Categories: NaNoWriMo, Writing Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 5 Comments





I signed  up for Nano again this year. Can you read the stupid tattoo on my forehead? Yeah, thought so.

You see, I write slowly. For a slow writer to sign up for Nano is like being lactose intolerant at an all-you-can-drink-milkshake bar. Sooner or later there will be pain and suffering. Right now I’m about 6K behind where I should be and feel the belly punch when all my eager Nano buddies (check out the awesome Jamie Raintree *secretly turns green cheers wildly*) skip around boasting 5K days… and ‘being ahead’ of where they’re meant to be. You go, buddies, you go!  I’ll just keep plodding.

I’m always hoping to find a way to speed up. Looking at it analytically, there are many factors.  I suspect my biggest issue is more about brain-space than writing ability. 3 kids, 2 jobs… I get talked at for a large part of each day. Not too much ‘quiet soil’ for ideas to germinate in. Not that I’m about to lay down and surrender to that excuse either. There has to be a way.

I have taken to planning more before I start writing than what I used to … I outline in the broadest sense the opening and closing, key events along the way. I live with my characters in my head for weeks, watching them under different circumstances, figuring out what makes them buzz. But even then, I have writing buddies who can plan entire novels, chapter by chapter and scene by scene, all the way from chapter 1 to those two lovely words – The End. I can’t do that.

For me, starting a novel is like standing outside an unfamiliar house. There are certain things you can tell from the outside – how many stories, is it a mansion or a hovel, built from cardboard boxes or fine marble… but the real adventure starts when you step through the front door. You discover that there are many doors leading off the passage. You get to open those doors and meet the characters, explore settings that make your work come alive.

My conundrum is this – writing the way I do works for me. My story has time to breathe itself into full-blown life. I write clean, my first drafts are never train-wrecks. And yet I feel strongly about increasing my output, which means I need to speed up.

What do you think?


Comments (5)

  1. Hi there, I have much the same problem. I am primarily a Poet, who sometimes has been known to write SHORT stories. By the very nature of poetic discipline I use one word where prose users may use up to fifteen words to describe the same scene or emotion. Hence the concept of me writing fifty thousand words in one month is daunting to say the least! Couple that with the fact that I am normally a notepad and pen sort of guy and am a self-professed one fingered typist on a good day, I really don’t think I will be completing the total word count. But I am now writing my first full-length novel on the strength of it, so something good will come out of it after all! I have entered NaNo this year more for the experience of for thirty days being on a global platform with other writers, being able to possibly interact on a world-wide stage for but a short time. Nice to see that we have become writing buddies for at least the duration! Take care, and good luck with your efforts, I will be watching!
    Regards, Dusti

    1. But Dusti! You’re cruising through Nano! Your wc is right up there!

  2. Thank you for the mention! You’re so sweet! The more I write and the more I hang out with other writers, the more I subscribe to the idea of doing what works best for you. There truly is no way to do it like anyone else because your brain doesn’t work like anyone else’s. If you’ve found a rhythm that works well for you, stick with it. We all get to The End at some point. While you may spend more time drafting, the rest of us will spend more time editing! Lol!

    Best of luck and remember, any amount of words you write this month is more than you had last month!

    1. Thank you Jamie. You are impressive, I tell you! I’ve been living in this tension for a while. I do think that writing muscles will get stronger and more efficient as one keeps at it… At least I hope so! 🙂

  3. […] plotted and settled into a happy combination of both. I’ve changed my sleeping habits, tried NaNoWriMo, read a ton of blogs from writers I love and respect and so on and so […]

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