ritual. Hmmm.

Well, whatever.

Cheer me on... I need some friendly faces at that finish line! :)


Dickens and the Idea of Christmas

So we went to Dickens on Main tonight in downtown Boerne. It was fun. It's my favorite part of living in Boerne, when they block off main street, the quaint little main street shops stay open late, and the whole town comes out to walk the street and drink coffee and socialize. The streets are lined with Christmas lights and snow machines which blow snow every hour on the hour, they blare Christmas music, and it's fabulously cozy. It's small town life at its best. It was a great way to kick off the Christmas season.

Today has been a good day for me. I've been a little self-possessed lately with this business of book writing, and I did get my writing in this morning, but today was my day to catch up with friends whom I haven't seen in awhile. I went to a small get-together at Flo's house this morning and had fun catching up with her, her daughters, and my friend Sarah Hinton, whom I haven't seen in a couple of years. This afternoon, Sarah Dowling came over for coffee and we had a great time catching up. It was nice to connect again. I don't get to do that very often.

I am 6000 and change from finishing my NaNovel. I am looking at different ways to wrap it up, and hoping I can do so in 6000 words. Actually, I'm sort of forcing myself to do that, because, from what I understand, a 50,000 word rough draft is good since you end up adding around 30,000 words during the revision process. It will be really great to finish -- I never thought I'd get this far -- but I am completely in love with writing now, so I am afraid I'm going to feel a little lost for a few days when it's over.



Off of work for the next four days. I am hoping that it will give me opportunities to really beef up my word count, if not finish completely. I'd love to be able to validate my nanonovel by Saturday! I am looking forward to hitting the 50k mark, but I really don't want it to end, because the act of writing has been so exhilarating.

But my "carrot" that I am dangling before myself is a subscription to Writer's Village, an internet writing school for which I will sign up at the end of this crazy project. I'm hungry, I have a lot to learn, and I think it will be a good way to "fill the well" again.

I'm going to schedule a few sprints today in between other activities, setting the timer and writing as many words as I can in twenty minute bursts.

Off to the races....


Thirty-two Thousand

I am two-thirds done!!

This experience has been the most fulfilling, most liberating experience I have ever taken on creatively. I am reveling in the process, not caring about the crappy prose or the loose ends that are falling off of the pages in a huge, beautiful mess. This experience has taught me that I can do it if I just get my butt in the chair and write. What a concept!

So I have no idea if this novel will ever be read by anyone... I don't know if I want it to be read by anyone. It's enough for me to know that I tried, I did it, and it's the first step towards something I never dreamed I could do. I'm in love with the process! I haven't felt this creatively fulfilled since we recorded our last CD -- actually, in many ways, I feel more fulfilled now than I did then.

Sorry to gush. Just had to get it out.


words are numbers.

geez louise.

i've almost reached the 28,000 mark in my nano. i have never written anything this long before. it's nuts.

so i have become stuck. my mc is losing her marbles and has taken the other character hostage, and the villain has just entered the scene. i'm really wrestling with not making him too cliche. all i keep finding myself writing instinctively are the cliche scenes in every james bond movie, where the villain, who is always dressed in black slacks and a black turtleneck, swishes his scotch in his glass and says, "well, well, well, mr. bond. how nice of you to drop in." my villain REALLY wants to do that. he is not going to have the opportunity. but i'm stuck in the meantime. maybe i'll have him dance a jig while he's waiting on my to come up with something earth-shaking.



i have written 5863 words today. i am tired. brain is fried. must...go...read something.


Nanowrimo Synchronicity

So I'm beginning my third day as a Freshman Nanowrimo novelist. It's cool. I am right at my daily word goal, and I have more material in my morning pages that just need a home within the novel. Morning Pages have been very effective these past couple of days, because they afford the opportunity to work out plots and ideas without having to commit everything to the novel right away. Fabulous.

The biggest thing, so far, that I have noticed as I have been settling in on my story, is that it seems like the Universe is cooperating with my efforts and giving me little nuggets to help me along. For example, my character had no name for the first six pages. I came to a point in my story where she met someone and actually had to introduce herself, and I couldn't settle on a name. That day, I heard the name "Natalie" at least six times in various settings and situations -- a caller on the radio talk show I was listening to, on the phone with someone, on myspace, in passing at Starbucks. It was an obvious "nudge" that that was the name my character was supposed to have.

And my story takes place in England... the main character is there as an expatriate of sorts, and I am having to rely on my memories of England from ten years ago as I'm writing. Yesterday, I went with everyone from the office to a place for lunch in Ingram, and it was, of all things, an English tea room. It couldn't have been more authentic. And for lunch, we were served high tea, so I was literally given this amazing setting with all the trappings of England, and with all the nuances of the very English decor that most Americans just can't duplicate well, right in the middle of my day yesterday. It was crazy. It couldn't have been more authentic had I hopped a plane, landed in Birmingham, driven to Stow-on-the-Wold, and written from a tea room there. Brilliant.

So I feel as if I am being "guided" as I write this thing, and it feels good. It's been a great start. I am looking forward to having a block of time today to really devote to my Nano... hopefully I can get ahead of the word count quota today.



So I have undertaken this ridiculous venture of attempting to write an entire novel in one month.

This is ludicrous for several reasons:

1. I do not have time to write a novel... especially not in November.
2. I have never written a novel.
3. I do not know the first thing about writing novels.
4. People will think that I suck.

I am actually encouraged, though. I told myself that, if nothing else, I will have a really crappy first draft, which is what Anne Lamott says that you have to get on paper first. So I am giving myself permission to just write, not edit, not worry about plot. Just write.

I am 3300-plus words into this thing, and already my censors are screaming.




I am choosing to ignore. I will write. The goal is to get 50,000 words out by November 30. That will be the longest thing I have ever written. That, in and of itself, is an accomplishment, I think.

Revision can happen later. I'm going to write a novel. It may totally suck. I'm going to do it anyway. Better to do it badly than to never have done it at all.

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