Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Declining NaNo


For the last couple of weeks, I have been struggling with what to do in November.  In 2010, I participated in the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) or even shorter, the NaNo.  I had a blast and succeeded in reaching my 50,000 words.  Then I never finished the book.  In 2011, I took the year off from NaNo because I was very busy.  November is also the month my church does a huge retreat weekend.  I worked the entire weekend and knew I wouldn’t have the time with my son’s football games and Thanksgiving to get the needed 50,000 words written.  However, I missed the event terribly.  Last year, I again worked the month winning once again.  This second book is sitting in my yet to be finished folder.  Both NaNo’s taught me a ton and I loved the work.  This year though I have been debating to take part or not.

                I am working just a small part for the retreat weekend; however, I do have a weeklong obligation that will keep me from the keyboard.  Between both activities, I will not be writing for a good eight days.  This isn’t even factoring Thanksgiving!  Another problem is that I am doing an online book cover class.  I haven’t a clue how much time this is going to take out of my schedule.  I really want to put all my energy into learning this part of the business and I don’t want to be torn between the strict word deadlines along with the class deadlines.  Alas, I am also exhausted.  This last month, I hit editing really hard.  I doubled all my times with the goal of finishing my pre NaNo novel to be published early next year.  I didn’t realize how draining this would be.  I am burnt out.  Plus, I still have two more chapters to go to finish it up.

                So, I have been leaning towards not doing the NaNo.  My husband and I have talked about it and as he pointed out, I still have tons of work.  My second book that follows this first one in the series is at about 45,000 words.  I need to not only edit the book but also need to add about 50,000 words.  (Hum, this is the amount for the NaNo.)  After that I have my original NaNo that I need to finish and edit.  This is a really complicated book with three different points of view with three different timelines.  I am really saving it until I become a stronger writer so I don’t kill it too much.  But the fact remains, I have these two novels, a nonfiction book, and a bunch of short stories not finished.  Maybe it would best behoove me to finish my projects before starting a new one.

                This morning as I slogged through my morning tasks of reading the latest writers’ blogs that I follow and writing up pathetic morning pages (with the NaNo in the back of my thoughts), I came across a quote from a writer that I follow.  When you are finished with a story or novel, get it out and move on.” - See more at: http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/#sthash.BHSmytYE.dpuf  I need to finish my work.  Since about April, that has been my main focus.  I have finished up five short stories and am almost finished with my novel, Pursuing Destiny.  I need to keep going.  So, with a heavy heart, I am going to decline the challenge of the NaNo.  Instead, I am continuing with my personal challenge to clean our my still working file until I am left just one novel project and one short story project.  If I find myself bored, I may try getting those 50,000 done for the book.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Time is Flying


                Two weeks have flown by with not one blog posted.  My writing life and personal life have exploded in an array of activities and I love it, but I find myself missing a little leisure time.  My typical week starts with a Bible Study in the morning, editing in the afternoon, a little family time, and a church meeting in the evening.  Tuesday is a little slower with writing activities mixed with house work during the day, a little family time, and a second Bible Study.  I am never quite sure my entire schedule on Wednesday.  Some mornings, I have my 4th Day group and I like running errands.  In the evening, I did have photography class, but this is over and I am going to work at keeping this evening free though last night I helped my daughter babysit until two in the morning.  Uff da!!!  Thursday’s I get to stay in my pajamas as long as I like in the morning with writing and housework as my only must dos.  Every other Thursday evening I help with my daughters Girl Scout troop.  On Fridays, I usually get to rest, but this week I have to hit the editing harder; plus, we are having an overnight troop activity.  My weekends are quiet and calm with just church and cleaning a computer office building which takes a little over an hour.  However, after last night, I need to work harder on the writing.

                As I reread one of the middle scenes in chapter 5, I realize it was horrid.  I needed to do a 20 minute rewrite that I learned from Natalie Goldberg.  My verbs were at a 1:0 ratio of active verses passive.  Instead of a fifteen minute edit, this put me into an hour to two hour edit if I am lucky on one single scene.  My hope of getting three chapters done in a ten hour week crumbled.  I know the rest of the novel will be this way because looking at the edits from this spring, I only made it through chapter 4.  The book is 13 chapters with no ending as of yet.  I am not sure how many hours I will now have to do in a week to get the book finished this month.  I see my next three weekends packed with editing.  Ugg!

                My motto for the month is “just keep editing, editing, editing.”  One author I know via the internet talks about all the fun he has with his writing career.  On many days, I agree with him wholeheartedly.  Today?  I am not going to think about the long hours of polishing, pulling verbs out of thin air, sitting my butt in the chair, ignoring my poor gardens that need a fall cleaning, and all of that.  Instead, I am going to listen to loud music and thank God I don’t have a day job to make this work twenty times harder.  I am also going to hope that my family doesn’t notice the extra chores they are going to get in the next three weeks and the missing matriarch of the house.

                Blessings.