Day 4

NaNoWriMo Day 4.

twittercatFunny enough, I guess I have to blame Nano’s super-slow web servers for getting an extra burst of writing done last night.

Was feeling tired and unwriterly, and decided I’d close up the ol’ Word doc for the night and start fresh in the morning. Tried to log onto the site to update the word count, but of course the site was down. (Who wants to bet that at this time next week, the site will be blazing fast and smooth sailing?) A maintenance notice indicated that the site would only be down for about thirty minutes, I figured I would wait till it was back up and kept the Word doc open to kill the time, which forced out an additional few hundred words in the hour it was down. Go technical difficulties!

I don’t think I’m going to get any work done once the voting starts closing on the East Coast and the numbers start rolling in — it’ll creep along a a painfully slow crawl for the rest of the night, but I’m gonna be hooked to every damn minute of it. (Right now, the election coverage is mind-numbingly idiotic. They have nothing to say yet, so they’re saying it LOUD and REPEATEDLY in the hopes that you won’t notice how lame their coverage is.) So will try to get a teeny bit of writing done today, although maybe it’s too much to hope that my brain will be able to focus at all. On anything other than the election, that is.

Day 3

NaNoWriMo Day 3. Um, so scratch that whole socializing = work theory. Day 2 was not a great day for the word count meter, and taught me a new lesson: javabeans is physically incapable of napping. She is physically capable of sleeping the whole night through, but not short, efficient cat-napping.

Well, it’s an old lesson I really ought to have learned by now — nearly a decade of convincing myself I’ll “only take a forty-minute nap” has yielded failure after failure, and yet I refuse to learn. Every time I yawn and look at the clock and think, “a short nap’ll do the trick.” And then I wake up six hours later, feeling refreshed but also very disappointed in self.

I did manage to write a couple hundred words, but they were mostly rearrangements of previously written snippets so I’m not counting them. By the way, this logistics of accurately calculating this whole word count thing is giving me a headache. How do y’all do it? I know it ought to be easy if you’re just writing start to finish, first to last, since you can just do a total word tally and figure out how many new ones have spawned since the last count. (Wouldn’t it be groovy if they all got down and bizzy and reproduced amongst themselves, like rabbits?) But I write out of order — I’ll think of a great bit for a later chapter, and I don’t want to lose it, so I’ll write it immediately. So when time comes to include that bit, I want to be accurate and not count it twice, if it’s been counted in a previous day.

Right now I’ve got a folder full of drafts, and have tried divvying them out to a new Word file a day to keep the word count straight. I am convinced there must be a better way.

I know, I make things more difficult than they need to be. And it’s only Day 3! I’m hoping to crank out a whole mess of words today (and “whole mess” may just be what I get) because I foresee being useless tomorrow — I will try to write, but after I vote (who knows how long that’ll take?) I’ll probably spend the entire day glued to cable news and alternating likkers. If it’s a good day, I’ve got wine at the ready, but the freezer’s stocked with vodka to dull the cold, harsh pain of a bad day.

Day 2

NaNoWriMo Day 2. Extending the desert island metaphor, last night was the night the cold reality of island living encroached on the grandiose dreams of building a Swiss Family Robinson-style treetop paradise, when my metaphorical tropical cabana collapsed into a sad mess of twigs and brush. Hey, I ain’t no carpenter. Instead, I had to settle for metaphorical sleeping (er, “writing” — perhaps the only time where sleep = work?) in the open air, underneath some banana leaves for shelter. Kind of like a hobo sleeping under sheaves of newspaper.

But it’s okay, because I’m not writing a Salinger-esque New Great American Novel, and even if I was trying to, the point of Nano isn’t literary perfection so much as it is to just get that first vomit draft out, already.

I’ve edited and critiqued tons of other people’s work, and every time I come across a particularly heinous piece of writing — you’d be amazed at how crappy “professional” writers can be, and just how much the editor can do to improve a problematic writer’s draft — I think, “I could make this so much better in one pass.” But it’s a lot easier for me to edit than it is to fill a blank page, so that is my Nano strategy.

If nothing else, it’s that kind of thinking that helped me put down words in Chapter 1 yesterday. That, and also the fact that I was lazing around (google, snack, procrastinate, procrastinate, blog, google, snack) until a friend called with evening plans. All of a sudden I had a deadline — I agreed to go as long as I finished word count for the day — and bam! A thousand words came spewing out and somehow landed on that page. They even generally made sense!

Today, I’ve also got plans later, and am hoping that motivates me to get the word count down for Day 2, too. Ooh, maybe have stumbled on the secret for writing success! Maybe it is actually writing tool to cultivate MORE of a social life! Maybe will have to go out and enjoy self more, all in the name of work! And productivity!

Then again, not every day is Saturday.

Off to write. (And google, snack, blog, google, google.)

Day 1

NaNoWriMo Day 1. If we were using a desert island analogy, this is the day I crash-land on my desert wonderland (hey, on Day 1 it’s a wonderland), a little jarred out of complacency and at a loss for where to begin. I gather the remnants of the belongings that washed ashore with me (my jumbled mess of notes and outlines) and try to arrange them into a semblance of coherency. Gather sticks of ideas, try to fashion shelter. Everything collapses. Throw up hands in frustration. Try again. Forage for island resources. Try to think optimistically.

Of course, in the real world, that translates into something like:

Morning: Sit at computer. Eagerly open Word file. Wait for inspiration to strike and my genius to be unleashed.

Very soon thereafter that morning: Ooh, need coffee. Gotta go make some.

Thirty seconds later: Hm, coffeepot needs washing. Sink full of dishes could use washing too.

Five minutes later: Mm, coffeeee. I wonder where this came from. What exactly is an “arabica”? Must google.

Thirty minutes later: Oops, should get back to work.

Thirty seconds later: Dum. Dee. Doo. Novel novel novel. Write write write. Why is page so white? Mocking me with its emptiness, the blinking cursor taunting, like an annoying older sibling hits you in the face with your own hand: Why aren’t you writing yourself? Why aren’t you writing yourself? Why aren’t you writing yourself?

Five minutes later: Whoa, where did the last five minutes go?

Five minutes later: Maybe I should blog first. To get the juices going, y’know.

Thirty minutes later: Dude, I could have written a page in this time. WILL NOT PROCRASTINATE (any more). Ooh, cookies.


So I’m gearing up for NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, and as with all things, I tend to get obsessive over them. Thus I log into the site to get acquainted with the format so that on November 1, I won’t have to waste precious moments trying to figure out where the damn button to input my current word count is when I could/would/should be furiously getting my magnum opus down into concrete sentences, paragraphs, (dare I hope?) pages, before my early-onset dementia kicks and and makes me forget my words, my brilliant, genius words.

Anyway. I log in. And wow, there’s a profile section where you enter you personal information and bio and upload an avatar and everything! It’s like a home away from home, i.e., a blog away from blog. And since I never met a questionnaire I didn’t like — I signed up for eHarmony just to fill out the personality quiz (nerd fun!) but didn’t progress to the actual dating part and now I am forever punished with loads and loads of eHarm (ha!) SPAM — I filled it out. And clicked around. And read the forums. And the blog.
And dreamed about writing my masterpiece so I wouldn’t actually have to write my masterpiece. (Dreams are so much easier on the ego than reality.)

This is gonna be a fun month. (I predict I may need to redefine “fun” before it’s over.)