Monday, November 22, 2010

A sweeping saga of excuses

So you may have noticed that I've gone very quiet on the NaNoWriMo front? After a barn-storming 10,000 words in the first week, happily announced, not so much as a peep. The truth is that there's not been that much more to add. In two weeks, I've put on about 5,000 words, which leaves me 35,000 to write this week. Hmmm. Not bloody likely.

I've been thinking about how I feel about this. On one hand, I tend to like to achieve goals, particularly public goals. I thought that by announcing to all and sundry that I'd taken on the NaNoWriMo challenge, I'd be more likely to actually get there. But life got in the way. As it does.

I've got excuses. Wonderful, creative, imaginative excuses. If I'd put as much effort into my word count as I have into my excuses, I'd have written Gone With The Wind by now. A sweeping saga of excuses. But it's not a bad analogy now that I think about it. Because I have come to the conclusion that I can think about it tomorrow.

According to my NaNoWriMo (or NaNoWriMeh as I've begun referring to it) stats, if I continue at my current pace I'll have my 50,000 words done by January 13. I've found that even doing an extra 500 words a day knocks about three days off that estimate. It's a great exercise in visualising the difference that it makes to write every day.

Right now, I have a whole lot of work that needs to be done (see, there's an excuse right there). People are waiting for it. People will pay me for it. At the end of the day, nobody is waiting for my novel. Well, no-one except me. But if I just keep chipping away at it, in the down times, it will happen. I'm okay with that.

In the meantime, I am whipping myself into a frenzy, promising myself a big last week. I'm aiming for 5000 words this week. Not 35,000, true. But respectable. I think I'll start tomorrow.

So NaNo friends, how are you faring? Is that 50,000 in sight?

{image: Kirby McDaniel Movieart


  1. Uh no. Real life getting in the way. Although I have made quite a lot of progress, and have sat down every night during November bar a couple of nights, there's no way I've done anywhere near the 50K.
    But it's been a good discipline I intend to keep up.

    I went to see the novelist Ali Smith talk last night and she made me completely re-think the way I write. She writes a paragraph or a sentence and then edits that. And then edits the paragraph. And then edits the paragraph before that. And then the section before that. And it grows organically - she says she can see what will come next, what it's telling her to write next. Whereas mine has been more like a jigsaw - I know the ending and write scenes haphazardly, out of sequence and all over the place and then try and fit them together.

    So maybe I'll try that!

  2. I have heard a bit about this and mostly it is people having the same issues as you are having. It is great that you have gotten started and a good way into the novel, right? Imo, take your time to write quality stuff and you will be glad afterwards :) Jen

  3. Oh I could write 50,000 words just on how to procrastinate and possibly just on my list of really good excuses (in fact I have added the word 'procrastination' as a posts label on my fledgling blog!).

    Just think of it as planning-time. It will make the writing-time so much more productive if you've had extensive planning-time :-) xxx

  4. I publicly announced nanowrimo and then dropped out on day 3. I think you're a superstar for getting as much done as you did. I love the nanowrimeh!

    When someone's offering you money and reminding you of deadlines it's very hard to keep plodding along with your novel.

    When you do get it done though....I reckon it'll be a goody, I love the way you write.

    Kirsty (Shamozal)

  5. Yes, I have to say that the idea of doing NaNo so publicly seemed to be the logical way to carry myself through it this year...and failed miserably.

    Yes, time, the holy dollar (all the more holy this close to Christmas, maybe?) and a bunch of other excuses masquerading as reasons rocked up. Yes, I'm disappointed I didn't make it to the 50,000. No, I'm not stopping. (Got an informal date with a few other tweeps to wrap our NaNo's, oh, about May next year... ;) )

    Along the way on the NaNo journey this year, I made some new writer friends, shared inspiration and support with a bunch of others, wrote a whole lot of stuff I didn't expect, and gained valuable insights into myself and my writing process. Seems like a win, to me. :)

  6. Whatever word count you reach by the end of this month is a great achievement, I wouldn't worry about making the magical 50,000. Better to have 15,000 you can actually use and are happy with than 50,000, most of which you can't, after all.

    I don't know if I'll make it or not. I seem to be forever playing catch-up with the stats but we'll see what this week brings.

  7. I think the fact you are even tackling a novel is an amazing achievement. You can't force words to come, they'll come when they're ready x

  8. relax and go back to writing because you want to write, rather than trying to meet an unreasonable false target. It will come when it's damn well ready

  9. NaNoWriMo. Dumbest name ever. Where the motivation? x

  10. Hi Al,
    Don't beat yourself up gorgeous. You've probably achieved more than you would have had you not signed up for NaNo because even though you're not writing 1677 words a day, you're thinking about it.
    I'm a huge fan of what you've written so far, the rest will fall into place.
    Nov is not the best time for writers in the Southern Hemisphere because we've got so many end of year school activities on, which our Nth American friends don't have. Plus it's summer...I could go on but I have to write. Good luck this week. Call me.

  11. I'm jealous that you are even attempting it. I would love to get started on a novel but the thought of it is too overwhelming so I seem to just keep putting it off with those excuses you talked about. First time here... you are an amazing writer.

  12. I had lofty aspirations...that sadly puddled along the floor after 2 weeks of illness and, yes, life getting in the way. On the upside, I like what I started so I'll continue. Perhaps I'll be done by the time the next NaNo rolls around? ;)

  13. Who says no-one is waiting for your novel. I am right here waiting :)

  14. I wonder how many NaNoWriMo'ers actually finish?
    I know I'll never do it.

  15. Great attitude!
    I'm totally impressed that you can write anything with multiple zeros at the end!
    I look at a word count and think 'assignments for uni' and I hated writing them!!
    Good luck. :)


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