Monday, November 12, 2012

Cattle prods and penmonkeys

So far I've been doing reasonably well on my NaNo. My benchmarks for each week are to write 3K on the novelette and 2500 on the novel. Since the first week of the month was short I only shot for 1K on the novelette and 500 on the novel. I've made the mark or exceeded it on the novelette both weeks. The novel however has fallen short by about 300 words each week. I am a little disappointed that I haven't made the mark but the words I've put down are good words and I can be satisfied with that.

I know everyone says that it doesn't matter if the words you write during NaNo are crap. It's just a first draft. Well, for me, my first draft isn't just words thrown onto a page. I hate wasting time and I hate wasting words. I want every syllable I put on the page to be the best that I can make it at that particular moment in time. Sure, some of it is lost in the various editing passes that I do before I kick it out of the nest, but about 75% of them are still there. That includes what I write during NaNo. It's another reason why I can justify doing my own thing every November. Yes, my over word goal is half of what everyone else is doing but what I'm writing is good (for the most part). I don't see the point in writing 50K in a month if only 10K is going to survive the first edit. If I was going to do that, I may as well twiddle my thumbs for three weeks because I'd have just as much work to show for it.

However, even with a combined word count goal of 23K for this month, I still have problems staying focused. There's some very important PAC-12 games this month and my DVR can only hold so many TV programs before its little circuits explode. Plus, when you spend every hour that isn't tied up in the day job or in some other vital daily task, you get tired of it. Not in the "I never want to do this ever again" kind of sense but in the "I still like this cereal but I really want bacon for breakfast today" kind of way. To keep myself motivated I parcel out my programs and such as treats. When the writing is going well, I'll reward myself with a TV show while I eat dinner or a chapter from whatever book I'm reading (right now it's Poison Flower by Thomas Perry). If I make my benchmark for the week then I get to watch a football game Saturday night. However, if the writing isn't going well than I have to sit at my computer and forgo social activity and entertainment in favor of writing.

In addition to that I also have little daily reminders that I am capable of doing this. These reminders aren't sweet and fluffy motivational posters. They're more like cattle prods. I have two or three images that the very talented and lovingly fowl Chuck Wendig did for some of his blog posts. If you haven't checked out Chuck's website than you really should. He's awesome. He has a knack for removing all of the bull shit and getting down to the point. He's also a lot more blatant than I dare to be, which I admire.

The handful of images I have I use as my desktop background and rotate through them during the month (I've also been known to do the same when I've got a deadline nearing). It gives me the daily poke in the butt that I need during NaNo to keep me focused on what I really need to be doing. Writing.

With that in mind, I'll bid you adieu because I've got words to make. Good luck fellow NaNo participants!

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