Thursday, April 5, 2012
The Amazing Race
Someday I’ll learn to keep my big fat typing fingers shut.
About two weeks back, while commenting on a previous blog, I postulated how “easy” it would be to write a 90,000-word novel in a month. Just write 3000 words a day and in a month you’ve written 90,000 words. Simplicity itself. Then I compounded my stupidity by daring my readers to dare me to do it. They did. Double-dog dared me, in fact. You can’t turn down a double-dog dare, not and think to show your face in public.
Sooooo … I began my challenge Sunday, April 1. Less than 30 days from now I’d better have a stack of pages (I like paper) with 90,000 words on them or go crawl into a cave. NaNoWriMo came way early this year.
In theory, this is doable. Three thousand words a day isn’t all that much. There are plenty of writers who write that much or more already. If you’re lucky enough to be a full-time writer, you should hit that in a couple of hours. I’m currently “lucky” (i.e., unemployed) and finances won’t become a concern until sometime late next year. The stars have aligned themselves and spelled out, “Quit screwing off and do it.” Who am I to argue with the stars?
Let’s break it down further. For me, 1000 words equals roughly 2-1/2 to 3 pages, whether typed or longhand. Therefore, 3000 words equals 8-9 pages, 10 to be safe. Sounds like quite a pile, huh? Not if you do it in sections. Experience has taught me I can only go 4-5 hours straight before I peter out. Some days that isn’t possible. But who says I have to write 10 pages all in one go? If I can write 1000 words in the morning, another 1000 in the afternoon, and the third installment during commercials while watching American Pickers, I’m still in the ballpark. There goes the time excuse.
A bigger problem for me is which story those 90,000 words will be devoted to. I started this without a clear-cut project in mind. I’ve got ideas, but none of them have plots yet, and none of them are really crying out to be written at this point. I’ve learned the hard way not to force a story. That never turns out well. The one I just wrapped up blindsided me while I was trying to force a different one. The brain gets bored and pulls pranks on you. You want to keep your brain on your side.
Therefore, I’m changing the rules. I’m going to write 3000 words a day, spread over several projects. I’ve got one book and at least two novellas lined up. I’m confident one of them will pull ahead as the month progresses, and that’s the one I’ll end up focusing on. By the end of the month at least one project will be finished. If not, I’ll still have upped my productivity.
How am I doing so far? Eh …. I got off to a rocky start on Sunday, with only half my aimed-for wordage done. Since then I’ve averaged about 1500-2000 or so words per day. Too bad I’ve decided my flash/blogs for ShapeShifter Seductions don’t count, because that’s an easy extra 1000 words. This blog doesn’t count either. Fiction only. Them’s the rules.
On the upside, I finally wrapped up the novella I’d been screwing around with all through March. As for the book, I’m writing that in scenes until I figure out where it’s going. If that’s the one that hits and I run with it, I’ll go back and do it linear. Otherwise I should have at least two completed novellas and half of a novel to my name when the month finally ends.
Granted, so far it’s all been longhand. I might move faster and get more done if I type. If nothing else, I’ll get a more accurate word count. Also let the house- and yard work sit until after I've hit my daily goal. I haven’t reached it yet, but my lawn is mowed.
Can you write 90,000 words in a month? I say you can. Can I do it? Right now that’s looking iffy, but April’s barely started. I may still surprise myself. I’ll keep you posted.