Claudia Osmond ~ Reader, Writer, and Ruminator

Posts Tagged ‘NaNoWriMo 2010’

50,000 Words or Bust

In ruminating, writing on November 30, 2010 at 5:26 pm


Yeah, so today’s the last day for NaNoWriMo and I didn’t end up crossing the finish line. Actually, I didn’t even make it to the half-way point.

I was doing great until November closed in on us; until our home renos took over our lives due to a strict self-imposed deadline. Until I started a new job that’s been making my head explode with unfamiliar information every day, all day. And until I realized my husband, Jon, had to finish his Greek course and write the final exam by today.

And, well, considering I’m having the torkidlit group over next Wed night (a.k.a. self-imposed deadline) the renos kinda had to get done. Like, now. And considering I must fill my available brain space with new procedures and policies and lists and appointments and requisitions and the names of 90+ residents and, and, and, I’ve kinda had to use all my brain power and energy to do that. Like, now. And considering it would have been a bad thing for Jon to fail his course on account of him doing all the cooking and laundry and cleaning and chauferring and, and, and, while I was using what little spare time we have to write, I kinda decided that him finishing his course and passing his final exam today was more important than me finishing my manuscript.

So, for this year NaNo is a bust. But I DO have almost 20,000 words of a new manuscript that I’m so excited about getting back to, maybe once the major renos are done. And maybe once I’m settled into my new job to the point where I’m not going cross-eyed and my brain has stopped bleeding out of my ears. And maybe once Jon has eased his way out of trying to translate everything into Greek so I can understand him again and we can resume normal communications. Maybe once all these things have happened, then I’ll be able to pick up and finish the first draft of my darling new wip.

The phases and stages of life…

Even though I’m not able to cross the 50,000 word finish line today, I don’t feel like I’ve lost the race. I just feel like I’ve taken the scenic road instead.


In writing on November 5, 2010 at 10:54 am

It was only a matter of time, I know.

NaNo Day 5 and I’m struggling. Not because I’m stuck; because I’m facing a scene I don’t want to write.

Willow has just overheard the tail-end of an exchange between her parents, and she’s not sure what to make of it. Her mother’s response was extreme and very uncharacteristic of her. Willow is standing, frozen, in her bedroom doorway.

I’m sitting, frozen, at my computer.

I don’t want her to know what I know.

UPDATE: Willow now knows. I think I might have to either jump ahead or back in the story to continue writing. Don’t know if I have the fortitude to stay in her head at the moment.

When Quantity Trumps Quality

In writing on November 4, 2010 at 11:51 am

Do you have any idea how liberating ramble-writing is?

The great thing about this NaNo business is that it’s all about word count. All. About. Word count! It’s all about quantity, not quality. I can write complete drivel and it’s all good! It matters! It counts! When I’m at a loss as to where to go next with my story I can just ramble-write and pat myself on the back for making – even surpassing! – my word goal for the day.

I’ll ask you again: Do you have any idea how liberating ramble-writing is?

My day 3 NaNo revelation was this: Instead of being and staying stuck at a plot point, I can (and must!) ramble-write my way out of it. Since my main concern here is dropping as many words as possible each day, when I get stuck I can’t afford to sit around checking facebook, tweeting tweets, hunting for snacks, making another pot of coffee, writing blog posts (uh …), humming and hawing about how to write my way around, over, or under the wall I’ve hit. I just grit my teeth and write right through it! I write whatever comes to mind, no matter how loosely tied (or not even) to the plot it is. It’s a killer for me, but you know what? I’ve found that it’s entirely possible for a solid, plot-strengthening idea to emerge from the rubble.

That’s what happened last night. I was ramble-writing, oh was I ramble-writing! (Racked up a good number of words, I’ll tell you!) When, lo and behold! out of the jumble of black on white poked a couple of tiny golden threads. And to my sheer delight I found that those glittery little things were attached to a solid idea. So I grabbed hold of those threads, jumped back to the beginning of my wip, and weaved a brand-new first scene, which, I think, is a pretty darn good one! Better than the original one I had, that’s for sure! And it gives the story a way more secure foundation.

Being the chronic reviser that I am, I’ve never allowed myself to write crap on purpose (operative term being: on purpose. Crap that sneaks in and is only detected upon closer scrutiny, if ever, well, you know, … happens). But I’m starting to realize that I’ve been selling myself short all these years by being so fussy and all Little Miss Perfect about it. By not wanting to muddy my precious manuscript with blah, blah, blah. It’s only thanks to NaNo (and competitively watching all my writing buddies’ word counts soar) that I’ve allowed myself to write for the sake of getting words on paper. November 30 will come soon enough. And when it does, I’ll have a brand-new, 50,000 word, completed manuscript that needs cleaning up. And I will give my revising-self permission to have its hey-day then!

