NaNoWriMo inspires mixed emotions. At one end of the spectrum, excitement and anticipation turn me into a nervous, exhilarated bundle of energy. In another, I dread the certain pitfalls and stumbling blocks. Hours of my time is spent obsessing over the various ways NaNo might go wrong, how my story could falter, and strategies to overcome these. At the end of October, though, the starting line draws near. It’s sink or swim in my blank page.
This year brought a host of stresses and distractions all the way through the summer which sabotaged my plans to develop a much firmer outline with clear milestones, a fine-tuned progression, and clean subplots. Every year I have an excuse. In 2011, I wanted to break the cycle and absorb the lessons of years past. I need an outline and fine detail.
Empty index cards live in my backpack. Only a few incidental prep posts scattered among the ‘net, my blog, and NaNo forums suggest I was thinking about matters at all. I pulled together my outline — the subject of another post — in the course of three days, after a serious consideration of dropping out of NaNo this year all together because I wasn’t prepared. Not with a full time job, a new relationship, myriad other reasons.
Because it’s not about 50,000 words for me. It’s about finishing a story I prepared.
November 1 rolled over. I wasn’t up at midnight at my desk ready to go. In fact I don’t even have a desk, a point of sore contention and longing for me. Not in the cards right now, simple as that.
This morning, did I long for nothing more than my laptop to write? No. I felt a sense of obligation, the usual net worth of “should, must, ought” and the rest dragged up from the abyss. But no passion about my novel, no revving engine begging me to go. I think so much of my energy derives from helping others, joining the NaNo writing group, and seeing the competitive white noise of word count and graphs climbing. Is it cause for concern? Yes and no. The first few days always pass without the competitiveness or eagerness to take hold. I have traditionally not kicked ass and took names except for last year, when NaNo’s siren call was heard over a ruckus of the kick off party and clattering keyboards all around. No write-ins in the first half of the week ALL MONTH in my new region contributed to no massive word count.
After work, I settled in to the reality I have to write. I have a scene to do and while I know the objectives, I have no idea of how to set things. An espresso bar called my name. I armed myself with delicious green tea latte magic, and started to write. False starts accompanied the first line multiple times. I reorganized order. Halfway through I realized the scene went in a wrong direction, giving no play time to the main character and little if any justification about what she was doing there. Far too much time was given over to who showed up, and gives them away too soon. Far better to have Eamonn and Vesper meeting for an obvious reason, discussing his notes, and that not working out. I think I can write it in tomorrow.
Then I’ll continue on. I got the prologue and chapter one done despite the missteps and a damned cat on my lap, thinking I am full of snuggles and love. No pets, I’m typing.
No deleting, either, which I am proud of.
4,500 words, a change of perspective (3rd to 1st) and point of view (E to V), I am going along on a new journey. It’s easy to make word count from a first person. This is different than third, and I’m not sure what I think o