Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I'm Baaaack!

Hey, everybody!  Thank you so much for sticking with me and coming by to comment even while my blog was on hiatus. It also came to my attention that I might have an award or two floating out there that I have to collect, which I will get to in the coming days. (And THANK YOU for that! You guys are the best.) I just wanted to say that you are awesome, and having you guys come by to say hello really brightened my days while I was slogging through those 50,000 words.

Which I did! I wrote over 50,000 words of my novel! 51,636 words, to be exact, including the ending.


And I'm feeling pretty proud of myself, actually, since over 47,000 of those words happened after November 15th, and a little more than 40,000 of them happened after the 25th. Yeah. Thanks to my husband, who took over the housework and kept me supplied with caffeinated food and beverages, I wrote 40,000 words in five days. And I'm tired. But that's okay, because I conquered the NaNo mountain.

And since this is a Wednesday post, we've got some wisdom coming through the brainwaves. (But only maybe a little - I'm tired, guys.)

When I first took on the NaNo challenge, I thought it would be totally doable. Actually, I thought I'd coast through it. 1,667 words a day? I thought, That's not even two hours' worth of word-vomit. No problem. I can be arrogant like that sometimes; it's not my best quality. But when November 16th came and I was still stuck at 4002 words, I thought I was in serious trouble. And I had no outline to speak of. I had several failed attempts at an outline, but no outline.

And on November 22nd, when my word count had topped out at 6,483? I thought I was toast. Which was really disheartening, because I really didn't want to still be cranking out my rough draft in the days leading up to Christmas. I wanted to be working on my picture books and my chapter book, and letting my novel marinate. It was an important goal for me.

But here's the difference: by November 22nd, I had an outline. I had a map. I knew where I was going, and I even had a plan for getting there. I also had John Green. On an endlessly repeating loop sometimes, but I digress.

And, of course, I stopped restricting myself. If I was stuck in a scene, I threw quality to the wind and let my internal editor make her notes in the margins and on the outline (and there were a lot of notes, believe me) and just wrote my way out of it. If I was really stuck, I skipped the rest of that scene and came back to it later, when I had written more and had a better sense of where everything was headed. I even allowed myself to veer off-outline once, and later found that what I had written was SO much better than it would have been if I had stuck to the plan. And most importantly for me, I knew that there were other writers, whom I have a LOT of respect for, who knew I had signed up for this. Meeting other people's expectations is a big motivator for me.

Does a lot of my NaNovel suck? Yup. But that's okay, because I can revise it. Revision is the fun part for me; it's the gravy. Cranking out the words is just tedious, but revising the story and crafting those words into something beautiful (or in this case, gory) is what it's about. Like I said a while ago, I'm a critique junkie.

So, that's my tiny piece of maybe-wisdom today. Have an outline, have someone or something to encourage you, and make yourself accountable to someone else. And know that it's okay to suck. Okay, so that's four tiny pieces. I'm tired; the ability to count is not important in moments like this.

Of course, after that 5-day caffeine binge, I have a migraine, so I'm going to sign off. More tomorrow on PiBoIdMo, which I also did this month.

And congratulations to all the writers who participated in NaNoWriMo! Even if you didn't make it to 50,000 words, you made a decision to start, and you started, which is something, in my book.


  1. Well done on doing Nano. It's quite an achievement and you should be very proud of yourself.

    CJ xx

  2. YAY--welcome back--and huge congrats! *tosses glitter, sparkles, and confetti* :)(

  3. Welcome back from NaNo Land. I was just there visting for the last month myself. I left there with a certificate of completion and feel as excited as you.

    I am so glad you were able to get it together at the end and I'm impressed by how much you pounded out at the end.

    Now relax and enjoy. We have a lot of blogs to catch up on don't we?

    Great job! Congratulations!

  4. Congrats on finishing!40k in 5 days is awesome.

  5. Wow! Congrats! That's a whole lotta writing the last few weeks!!!
    A huge accomplishment.

  6. hey, good job! I'm with you. When I got stuck I just wrote the first thing that came to my mind. I know the first thing is not alwyas the best thing, but if I mulled over it, it didn't get done. I also left my plot a few times, but who cares! we are done. I'm wearing my t-shirt as we speak!