So, let me ask you one more time: Do you have any idea how liberating ramble-writing is?

Here we go NaNo, here we go! (stomp! stomp!)

In writing on October 31, 2010 at 1:31 pm

One day to go. And I’m ready for NaNo!

Storyline. Check.

Conflict. Check.

Endearing moments. Check.

More conflict. Check.

Climax. Check-ish.

Resolve. Uh … to be checked. (What? You can’t expect this pantser to have it ALL figured out!)

I ain’t ‘fraid of no NaNo!

Bring it on.

(Good luck, fellow NaNo-ers. Hope to skid across the finish line with you all.)

Seven Days til NaNo Can Change Your Life

In writing on October 25, 2010 at 5:21 pm

You know, being the pantser* that I am, I’ve managed to surprise myself these last few days. And that, in itself, is saying something. It takes a lot to surprise a pantser.

Let me explain:

With NaNoWriMo still being seven days away, and with me already having decided on my story and not wanting to lose any of the plot that’s coming to mind (and seeing how you’re not supposed to begin writing your actual novel until the gun fires) well, I’ve actually done a bit of outlining. Outlining! Yes! Me! And you know what?

I love my outline!

Granted, it’s extremely loose and resembles a worn-out, moth-eaten, shot-through hockey net. But an actual outline IS there, even if just barely. Some of the threads are holding! And I’ve fallen for those threads. They make me want to cry. I’ve never had this experience before, thus my surprise. (Am I crazy? Plotters, please tell me.)

My main reason for joining NaNo this year was to face my fear: My fear of thinking I’ll fail the challenge because of my obsessive revising tendencies. Fear of not being able to move forward at a pace that will reward me with 50,000 words at the end of 30 days. (Gah! That thought still makes my heart stop!) But I decided to do it anyway; decided to channel Hemmingway and with him declare, “The first draft of anything is sh*t!” And be okay with that. I’ll be okay with that and I’ll try my best to get my word-count in. And I’ll be a better writer because of it. Either that or I’ll be driven to drink.

So, I’ve already reaped an extra benefit from doing NaNo, and it hasn’t even officially started yet. Not only will I (hopefully) enjoy the experience of bulldozing my need to revise as I write, I may never again be afraid of outlining. (Geez, I sure do have a lot of writing hang-ups, don’t I?) I’ve already experienced the joy of having an (almost) outline, something I never thought was possible. I always thought the only way for me to write was to dive right in and ask if there’s any water later. (Most times there’s enough water. Other times … ouch!) But not being able (allowed) to start writing immediately, and having no choice but to wait and write down my ideas so I don’t lose them has resulted in something amazing. I actually have a foggy idea of where I’m headed!

Huh. Who woulda thunk that could be a good thing? Not this pantser.

*pantser = one who writes by the seat of her pants

Do you NaNoWriMo?

In writing on October 21, 2010 at 5:08 pm

I do!

Well, actually, this is the first year I’m attempting it. I’ve always been too afraid. (Now there’s an honest thing about me I left out of my “honesty” post a few columns over that way —> I’m afraid of NaNoWriMo* because it will force me to write in a continual, forward motion. For someone with revisionitis, that can be a scary thing. A scary thing, indeed.)

But I’m facing my fears and doing it this year. I’ve even got the badge to prove it:

I am an official participant!

Gah! 50,000 words! In 30 days! What am I? Nuts?

Breathe …

I’m okay.

I’ve currently got about 5 different ideas in my head, all elbowing each other out of the way; each trying to make its debut in my 2010 NaNoWriMo document. I’ve got 11 days before I have to play favorites. The quietest one will probably win. That’s how I usually handled my students when they were all vying to be first in line. The rowdies in my head aren’t behaving much differently.

The thing with NaNoWriMo is you either win, or … you don’t.

Well, as far as word count goes, anyway. You hit the 50,000 word mark by Nov. 30 and DING! DING! DING! You’re a winner! You don’t hit the 50,000 word mark by Nov. 30 and, well, you know. No bells or stickers for you.

But as far as I’m concerned, (here’s the teacher in me coming out again) as long as you’ve got a good chunk of words come Nov. 30 that you can shape into a novel at some point in time, you’re still a winner. As long as you’ve done your best.

I just really want the bells and stickers, that’s all.

So, here’s to NaNoWriMo! And to my sanity! Cheers!

*NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month