Posts Tagged ‘victory’

Victory March

Yesterday, I was tired.  I posted a throw-away blog entry because I felt like garbage.  I barely scratched out my minimum word count and it took me four agonizing hours to do it.  I hated writing with every fiber of my being, and I wanted nothing more than to say, “I have twelve days, and only five thousand words.  I should just take it easy the rest of the month.”  I didn’t.  But, believe me, I wanted to.  Every torturous minute yesterday reminded me that writing takes discipline.  It takes the determination to push through when it’s hard, when it’s painful, when it isn’t fun.

Yesterday, writing was not fun.  I left the day at 46,700 words.  So close, and I was certain that the same thing was going to happen today.  I was sure in fact that my novel was going to be hideously unpleasant to write for the duration of its first draft, and then at the end I would discover I had only trash and hundreds of wasted hours of my time.  Yesterday, I wanted to quit.

But that was yesterday.

I did it.  For the first time in SIX years of attempting National Novel Writing Month, I did it.  At 11:00, Mountain Daylight Time, I crossed the fifty-thousand word barrier for the first time in my life.  Even as I drudged through a whole chapter today that I found incredibly boring to write, but necessary for character development, I kept thinking about how close I was.  I could taste the victory champagne (it’s Dr Pepper, really) at the end of that final lap.  And now that I’m here, the victory is as sweet as I ever imagined it could be.

Today, I’m done writing.  But my story is not finished, and my novel is not complete.  Some people will take their fifty-thousand words this month, put them away and think, “Ah, that was great,” and not think an iota of writing again until next November.  But, I’m not done yet.  I’m only about 40% of the way through, in fact, but it’s the hard 40%.  It’s that first 10 miles of a marathon.  Ten miles.  I haven’t run ten miles in more than half a decade.

Tomorrow, I go back to work.  Tomorrow, the words may come fast or they might come slow.  There will be moments of exciting outpourings of creative energy and there will be moments of drudgery and impatience and bitterness and depression.  But I can do this.  I can finish this.  I can’t stop now.

The Snowball Effect

I’ve been getting a lot of the same questions from people when I tell them I’m writing a novel. (I’ve stopped mentioning NaNoWriMo, but only because the sheer craziness of it confuses and confusticates most folks).  The most common now, I think, of those questions is: “What are your goals in writing this book?” which is usually followed up with, “I mean, are you trying to get it published?”  The answer to that question will be yes.  But it isn’t right now.  My goal right now has nothing to do with publishing or book tours or royalty checks.  My goal right now is getting the blasted thing written.  It’s a matter of getting the whole bloody story down on paper.

And now, a little more than a third of the way through, I can see light at the end of that particular tunnel.  I think I’ve mentioned to several people that my resolve when it comes to the novel-writing process has historically been relatively weak.  I’ve powered my way through 12-13,000 words and then I lose focus, energy, or just plain get distracted.  I always think I’ll come back to it someday, but as of yet, my four or five unfinished manuscripts are still sitting at 30 or so pages and 12,000 words.  I’ve written short stories that came out to 12,000 words.  This novel is four times that length and just barely getting started.

Today I wrote four thousand words.  That’s about twice what I usually write in a day, and I think there are a few reasons for my prolific output today.  One, I think I was subconsciously still trying to make up for Monday.  Obviously between today and yesterday, I more than did that.  Two, I can see that 50k ‘finish line’ on the horizon.  I contemplated going for another 2500 today, just to put some more words up, but out of respect for my own sanity and my desire to sleep tonight, I decided against it.  I don’t think I could sit at 47,500 and go to sleep.  It would bug me too much.  I would absolutely have to scrawl out another 2500, which could keep me up way past my bedtime.

But that right there is what lets me know I’m going to finish.  The more I put down on paper, the less it feels like I’m doing each day.  The first day I started, four thousand seemed like a mountain of pages and an impossible task for a single day.  Today, though, four thousand was nothing.  It was a walk in the park, and I didn’t feel myself struggling at all.  It snowballs for me.  Getting from 30,000 to 40,000 was way easier than getting from 20,000 to 30,000, and it seems like each 10k words that I get finished with is one more tick mark on the path to a complete work.

So I’m putting my nose to the grindstone, putting my head down and getting it done.  There are two weeks left in the month to win NaNoWriMo, but I’ll still be writing come December 1st.  I wonder how many others will be too.