Still chugging along, still tired as ever.

Saturday night we got a rare chance to go “out”, just my wife and I. We went to a surprise birthday party for a friend at one of the local hangouts we used to frequent. I was a pretty good time, even though we only stayed out for a couple hours. Everybody that saw my wife remarked at how much she was smiling and how happy she looked. Yes, we need to get out more often. 🙂

That night, around 9:00 or so, I was finally able to sit down and attempt to work on my nanowrimo novel. That’s where the fun began. Now, I knew I needed to write at least 1,667 words, but I was blinking the entire time, trying to stay awake. Then it happened. Let’s call it the phantom sentence.

I guess I entered into a half asleep/half awake state, and must have been dreaming a little because I looked up at the computer screen and saw a sentence that did not fit the story at all. At all! It was a real sentence, with verbs, nouns, and prepositions all in the proper order, but other than that it had no business being in the novel. I quickly deleted this intruder and kept on writing, winding up with a disappointing but not catastrophic 1,110 words for the night.

Now I’m wishing I hadn’t delete this sentence. Maybe it was the meaning of life, right there on the screen and I just deleted it. Or maybe it was my grocery list for the next day. I’ll never know for sure.

Anyhow, I’m 35,000 words into this thing, with a week remaining. I’m enjoying writing and have learned a lot more about writing. Still, it will be nice to get some rest next month.

The Towel Remains Unthrown – For Now

#nanowrimo moment of truth for me tonight. If I can’t get close to my goal for today, I’m throwing in the towel.

That was a tweet I posted last night through rapidly blinking eyes, just after we got everybody in bed and I settled down at the computer to begin my NaNoWriMo writing for the day, 0 out of 2,000 words written. This wasn’t one of those woe is me posts. I really meant it.

I’m just feeling really exhausted lately. It’s throwing me off a bit. Yes, I quit drinking pop. However, I’m still drinking coffee, so I don’t think it’s a lack of caffeine. Maybe it’s just the 15 days in a row of staying up until midnight. Or maybe it’s the baby waking us at 5:30 AM every morning and the hockey game at 6:30 AM. Whatever it is, I’m running on fumes. Again, that’s just weird because I have conditioned my body to function on very little sleep now that we have kids.

Take the events before I wrote that tweet. Gave the son a bath, played a little wii fit, fought with the daughter over what clothes she would sleep in (she HAS to choose), and then finally I read to my daughter in her bed to get her to sleep. The night’s literary masterpiece was Garfield the Easter Bunny.

I love reading to my daughter, but last night was a struggle. In fact, I fell asleep while reading and wound up dreaming and speaking words that weren’t in the text. I can only imagine what she thought of this, though she must not have noticed because she would have corrected me. Anyhow, once I finished reading, she rolled over and closed her eyes, meaning she was ready to sleep. And I closed my eyes just for a moment, to rest them of course. Eventually, I drug myself out of her bed and trudged to the computer, that word count taunting me.

The only thing keeping me writing right now is my competitive spirit and all of you. I mean I spent the whole of last month talking about NaNoWriMo and getting you all worked up for writing in November. I couldn’t very well give up, not halfway through the month.

I wound up writing 1,700 words somehow. Maybe it was the popsicle power boost. I’d didn’t make it to my daily goal of 2,000, but I got close enough to keep going for another day.

And so it is. I write on. One day at a time. Anticipating the day when I face reality and just give up, but also pushing that fateful day back each time I meet my goal.

NaNoWriMo – 0 for 2

What’s that sound? Oh, that’s just the sound of the wheels coming off. Nothing to see here. *hurl*

So, yeah, I did absolutely no writing the past two days. Zero words. That leaves me with 11,634 words written for the month. About 1,702 words behind.

What happened? Well, we drove to Pittsburgh on Saturday morning and returned on Sunday. I was too exhausted to write either night.

Now, I did build in five days of no writing into my play before the month started. So technically, if I average 2,000 words a day for the remaining days, I can still miss three more days and still hit 50,000 words. That said, being this far behind is a scary thing.

