Friday, November 26, 2010

NaNoWriMo Winners Celebrate the Season

Today is Black Friday which has nothing to do with Good Friday even although Wikipedia seems to want to mention both in one mouthful. All Black Friday has to do with religion is that it's the official beginning of the Christmas holiday shopping season.

Friday is Challah Day
Thanks to the weather gods we were able to make it to our friends' house for Thanksgiving. The arctic storm that crippled most of greater Seattle had us running a high cabin fever after nearly four days spent at our own home. While I feel no urge to participate in Black Friday shopping sprees (which can start as early as 3:00 a.m.), I did wake up at 4:00 a.m. and a friend who lives nearby, noted that his toddler woke up at 4:40 a.m. babbling non-stop until 11:00. Makes you wonder what's in the air.

You may have noticed I rely heavily on html links to explain whatever strange or foreign notions I introduce in my posts. This of course to cut down on the number of words I have to type myself. Economy is a cherished word when it comes down to running a message home. Editors, especially those who have limited funds/ space love contributors who know how to be concise.

That you may and can use more words than strictly necessary, as is the case when writing a first draft for a novel, can be a surprising notion for well trained journalists. But when will they ever experience such liberating moments? The answer to that question is November. Participants in the National Novel Writing Month, the so called NaNo Writers, don't have to deal with the restrictions of word count, at least not on the low side. The more words you type, the merrier. After all, the aim is to write 50,000 within a 30-day frame. In order to make the score by November 30th a writer has to produce 1,667 words per day.


Never thought I could write a novel in a month, but November 21st marks the day when I scored my 50K. Since I wasn't finished with my story, I kept on writing. The day before Thanksgiving I used Scrivener to compile my 48 sections into one long Word document, which I scrambled and uploaded at the NaNoWriMo site for word verification. On Thanksgiving my green word count bar turned purple with 59,484 words (at the time) the DutchessAbroad was a  Winner! or as my number one supporter and fan said "his number one weener". I'm pretty sure he means Wiener cause a weener is a looser, but then, I'm the writer in our family, he's the musician. As long as he sings his songs for me, I won't hold it against him.



To be honest, I became hooked on writing an average of 2288 words a day, so much better than my earlier 500 word count average. So I continued joining my Online NaNoWriMo Warrior friends to continue hammering out the words, even on Thanksgiving day.

Today, on Black Friday however, I set down for the 10 a.m. Word War and instead of writing new material, I started reading my manuscript. I know there's still a lot of work ahead of me, editing, rewrite or revision, moving scenes around, filling in, and a lot of cutting. Still, I know I'm on a roll, thanks to NaNoWriMo the Black Friday starts a new season, no shopping involved merely hunkering down, letting out the critic, honoring my editor and writing on.

What writerly adventures are you starting continuing or embarking on this season?

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NaNoWriMo Editor/Devil - Git Friendly or Git!

Hi, my name is Judith and I'm an editor 

Initially I wrote incorrigible editor, but that would have been too funny. Eternal editor comes close, it sounds like a sentence for life, or a life sentence. Internal editor, I could settle for that, but for the fact that "I am an internal editor", doesn't really cut it. I would have to change the beginning and make it something like: "My eternal editor has woken up", or, "this morning my internal editor woke me up and started arguing right off the bat." Whichever way I put it, my eternal editor started bashing the internal one, and since my Ego and ID were caught in between, I had to get up.

If you think the editor in me is keeping me from writing you're mistaken.

Nobody can keep me from writing. Not even the little devil that sits on my shoulder impersonating everyone I've ever known, who has said that there's nobody in hell (or on earth for that matter) who could be interested in one more original story. 

"What could you possibly have to tell (that's new)?" in other words, "There's nothing new under the sun", or the unintentional (one hopes) "There's enough BS being published already."

A real road block is thrown in the writer's path by relatives exclaiming "I don't want to know (read: the world to know) that my uncle was a crook."

