Tuesday, November 11, 2008

NaNoWriMo Update

Wow! I've passed the 12,500 word mark, and am thus 25% of the way to the 50,000 word goal for November 30. It's been pretty darn amazing -- nearly miraculous -- to get this far while sharing Keith's computer not only with Keith but also with Elizabeth who has essays to type, e-mail to keep up with, and a blog she tries to update at least a few times per week.

I need to switch up my plot a bit. I was thinking about going for a romantic angle, but I think I've decided not. I'll have to revise, or perhaps even omit, the dream sequence, but it's short and I can revise it fairly easily.

The sheer lack of outline -- or even planning -- with which I am tackling my approximately 2000 words per day is unsettling to me. I am a write-by-the-outline kind of of writer -- expository writing is my thing. With tons of research. Loads.

But, in considering my nonfiction project I've been working on for several years now, I think I've hidden behind my research. It's so easy to convince oneself that more research is needed in this or that area before starting to write. Thus drafting is put off again. And again.

I have a very thick binder chock full of research. Yet because I feel woefully inadequate to tackle my subject -- I'm no church history expert or liturgist -- I keep finding reason after reason to continue reading and researching, rather than tackling my subject head-on and researching as I go. As necessary.

So this NaNoWriMo novel project is forcing me to see that I can indeed write "on the fly," so to say. I've allowed this story to develop organically, springing forth ideas as it grows, sending out shoots this way and that, climbing a trellis here and there. So far, so good.

I can't put into mere words the freedom I feel as I write this way. Usually we ISFJ's (the Meyer-Briggs personality delineation) need closure in everything we do. I'm not sure how this work is going to end. I'm not sure where it's going. I have an idea of where I want to take it, but it's more taking me along for the ride. I have little control. And it's immensely FREEING.

When I sit down to write, I don't pause to think: I just let words and phrases, sentences and paragraphs, flow from my fingers to the keyboard and then to the screen. I can not go so far as NoNoWriMo suggests and turn off my spellchecker -- I must have words spelled right -- but I am writing more freely than I ever have before. I'm allowing very little self-editing, and once a paragraph is there, it stays. I don't second guess myself or analyze -- that's for December and January when I plan to edit. I'll take some with me tonight to our monthly writing workshop group -- I'll have to e-mail it to Keith so he can print it up as his computer doesn't interface with the printer.

Speaking of computers, Veneta called a short time ago and said that she may have my laptop fixed! I'll check it out after Class Day on Thursday. She took off *thirteen* trojan viruses and put on some good protection that will keep 'em off. She also took several programs off the start-up menu so my computer will no longer take 15 minutes to start each morning. I'm looking forward to getting my computer back -- I'll then be able to type in the evenings when Keith is home and I'll be able to catch up on NaNoWriMo. Although I've written for a short time this morning and passed the 25% mark, I should be at the 16,000 word mark by the end of the day. I doubt I'll catch up that much, especially with writing group tonight and essays to grade for Thursday, but I should be able to make some excellent headway over the weekend.

And if I have my laptop back, I'll take it to the library and write there. I always write best away from home, away from, ringing phones and children who need this or that. And Keith's PC, nice as it is, is not portable in the least so I've been tied to his desk since the beginning of the project. Think how much I'll get done when I become FREE of this darkish corner of my kitchen and can work anywhere. I can't wait.

So NaNoWriMo is far more successful than I thought it would be for this nonfiction writer. Who would have thunk?

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