Tuesday, November 03, 2009

My NaNo adventure

I haven't posted much about writing in the last few weeks - but I have been doing it! Maybe that's even better than writing about it.

Around mid-October I started to seriously consider registering for NaNoWriMo. That's short for National Novel Writing Month and it happens every November.

The NaNo movement started small a few years ago but has blossomed to thousands of writers getting on the NaNo bandwagon, each with the goal of writing 50,000 words of the first draft of a novel from Nov 1-30 (or at least that's what one must do to 'win').

I was persuaded to dive in by some of the things Chris Baty wrote on the NaNo web site. I was even happier I had registered when I got my welcome email on October 27th. In it Baty makes three main points:

1. It's okay to not know what you're doing.
2. Do not edit as you go.
3. Tell everyone you know that you're writing a novel in November (basically so it's impossible to quit without losing a lot of face).

I especially perked up at point number 2. Because editing as I go is my modus operandi. But it makes for painfully slow writing. Here is an expansion of the "Do not edit point:

"...Editing is for December. Think of November as an experiment in pure output. Even if it's hard at first, leave ugly prose and poorly written passages on the page to be cleaned up later. Your inner editor will be very grumpy about this, but your inner editor is a nitpicky jerk who foolishly believes that it is possible to write a brilliant first draft if you write it slowly enough. It isn't. Every book you've ever loved started out as a beautifully flawed first draft. In November, embrace imperfection and see where it takes you."

So, having sent my inner editor on a much-needed holiday,  I've actually been free to write fairly quickly - for me. As of this afternoon, I've logged 6534 words of the aforesaid"beautifully flawed first draft." I'm simply not allowing myself to edit. Case closed.

I'm trying different ways of spinning this tale.

On Sunday I plunked it out at the keyboard.

On Monday I thought of using my old transcription tools and tried telling my story to my little Pearlcorder microcasette recorder and typing it from that (I have the playback machine with the foot pedal). That works fairly well if you can get into a smooth telling mode.

Today I tried writing in longhand with pencil, reading what I'd written back to the recorder and typing it as dictation. That may work the best, as my thoughts flow about longhand writing speed, and typing from dictation is a lot faster and easier on the neck than typing from copy.  

My daily goal is 2000 words. If I reach that six days a week, I'll be able to take Sundays off, which is my intention (although I did write on the 1st).

If you're interested in checking on my progress, my NaNo profile page is here.

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