The editor in me lets me write up a storm, but on a different level, she starts correcting my words and sentences, or challenging me, saying: what if this or that happened in such and so way. This is something I can live with any other day, week, or month, but not during NaNoWriMo.

The whole idea of participating in National Novel Writing Month is that you go with the Flow and write like the devil is after your very own butt. For most writers that's not a hard notion to imagine.

Until Day #15 I was doing fine, every now and then I'd start dreaming during a Word War (when NaNo Warriors who have found each other on FaceBook start writing like fiends at the word GO and compare word count when TIME is called after one hour) but I'd whip myself back on track.

On Day #16 I was struggling with how and where I wanted the story to go. Was Sophie going to force Nita to tell Jake the truth while visiting her parental home, or could I delay that moment, or was the keeper of the gate who guards my own family's secrets trying to throw me for a loop. 
Too Much Information (is this me or my internal editor, the cute little pesky devil on my shoulder, or the devil in disguise saying this?). I started reading instead of writing and before I knew it time was up and my word count had dwindled.

Day #17 I confronted my personal antagonists, told them to either shut up, or work for me, that I wouldn't stand for their B.S. anymore. Help me or Git Already! Got that!

At the end of the day I entered my last total word count, which was 37,161 or a daily average of 2,185 which isn't bad at all considering that you have to produce an average of 1,667 per day to reach the aim of 50,000 words by November 30.

So, notwithstanding adversaries like internal editors and critical little devils, I'm still ahead of the game. I've got my ducks lined up and go with the Flow once more. Today's word count (so far) is 3,088 —what does that tell you?).


How do you get them internal and external editors, critics and devils to shut up or become your allies?






Creative Commons License
This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Sunday, November 07, 2010

NaNoWriMo YAY or NAY Sayers -Git Already!



Don't you ever do —have you never done— any kind of timed writing? How about the Dadaists' automatic hand writing, how about the Flow, the good old meditative stream of consciousness stuff that informed and inspired the popular Writing Down the Bones, Morning Pages and all that Jazz? 

You mean to say you sit there poised for the right word, pen on paper fingers on the keys, thumbs on the phone pad, thinking hard, harder, hardest, slow and carefully for-mu-la-ting that thing, that one and own-ly word that will do?

~~~~~~~~~~Been there, done that, still do it —when the time is ripe— says the NaNoWriMo enthusiast. Get there after I've got the idea down, after I've grabbed the sucker and hammered the notion, letter by letter, key-by-key, so the essence, the heart of the matter won't escape me, won't fly off, disappear into thin air ~~~~~~~~~~

"Ideas lie in the gutter by the hundreds, the trick is to pick them up and do something with them," said Hector Vilche a brilliant creator who painstakingly filled tiny squares in different hues of the same color, side by side, while contemplating larger paintings, sculptures, art installations and bigger than life staged productions

Troubadour and visual artist Bobby Bridger wove hundreds of seed beads in intricate patterns or dotted canvases the Aboriginal way, while composing rhymes and music for his epic Ballad or musical fairy tale in his head.

Creative minds such as Vilche and Bridger understand the dynamics of creativity.

Whether you sew, paint or write, the seeds of your effort will germinate and come harvest time, you're well prepared to add the finishing touch.

While still known as NaNoWriMo it's no longer just a National wordsmiths' effort to finish at least the scaffolding for a Novel by Writing 50,000 words in one Month. NaNo-ists down under in New Zealand were the first to start typing the night after Halloween, one minute into the 1st of November.

Groups such as NaNoWarriors participate in Word Wars. Triggering writers all over the world take their seats close to the whole hour four times per 24-hours waiting for a fellow member to give the GO! sign followed by TIME-UP! one hour later. It's nothing but "timed writing" y'all!

So, get down with your bad shit and turn on the timer, git with it already, the words are waiting! If you need more encouragement check out The NaNoWriMo Daily!

What do you say, nay or yay?


This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License