Sunday, April 10, 2011

Word Count and What I've Learned About Writing...

Thus far, I'm about 200 words a day past my daily goal.  My goal was 875 words per day, and I'm there.  My writing has been spotty, though, because at least one of the days I was traveling.  I am also visiting relatives right now, so there have been some impediments to writing.  Right now, I'm at 6,412.  The Demon & His Lover is almost entirely written and if it's possible, I'm loving it even more than its predecessor, The Angel & Her Gun.  Some day I'm going to have to write an actual book about these characters.  I love them so much, but I'm afraid to ruin them, you know?  Silly, yes, but admit me my foibles.  I am a writer. :)

So, I am a veteran of NaNoWriMo -National Novel Writing Month- to those of you who are unacquainted with  it.  The first year, completely unaware of what awaited me, I joined excited and hopeful of finally finishing my book Six Keys.  I had a few chapters of it, and a general outline, but school, marriage, and a job had prevented me from furthering it.

I mean, how hard could 1667 words a day be?  So simple.  So easy.  Excuse me, while I laugh at myself. ahahahahahahaha  It was one of the hardest things I've ever done.  Pulling the words out was agonizing and often times I felt like I got lost and didn't know where the story was going, despite my outline.

I got about halfway through the book, 50ish thousand words (having finished NaNoWriMo) when the unthinkable happened.  I had a data loss that sent me back to about 30,000 words.  All my work, ALL of those 20,000 gut wrenching words were gone.  That was it.  I tossed the book aside and didn't look back.  I couldn't deal with trying to write them over again.

Then I met someone who liked to write, as I did.  She was entering a short story contest and encouraged me to join in.  That's when I wrote Perfect Man Plus.  It is a strange story to be sure, kind of like a gender switched Stepford Wives, but writing it reminded me why I love writing.  So I screwed up my courage, pulled up my Six Keys file and started the long hard process of reevaluating what I had left.  In the 3 mths leading up to the next Nano, I did a lot of edits and cuts.  I pared it down to about 17,000 words, wrote another 3 chapters, and joined up again.  This time I wrote through November and December (This was in 2009) and when I was done, I had my first book.

Talk about a light bulb moment.  It was like the heavens opened up and angels sang, "Look, you CAN finish something.  You ARE indeed a writer.  Go forth and multiply."

Six Keys was the hardest thing I've ever done.  Writing it, editing it, and rewriting it required a level of dedication from me that I don't think I've put into anything before.  But I learned that I CAN do it.  I CAN write and I can write a lot if I have to.

This time, with Compis, writing was cake.  I had a story and characters I was passionate about, but most of all, I had experience at my back.  Getting to the goal isn't hard when you have a story to tell and you know you can do it.  That sounds like bragging, but for me it was like freeing a part of me that had been held captive for years.

So now, I've joined another writing marathon and in comparison to the 1667 that Nano requires, this is far less intimidating a goal.  It will still be a lot of work.  I laugh at anyone who thinks writing is easy.  But at least now, I know that it's not impossible.


Unknown said...

Hi Kate! Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. I've wanted to do NaNo but I edit while I'm writing, so I'd never get to the 50K. LOL Have a great week!

Claire Farrell said...

Finishing something for the first time is the biggest step imo. Knowing you can do it means so much. I love NaNo, it helped me write a little more freely. I don't think I could have gotten over that big a setback though!

Well done on doing so well this week. :)

Linda Nelson said...

Kate, I tried NaNo without success. I too find my self editing while I write. And I got half way through my story and did not think it was making any sense. I almost scrapped the whole file to start it over, but I didn't.
I was glad too. I just set the work aside and gave the story some more thought. I think I am almost ready to pick the story back up and start working on it again.
I do plan on doing the NaNo thing again this year. I know one of these days I will find the discipline to push my self to the end of the story as fast as I can write.
Hope your week is a good one.

S.J. Noir said...

"Look, you CAN finish something. You ARE indeed a writer. Go forth and multiply."

Hee, and well done! NANO was difficult for me as well. I ended up cheating the first two times I tried. ;P

Good luck with your continued progress!

Jessica Thomas said...

Good for you for picking the story back up. Ouch, losing those words must have been so painful.

You don't sound as though you are bragging, just being realistic about your abilities. Good for you for putting in the hard work to get to that place.

Margo Berendsen said...

Hello Row80 friend. OMGosh your story of losing almost have your work after nanowrimo - that's my worst writing nightmare!!! worse even than nasty reviews!

But so glad to hear that you pulled through it and finished anyway.