So, Saturday is the last day of October, which means National Novel Writing Month officially kicks off on Sunday. Already I've gotten e-mails reminding me about the date and a list of activities for the North Jersey virtual team. This includes weekly "write-ins" at several Panera and Borders locations. There have also been tips about getting ready to write, such as outlining chapters, completing character sketches, etc.
One perspective on this monumental task that I can really appreciate came from Lynn Viehl in an e-mail I read late last night. She says that she's been so caught up in deadlines for the bread-and-butter writing she does, that she really hasn't had any time to write what she really wants to for herself. And she's going to use NaNoWriMo to have some fun with writing about some ideas she's had for a while.
Oh how I can sympathize! It is not very often that I can work on my novel, which I guess I began work on in 2004. This idea simply wouldn't leave my head so I wrote a short comic book script, with the intention of scripting the story into a 5-issue series. Then I thought it would work better as prose. So after I finished my master's thesis last year, I knew I couldn't continue with the story I'd created for that project until I got this older one out of my system. In August 2008, I sat down in earnest to turn the story I'd been writing in my head for 4 years into a manuscript.
Today, I'm about 50,000 words (165 pages or so in) and haven't touched it since June because of various projects/deadlines, etc. My goal is to complete another 50,000 words by the end of November and have my crappy first draft complete (I always tell my students that first drafts are not good, and so I hope if they're reading this they see that it applies to me too!). To help stay on track, I resolve to do the following:
- Complete the rest of my chapter outlines before Sunday so I can jump right in from the beginning.
- Write at least 1,500 words per day, but aim for 2,000 -- rain or shine, tired or awake, holiday or weekend.
- Not put off to tomorrow what I can accomplish today (translation, put off writing today with the promise of doubling my word count tomorrow).
- Attend at least 2 write-ins at the Rockaway Borders (Borders is awesome for writing).
- Not beat myself up too much for missing a goal.
- Not to go back and read through what I've already written -- that always causes me to rewrite and sucks up major time.
- Not to second-guess what I write -- that's what revision is for.