Monday, December 5, 2011

Just Keep Swimming

Every once in a while, I get really excited about a project and impose a timeline on myself that is... less than realistic. (Okay, I do it all the time). This time though, I figured I was on a roll. I finished my 50k for NaNoWriMo on November 23--a week early! So, it seemed perfectly logical that if I continued writing at that speed, I could have the first draft done sometime between Dec. 5-10.

It was a no brainer. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming...

Except, there's one thing people don't tell you about NaNo (and especially about what happens if you finish the day before Thanksgiving). As an author, 1667 words a day is not a lot. On a good day, I can do that in an hour. On an average day, it takes 1 1/2-2 hours, but you get the point. As long as I'm rolling, that is totally attainable. But, anyone who has done NaNo a few times can tell you--the world doesn't always cooperate with your schedule. That means you try to get ahead, because you don't know when you're going to get sick, have sick kids, have guests, have another project that people are paying you for so it has to take precedence...

So I was cruising along at at average of about 2250 words a day through the 23rd. Again, not an extreme amount--a couple hours of solid work a day. But doing it day in and day out takes a toll. Not because it's a large amount but because there's a deadline, and you're in a race, and whatever else causes you to panic. So when you "win," all this weight falls off your shoulders and you can breathe.

And you let yourself have a day off (and in this case, it was Thanksgiving...hello...). But when you're dealing with a holiday weekend, and/or a manuscript that is something you aren't used to or is giving you problems, a day off easily turns into two. Or three. Or hell, at that point why not take the whole four-day weekend like everyone else is? You deserve time off for good behavior too!

The thing is for me as a writer, time off makes it harder to get back in the swing. Words don't come easy, if at all. Characters I loved annoy me with their stupid decisions. I start to want to inhabit a different world--any other world. So, my long weekend "off" turned into a week and a half where my writing was off. I think I'm back on my game now, but I've trimmed my expectations back from the 2-2.5k a day to the 1667 of NaNo. Yes, my calendar still has goals in 2k increments, but that's just easier for me to keep track of.

All this means that the manuscript will not be done this week. Maybe next week. Hopefully for sure by Christmas. Definitely by New Years. But yeah... not this week.


  1. *nods* After my marathon writing those past few days, I COULD have kept it up and kept writing, and probably been nearly finished the book. But I slowed down to take a break and haven't gotten back into the swing of things. Brain is busted. I'm trying to get back in now with some major revisions to the first half so hopefully the unwritten stuff will fall into place.

    Mostly I want to nap.

  2. COUGH #sameperson COUGH. But, hey, life happens.

    *hums* Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

  3. Skyla, you wrote like a mad-woman in November. I'm not surprised your brain is busted. *pets* I give you permission to take a nap (at least a short one)

    LOL, Katee, was there ever any doubt we were the #sameperson?

  4. Know what you mean! Am I glad I did it once, but never again. Felt like a 'job'. :P


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