Good morning, and Happy Friday the Thirteenth! This post is about how training for a marathon has helped me with my NaNo project.
CAVEAT LECTOR: If you are feeling sensitive– and that is TOTALLY okay!– about your NaNoWordCount this year or any year, please don’t read!
I don’t want people feeling bad on account of me. 😦 Whether you’ve written words in the amount of 5k a day, 1667 a day, or 250 a day, or maybe you got a good start and then you lost the time to do it, you’re awesome for just going out there.
If you are curious, though, please keep reading!
So, I said in this post that I’d been writing some Captain America AU stuff, and it was pretty prolific. I wanted to do one of three projects for NaNo, and I had to choose within the first day or so of November, since all of them were bugging me for attention. I re-write a bit of the AU I’d completed earlier in the year, and I was not feeling it. I asked L for some ice-breaker ideas the second day, and boom. I was off! Out the gate!
And by 11/12, I have over 62k in this project. Today, I plan on writing at least a minimum of 5k more, until the end of this story. Or the end of the month, whichever comes first. (I work full time in an office, so I don’t have much time to write until I get home, otherwise I could probably do more.)
I have taken all I’ve learned the past few months about indulgent writing, about just going with the flow, and applied it to this task. I learned that I’m a structured “pantser” (writing by the seat of my pants) where I have certain goal posts that I work towards but let my prose and characters take me there in the meantime. I meditate on the thing I “want” to happen (i.e., the goal post) let it sit for a night, and then the next day I usually have a great start.
Right now I’m in one of those not-quite-boring but quite-necessary parts where I have to sum up the things that have been happening to my characters while they have been stuck in the wilderness for two weeks in exile. The fun thing I get to do is introduce a pivotal character– a “Power Player”, as Rachel Aaron puts it– and have him talk about The Situation as he knows it. I figure I’ll get through this and finish the chapter with no problems.
But I owe you all a post, and it does let me have a little more time to consider what my MC is going to need to know at this point in reference to the other goal posts… so here I am!
The thing I have felt this time is the spirit of NaNo: just writing and not looking behind myself. Writing with out a ton of self-editing. This is a project that I will be editing the ever-loving dickens out of it before anyone, ANYONE besides L sees it. (I update her every time I get a big chunk done because she likes the brain break from work.) I have a few plot holes to fix (nothing major) and a lot of slimming down on my “buts” (haha!) and superfluous adverbs before I even send Part 1 & 2 to my beta readers. I have other things to prepare for, too: it’s going to be a multi-media project, in the end, and I have drawing to do! Soundtracks to mix! Video clips to add music to!
I feel that I’ve properly primed for this because I learned to just… go. It’s a hard feeling to explain, even though I’ve tried before. I have been excited about everything I’ve written. I write notes while I’m at work and just punch words into a document when I get a chance. I have drawings in mind and all sorts of little things to show people the version of the DCU that lives inside my head.
You don’t need to write every day to get into the flow like this, but you do need to loosen up those muscles. A big project like this needs preparation: it needs you to be limber and flexible in your writing. Take a long bath with some epsom salts– actually do this, it’s great– and let yourself relax as much as you can. Then start jogging to the mailbox, around the block — you get what I mean. You can do this.
I have some other posts I owe you– more Fanscaping, more Fanfic is Not the Enemy– but right now, I’ve got head in the NaNo world, and I’ll probably be regaling you with that next week. Until then, keep doing your best, and be nice to you!
PS, I will be giving our Patrons some exclusive art, storyboards, previews and the like over at our Patreon, starting this week. This is a huge project and I want to share the process!!