Let’s not think about that. Instead, why not check out this amazing animated short: Pigeon Impossible.

NaNoWriMo Day 5 – 9,731

As of last night I’m at 9,731 words, less than 300 words off my goal of 10,000 (to average 2,000 words a day). Last night was a struggle for sure. Yes, I wrote 2,000 words, but I nearly fell asleep while writing and was up until midnight.

Right now I wish I really was Mario, because I’d eat a flower or mushroom or leaf and power-up. Unfortunately, I’m not Mario and if I eat at least one of those things I could get arrested.

I will know by the end of the weekend if the wheels have come off or if I pull out a miracle. It really is 50/50 at this point.

Still, I’ve written a lot and I feel good.

Let’s Hear it for the Pantsers

Well, I’m in day two and have a bit over 4,000 words written. I’ve been up to midnight both nights, but am very happy with my progress.

I have to say, I’m happy with my pants-ness. Yes, I did do a bit of planning, but I’m still doing most of the writing by the seat of my pants. I’m coming up with little plot twists and characterization that I just wouldn’t create in the planning phase. I have to say it feels fun to write right now. Very cool.

It’s funny. I thought about this story for a couple weeks straight, trying so hard to come up with an outline. It just wasn’t happening. It seems my brain just doesn’t work that way.

What I do have, as far as planning goes, is a few sentences of what should happen in each chapter. This is my guideline, and has helped immensely. It’s also what I need for chapters to come.

NaNoWriMo Update – Day 1

Well, I eeked out 2,000 words on Day 1 of NaNoWriMo. I hit my goal the first day, at least. I’d be very surprised if I can keep this pace, but I know I can’t think that way. Just have to take it one day at a time.

Hopefully, I can post more than my word count totals this month, but not today. In addition to writing, I have four pieces I need to critique for my writing group meeting tonight. Lucky for me, they are all interesting to read.

How are all of you NaNoWriMo’ers and Non-NaNoWriMo’ers doing?

Advice on NaNoWriMo


Well, in less than a month it will be National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Are you ready?

I’m not ready yet, and I haven’t even decided yet if I’m participating. It might be a game time decision. That said, I did “win” NaNoWriMo the last two years, so I figured I’d share what I’ve learned with all of you who are going to participate. Plus, writing this just might push me in the direction of participation.

My NaNoWriMo Advice

  1. Math Matters – 50,000 words in 30 days. That means you need to average 1,667 words a day. Write less on one day and you have to make it up on another. It really is that simple.
  2. Calendar Matters – No go get a calendar and turn to November. Anything jump out? Thanksgiving? Are you really going to write 1,667 words that day? If not, adjust your words/day count (it’s 1,724 words per day if you count on 0 for Thanksgiving Day).  Be realistic with yourself. If you don’t think you will be as productive on weekends, adjust your word per day count accordingly.
  3. Start STRONG – Use that opening day momentum and write as many words as you can on the first day of NaNoWriMo. This will give you a bit of cushion for those days when inspiration isn’t there or you are just too busy to write.
  4. Don’t fall behind – Do not go to bed without hitting your word count for the day. You fall behind a bit one day, and you will just have that much more to write the next.
  5. Planning helps – I’m not much of a planner or outliner, but the more planning you do this month, the easier it will be to write next month. Put it this way, if you are planning in November, you are taking time away from writing.
  6. You are writing draft 1 – Don’t worry about getting things perfect. You won’t. Just remember the point is to get a first draft down on paper/ones and zeros. Editing can happen another month.
  7. Have fun with the community – There are thousands of people taking part in NaNoWriMo. Befriend a few of them and keep each other honest. This is key for those who have trouble with self-motivation.
  8. Have fun with the writing – 50,000 words is a challenge, and it can be quite torturous. Still, have fun with it.
  9. Caffeine!

Stick to those points and I think you have a shot at being successful in November. Anybody have anything to add?