NaNoWriMo Week 4: Last Letter Home

I finally received your letter.

Your news is difficult to accept. One always thinks of the trenches as the place where one loses ones comrades. The news of death at home, where things are supposed to be safe and apart from the battles we fight, has shaken me to my core. Words cannot express my grief at this news. Our poor girl. She will be missed.

I find that this news colors my last week in the trenches. It should be a time of celebration. The war is almost won. The first wave of soldiers has already made it home. And yet, all I can think about is what will not be waiting for me when I get home.

In the meantime, I try to refocus my energies and keep true to the task at hand. My victory will still be a victory; I know now that unless an unexpected attack comes, I will succeed in my mission. But somehow this victory seems hollow. The whole experience has seemed tiresome. Not as I remembered it.

I have a few more duties to complete for my comrades at arms, and then I shall be free to lay down my arms. Possibly for good this time. I have spent ten years dedicated to a cause that I find I no longer believe in. I do not believe I can fight this fight anymore, nor lead people into this fight another year.

I am tired, my love. I look forward to a long rest when I return. Perhaps I will tell you all about my tour in greater detail when I am back in the arms of familiarity and the comfort of my normal routine again. I cannot tell you how much I long for things to go back to normal.

Soon, my love. This tour is almost done.

~S

NaNoWriMo Week 4: The Homestretch

The Homestretch might seem like a better title for last week, the stretch of NaNoWriMo that I got to spend at home. My NaNo vacation was not quite what I expected it to be. I had a hard time forgetting about work. I was on the phone with work pretty much every day, so it was always on my mind, rather than being able to pretend I was a full-time writer like I originally planned. Additionally, our family dog, who has been a near-constant presence for me ever since I started writing, died on Friday. You can read more about her on my blog. Overall, I would say it is the worst NaNo vacation I’ve had in the four years I have been doing this.

That being said, despite my generally cynical outlook, I did meet my writing goals for the week. I wanted to average in the neighborhood of two to three thousand words a day. I wrote a little over twenty thousand words during the week. As I type this, I am less than five thousand words from winning NaNoWriMo. There is little doubt that I am going to win, barring any unforeseen catastrophe.

In many ways, NaNoWriMo is a lesson in the writing life. There are going to be a lot of days when you don’t feel like writing, when you don’t have the time you expected to have. You are going to be trying to write happy scenes when you are depressed and depressing scenes when you are happy. Your novel is not going to care about what is happening in your life and the relationship between the writer and the work starts to feel parasitic. There isn’t much you can do about it. Just keep pushing forward and hope for the best.

Neil Gaiman says that you write when you are inspired and you write when you aren’t, but when you look back you can’t tell which words you wrote when you were inspired and which ones you wrote because they needed writing. I think about that a lot in my approach to being a productive writer. NaNoWriMo is a good way to learn that sort of persistence. It is so easy to fall behind if you stop for even a day, and a few days away can quickly add up to what seems like an insurmountable challenge.

In November, I face my busiest month of the year, holidays with friends and family, inclement weather, and a host of other things that would easily be excuses to not get in my fifty thousand words. In the end, I have always reached my goal, and I am very proud of that.

Five thousand words. It seems like nothing now, as if I could sit down right now and hammer them out. The torture of the blank page, of not knowing my story and wondering if I can sustain it, has changed in to the bliss of reaching the climax and discovering how it all turns out for my merry band of professional killers.

I am excited to reach the end. Things have taken shape that I didn’t expect, and I think the final scenes will be a lot of fun to write.

Current word count: 45,000

Writer’s Log, Day 19

Guess what! I found a plot!

Guess what! I broke the Wednesday curse!

Guess what! Yeah me too. I’d also like to know what comes next.

I managed to write a solid 1800 words today progressing the plot in a direction I’m mostly pleased with. Yay! I’m managing to stay on par (barely) but for the first time in my NaNo career, I’ve had days where I ended below par.

I don’t like it.

Like, seriously. This year is hard, y’all.

I procrastinated on writing this and it’s late at night and I’m tired so…

Captain out. Keep with the wording.

NaNoWriMo Week 3: Third Letter Home

Dearest,

We are at the height of battle. My comrades and I move ever forward, meeting our enemy and emerging victorious more often than being overcome. We have fallen into a routine. Sometimes that routine is thwarted by unexpected obstacles, but still we perservere. The end seems not as far off this week. We have crested the rise, so to speak, and can see in the distance our final destinations. We are encouraged.

I have finally felt as though I have gotten my wits about me and my feet underneath me. I feel as though I no longer flounder like the rookies. We still have a ways to go and I miss you terribly, but only the length of what we have already endured yet remains.

I will make it home to you. This is swear.

All my love,
~S

NaNoWriMo Week 3: The Full-Time Writer

thumbDid I mention that November is Hell?

This November has been the worst I can remember in terms of demands upon my time, even more so than the grad school years of 2012 and 2013. This week brought another 55-hour work week at my day job, which left very little time for keeping up on NaNoWriMo. The half-way party also meant another lost day. My writing came in large chunks, especially day 10 and 16, which encompassed over 6,000 words of my count for the week.

I am on vacation from the day job this week. I like to take a few days off during NaNoWriMo and fall in to what would probably be my normal full-time writing schedule. I am hoping for between 2000 and 3000 words each morning with editing on other projects in the afternoon. I am only a day behind as I write this. By the end of the week I ought to be sitting pretty going in to week four. It will be nice to do nothing but write, even if it is on a temporary basis. I think that is the fantasy of a lot of writers. So few actually get to do it. It will be nice to pretend that I am one of them for a week.

Very Dangerous People is going well. I made a discovery that will have a profound impact upon my story’s conclusion, a secret that I can’t share. I need to save it for any of you that may read the book in the future. That is one of the joys of “pantsing” (writing without an outline). I’ve had a character change genders on me, and now another character has an agenda that I never knew was there.

I’m happy with the story, and while I know there is going to be a lot of work to do after November, I have high hopes that the novel will be worth it. This should be the best NaNoWriMo yet.