Saturday, November 7, 2009

NaNo, NaNo Where Does the Time Go?

It's NaNoWriMo time again, and so whatever free time I can scrape up with a computer around is going there. For those of you who don't know, it's the month-long writing marathon to crank out a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. This will be my third year attempting NaNoWriMo, and I hope that I can get my word count in on time.

I have a bunch of friends who are working on NaNoWriMo as well, and it's nice to have the support system, as well as a little bit of a sense of competition. Among my friends that are doing it this year are (in no particular order): MWT, Eric, Jeri, Kimby, and Shawn. I'm sure I'm leaving people out, so my appologies to those I didn't mention above. Good luck to everyone participating this year!

It's interesting the way each year is different when doing NaNo. And I'm not just talking about the story itself.

The first year I did it, 2007, we had just moved and there was a lot going on at home. I wrote when there was time, including scrawling on a legal pad during my hour-long commute. Don't worry, I kept my eyes on the road and just wrote really big. In addition to unpacking and trying to get the house in order, Logan was just over a year old and I was working two jobs. When I was at my part-time job, I would write on a piece of paper when I could and then type it up when I got home. The fact that there was so much going on forced me to make time to write, and it worked really well in my favor. I knew what I wanted to write about before hand, and had at least part of the story figured out. I wasn't too keen on this story while I was writing it, and about half way through I got another idea that I wanted to work on, but it was too late in the month to start over.

The second year, I wrote in a much more linear fashion, and there was less going on around the house, which didn't always work out to my favor. This year, I worked on the idea that I had from 2007 and I liked the story a lot more. I had another idea about half way through the month again, and while I liked it, I didn't want to go off and abandon my first idea to work on the second. Also, the second idea would have been a different story that takes place in the same world of the first 2008 story.

This year is again entirely different. Once again, there is a lot going on at home. There's a new born, who demands a lot of our time, there's a three-year-old who demands a lot of our time (partially because of the new born), and there are a lot of family/social obligations. We have Ava's baptism in a couple weeks, Thanksgiving being celebrated on two different days to ensure we have more time to spend with my side and Brandi's sides of the family, there's Windycon next weekend (I know, I brought that one on myself), and whatever other things pop up between now and November 30. At my current job, there aren't great periods of down time like there were at my last job that would allow me to boost my word count during the day. At night, it would be impossible to work on my story while Logan's awake, and then after he's in bed I try to give Brandi more of a break by taking Ava and rocking her and all that. It's become our regular bonding time. This means there have been a lot of nights where I'm typing one-handed and rocking from side-to-side to keep the baby calm. And let me tell you, to type with a baby in one arm and a laptop on your lap makes you feel so warm you think you're going to melt into the couch. A lot of nights I'll be typing until Ava is fully asleep and I can bring her upstairs to bed, which has been between 1 and 2 lately. Or, if I'm lucky and she falls asleep before that, I'll take her upstairs and try to stay up and type a little more, but that only works for an hour or so before I need to get to bed so I can function and make decisions at work the next day.

Also, this time around, I really had no idea what I was going to write about before I started writing, so I had a start and stop approach. I thought about writing about werewolves, inter-office warfare, paranormal investigators, and cryptozoology. By day three I had started three different stories and, as MWT so accuretly said, "each restart has about 500 more words than the previous one." The third story finally took, and that's the one I've been working on. I'm still in the mundane, building it up part of the story, but it seems to be coming along well.

So my current word count is 7,020, which is a few thousand words behind where I should be for day 7. I'm hoping that I'll be able to generate 2,000 words a day for a while to catch up. But any progress is good progress and if I have to do some real late nighters toward the end of the month, so be it.

This year's novel, which as of yet does not have a title, incorporates the Survial Tips that I've been working on for a while. When all is said and done, I think I'll use the Survial Tips as a lead in to the chapters, plugging them in only after I've reached my 50,000-word goal.

In this story, a newly retired university professor and widower, Luther, decides to fulfill the dreams that he and his deceased wife, Martha, had by going out and actually seeing part of the world. Up to this point, it isn't that Luther has been a shut in, but as he reasons, there's always been something else going on to prevent him from ever taking a trip. After making sure the house will be looked after while he's away, he sets out for destinations near and far. During his travels, he takes with him a journal that Martha had given him but he'd never written in to record his experiences. This is where the survival tips come in. As he encouters things that he would have never thought possible, he creates these reports so that others might know the pitfalls that are (in the story) very real but largely unknown. From the vast corn fields of Illinois to giant, man-eating Venus flytraps, Luther experiences a world he would have never guessed is even possible.

1 comment:

Shawn Powers said...

I had a project extended to the middle of Nov, so my nanowrimo is supernano this year. (I'll have roughly 2 weeks of writing to try reaching 50,000 -- AAAHHHH)