Day 15: 26,032 words

Not much to report. Work continues. I’m burning another perishable vacation day tomorrow, so I’d like to build back up to where I’m a day ahead of pace. It’s hard to believe I’m halfway there, but now some of the changes I had anticipated over the course of the book are taking place in my characters, and I fear some of it is happening too soon. I’m not sure how to sustain interest in the second half. But I’m sure it will all work out somehow.

Day 13: 22,422 words

I didn’t really do any writing last night — I had a sinus headache and just didn’t feel very good, and I knew I was ahead of pace and could afford to take the night off.

It was back to the grindstone tonight, though. I didn’t quite make my 1,667 words, but I wrote enough to keep me ahead of my overall pace. (I should be at 21,667 by day 13.) And I might still write another paragraph or two before bedtime tonight, which would put me ahead of pace for the day.

I have the weekend ahead, of course. I’ll be home during the day tomorrow, although I’m going to a hayride and potluck tomorrow night in Williamson County. There’s also a possibility I will meet Gail Drake somewhere on Sunday to discuss whether I’m going to lead next year’s Kenya trip. But I should still have plenty of time to write, if I can figure out where to take the plot next.

Day 10: 19,007 words

Interesting day.

Today’s output was, in many ways, expository and self-indulgent, too much of a monologue and not enough of a dialogue. It was also sort of cathartic. It also pretty much sealed the deal that this book (if it ever turns out to be marketable) would have to be sold to a religious, not a secular, publisher.

A few things are happening earlier in the book than I thought they might. That’s not a crisis; it just means I have to re-calculate, like a GPS unit when someone misses a turn.

Day 9: 16,882 words

Well, my decision to take a break yesterday was validated. Today, with a day off work, I made up just about everything I had missed. I am once again more than a day ahead of pace, just as I was more than a day ahead of pace on Saturday.

When I started this process, I had two characters in mind but not a whole lot in the way of plot. I hoped that the plot would suggest itself as time went on, and that seems to be happening, at least so far. I have some general ideas where the story is headed, but it’s not nearly as tightly-plotted as it ought to be.

But that’s not November thinking. That’s December, or even January, thinking.

Day 8: A day of rest

Well, I had two events to cover for the newspaper yesterday, in addition to putting together the Sunday paper.
Today, I had two events to cover for the newspaper, plus Charge Conference at church, plus my nephew’s birthday tonight (we’re going to meet my brother and sister-in-law at an event at their church).
Because of all the weekend work, the editor has suggested I take comp time tomorrow and not come in. Monday is a good day for that, since we don’t publish on Monday.

I’m not sure what time I will get back tonight. I think I’ve made a command decision that I’m not going to worry about the novel tonight. I’m more than a full day ahead of pace, and I will have a day tomorrow to write. Today, I’m just going to forget about it. If I get home early enough tonight, I might noodle around some, but my plan is to just take a break.

Day 7: 13,521 words

This is getting to be a pattern: early in the evening I’m stuck, and I think, “well, I’m not going to make my goal tonight.” But then, at some point, I get a second wind or a burst of inspiration.

I was pretty sure for most of the evening that I would have to stop short of 1,667 words today. I was tired and in a foul mood, and I didn’t feel like writing. I felt bad about that, but not too bad, because I would still have been ahead of pace overall.

But things picked up as the evening wore on. I was able to channel some of my negative emotions into one of my characters, and it turned out to serve the story quite well. That got me back on track, and I got 95 words past the target before stopping for the night.

Day 5: 10,076 words

After a slow start, and breaks for “Community” and later “30 Rock,” the plot started moving again. I passed my quota for the day and then I was so close to 10,000 I decided to go ahead and cross that milepost as well.

For those of you who’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo, let me remind you that what I’m writing may not be any good. A 50,000-word novella speed-written in 30 days is going to tend not to be good. That’s sort of the point. You have to just forge on ahead and not worry about how good it is. The discipline of writing every day has to take precedence over the need to second-guess yourself. December is for rewriting or second-guessing or what have you. There’s also National Novel Editing Month in March, although I’ve never participated in that one.

The fun thing, though, is that turning off your internal editor results in the occasional moment of creative revelation. And some people find that the ragged result of NaNoWriMo is a diamond in the rough, ready to be edited and polished.

My 2007 NaNoWriMo novel, “Soapstone,” happened sort of that way, and as you know I ended up self-publishing it. That’s been a fun experience, and I’ve been gratified at the response from friends, family and co-workers. It would probably take more polishing before it would be marketable to a traditional publisher, and even then it may not be marketable.

I am having fun with this year’s NaNoWriMo novel. Will it turn out to be something I can edit and polish and adapt, or will it fade into a fond memory once the exercise has ended? I’ll worry about that some time in December. For now, my only goal is getting to 50K.

Day 4: 8,264 words

I wasn’t able to write until I got home from church tonight, and at first things were going very slowly and I thought I might have to miss quota. But I kept at it.

While I was in the bathtub, it struck me that I had two scenes in the manuscript out of their logical order, and if I were to reverse them I then would have a much better way to move forward. Normally, the spirit (and the breakneck pace) of NaNoWriMo prohibit one from doing any revision, but in this case all I had to do was cut and paste to put things in their proper order. It took me all of 15 seconds, and then I was able to move on ahead.

I came to a good stopping point just after reaching my 1,667-word quota for the day, and so I’ve called it a night.

Day 3: 6,571 words

Well, I’m pleased with today’s output. I suppose I could have done more, having the whole day, but I’m almost a full day’s output ahead of schedule, and it didn’t interfere with me having a pleasant couple of days off.

Tomorrow, of course, I have to go back to work, and from this point forward I have to work my 1,667-word daily output into my normal schedule. Maybe I’ll get a chance to use up more of my excess vacation days before the end of the month.

Day 2: 4,077 words

Yes, M*A*S*H fans, I made it to four-oh-double-seven today.

I didn’t do nearly as well as I hoped today. Despite not having to work, I really wrote only about the 1,667 words I will have to do each day of November. I’m still ahead of pace overall, because I was ahead of pace yesterday, but I haven’t gotten the vacation bonus for which I had been hoping.

I will be off tomorrow as well, so maybe things will pick up then.

The nice thing is that the story is developing nicely, and I’m still having fun with it. I just need to pick up the pace.