leeching off your accountability

Who’s doing NaNoWriMo this year?

I love using NaNoWriMo for those early vague stages of the novel, where you don’t know what it’s about yet, all those sketchy words you fully expect to scrap and rewrite anyway. I conceived of my current novel in the afterthoughts of NaNo last year. So I think I’ll use next year’s NaNo as the launching point for my second novel, which means (Holy crap!) I need to finish this one first!

Wow, is that like a deadline?

(Random question for any other novelists reading this: What is your novel pace? One a year, every other year, just whenever they happen to pop out?)

So NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow, and I’ll be joining the masses in my own modified way. Through previous years, I’ve found that my most natural pace and best quality writing comes out at about 500-800 words per day. I don’t want to force myself to write beyond my best pace just because it’s novel-writing month, you know? So 25 workable days (taking one weekend day off) at 800 words/day, and my goal for this year will be to add 20,000 words to my novel.

I don’t think it can actually be called NaNoWriMo anymore, since I’m breaking just about every rule in the book. Whatever it is will be useful to me, because more important for me than the actual word counts is the pressure to buckle down and actually do it, to get into the habit of writing every day with consistency. November always feels like the kick-ass month where I finally get my crap together after a whole summer of slacking. All that routine and forcing myself to have structure and accountability. Do you hear me talking over and over again about accountability? What’s wrong with me, with my obvious lack of personal accountability?

So my plan for November is to buckle down in the morning hours before noon (eastern time). These hours are my most useful time, because beside that my mind is fresh in the morning, Dylan is usually the least needy in the mornings. He needs his breakfast and his Diego, and then he mostly ignores me anyway. So there will be no twittering, no facebook during these hours – if you see me on Facebook or Twitter during these hours, I’d ask you to kindly (or not so kindly, whichever you prefer) tell me to get my slacker-ass back to work! No reading blogs and no commenting on them. If I comment on your blog during these hours, please yell at me!

I didn’t post my progress for last week, which I totally mean to do every week. You can pretty much gather that if I don’t update for the week, it was a huge flop. And it was! (My whiny excuses: Dylan has decided to start having bad dreams these past couple weeks, so sometime around 3:00 or 4:00 every morning he comes crying and screaming into our room and won’t sleep in his own. He’s horrible to sleep with! Twisting and turning, ending up sleeping sideways pushing both of us off our sides of the bed, with his feet in my face, and headbutting the hubby!)

But anyway, this week was actually okay…

progress report (week of 10/26):

Reading: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz! And loving the crap out of it!!!

The license: fail again, sheesh! Next week, I swear it!

Chapter 3: has structure! Yay! Is it a no-no to start a chapter with a flashback? How about two chapters in a row? Well I don’t care because it’s got me writing! I also wrote the end of ch. 7 (part 1) and first line of ch. 8 (part 2), which feels very important because now I know chapter 7 and 8 exist and I can’t wait to work on them! It’s like seeing a marker point in a race, something to run towards, like fuel!

Two short stories: totally untouched! And will probably remain untouched if I’m going to commit to those 20,000 novel words this month. One of them I really want to finish though, so we’ll see.

Getting my lazy bum off the couch: about 3 miles, twice this week. I’ve done worse. We’re aiming for 3 times, and the four-mile ass-kicking route with the giant hills!

Next week: should add 6000 words to the novel, which should finish off chapter 3 and sink my claws into chapter 4. And I’ll get that license taken care of… you probably don’t believe me at this point. I don’t know if I believe myself.