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The thing about November

November is NaNoWriMo, and that’s a good thing. Taking up that challenge in 2005 was was got me back into writing fiction. But that level of intensity in November just isn’t possible for me most years. It’s no longer an incredibly busy time at work thanks to some agency-wide reorganization, but I’m still personally very busy. Even if not travelling for Thanksgiving, like this year, I run a weekend-long textile symposium, and it takes a lot of time, effort and mental energy to pull together. This year I was also head cook for the entire weekend. Yikes!

But I made a NaNoResolution anyway: write some fiction every day, on a particular new project. No expectation of 50k, just writing something every day. My target was 250 words a day. I’m working here on establishing a routine, rather than trying to get a vast word count. 250 words is a full page in manuscript format, and something that I can do fairly rapidly, while getting myself back in practice. The NaNoResolution included specific dispensation for missing days related to the textile event. No sense in making myself even more frantic than I was already going to be.

I’m pleased to note that I had a couple of good writing days earlier in the month, and hit the 250-word 30-day total on November 15. Not that that lets me out of writing for the rest of the month. Routine. Every day. I did miss four days for the symposium, but will pick it back up today.

Unlike NaNoWriMo, where I keel over at the end of the month, I intend to keep writing every day, into December and beyond. 250 words isn’t much, but adds up into a novel in a year, roughly. And there’s nothing wrong with an author who writes a novel a year.

I posted “Horn” on the Online Writing Workshop for critique, and have now gotten four really good reviews. I thought it was a pretty good story; now I see how to make it a whole lot better. I intend to tackle revisions over the long weekend, then send it back out into the world. I have a couple more stories just about ready to submit for critique. The only way to get better is to keep doing it. I’m going to take another stab at Viable Paradise next year, and need to put some serious effort into revision there as well. OWW has already been an excellent learning experience, and I should be able to apply what I’ve come up with to other projects.

4 Comments

  1. Sally says:

    I think I will do the 250 words a day thing once all the Raz stress is cleared up. I’m really missing Nano this year, but there is no way I could have done it.

  2. Sarah says:

    The best thing about 250 words is that it isn’t intimidating. That’s only 2-3 solid
    paragraphs, but it’s enough to keep the story in your brain. I find that if I don’t do anything I lose momentum, but that’s enough to keep everything clicking along.

    Though I did only write 100 words last night…

  3. Laura says:

    100 words is more than 0 words. 🙂

  4. Robert Anderson says:

    Hey Sarah! Hope I’m not stepping on toes posting here. I just finished one of my core college courses, writing and language. I have never been an avid reader and absolutely despised writing. This course turned me 180. Most of the writing I had to do was sterile and structured but there were a couple of papers on doing memoirs that I just loved. Also learned about free writing. What an amazing way to deal with all the thoughts in ones head. In the end, I’m amazed that I now have started to read for enjoyment and that learning how to write has made me a better reader and learning to read more critically is making me a better writer. A shame I waited till I was 39 to figure this out.

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