3 Things I’ll Never Do Again

October comes to a close, All the Eves Hallowed and the trees turning bare. With NaNoWriMo on the horizon and the cold weather keeping me in bed longer and longer, I’ve started to reflect on the last two months since completing my latest project. I’ve come to the realization that through September and October I have simultaneously:

  1. Edited a 70k project with structural tweaks, all new scenes, rewritten scenes and page-by-page line edits. Final line edits completed last weekend.
  2. Started a new project, completed yesterday(!), the first draft now roughly 75k but I expect it to be around 85-90 upon redrafting next year.
  3. Laid plans for a NaNoWriMo novel with first drafting to begin TOMORROW. (My NaNo username is dinosaurlace and I need writing buddies!)

Wow, so productive! Great idea, right? No. A hundred times, no. Dear future self, NEVER DO THIS AGAIN. At least not only in two months and not all at once. Give yourself three, I promise you’ll be happier.

What is life? What is sleep? Don’t ask me, I’m a writer.

Calcifer falls into pot.

Advertisements

Bathroom Centipede Distraction! and Other Random Instant Inspirations

note reads: "bathroom centipede distraction"

I could say this makes sense in context, but that would be a lie.

You know you’re a writer when you wake up in the middle of the night with a the perfect idea for your story. It fixes the plot hole in chapter 3, it gives character X the right motivation to get involved with character Y, it’s the hidden gem that expounds the theme, raises the stakes and incites the conflict all in one beautiful swoop. Or maybe it isn’t really the panacea you want it to be, but it’s a damned good idea and you will definitely remember it tomorrow morning.

Hahaha! If only. Nine times out of ten*, you won’t.

The only way to be 100% sure that brilliant, unconscious breakthrough manages to last through your next REM cycle is to jot that sucker down. This is how the memo above came to be. (And if you aren’t sure about the 1AM scrawl, yes, it does say “bathroom centipede distraction”)

According to literary legend, Truman Capote could only write lying down, and even Jack Kerouac believed the best time for writing was in the middle of the night.  Maybe something about night, sleep and our proximity to unconscious helps break down those creative walls we build with our own self-doubts. Keep paper and pens by your bed when you sleep. You never know when and how they’ll come in handy. Even if you wake up with no recollection of the weird instructions you wrote yourself when sleep-plotting, that idea might still be funny enough to post on your blog. (Centipedes? Really, 1AM me? Well, if you insist…)

* Disclaimer: Welcome to my blog, where the statistics are made up and the math doesn’t matter.

Sound off on your own experiences in the comments! What’s the oddest note you’ve written for a story?

NaNoWriMo Stretch Report

Previously on Kate’s Blog: A week-long experiment to get a taste for the challenges of NaNoWriMo before November hits. Will our hero succeed, or will she get distracted by cat .gifs on the internet? Tune in this week on Kate’s Blog for the shocking conclusion!

tortoise beats hare

If you read that in movie announcer voice, good for you.

10/01

This proved to be a great day for starting. Hooray for downtime! I managed 500+ words before heading to work, then chipped away on the rest during breaks.  Success! I even finished before lunch, so I was able to spend the afternoon working on edits for a separate story.

Day 1: 1726/1667 words

10/02

My second day was smooth sailing as well. I had a ton of free time in between tasks, but I think that led me to procrastinate a bit more because I knew I had wiggle room.

Day 2: 1737/1667 words

Total: 3463 words

10/3

Typically Thursdays are my busiest days, so I was afraid of slipping on my count. But given that I didn’t have a lot, I was more determined to make the best use of my time than I was with most of my other days. Between that and having a ton of fun with the scene I was writing, I actually managed to get more work done this day than any of the others during my stretch.

Day 3: 1955/1667

Total: 5418 words

10/4

I didn’t have as much time as I thought I would and I ended up being pretty worn down by work by the end of the day. It was a struggle to make the count before bed, but I squeaked by with a few words in change.

Day 4: 1727/1667

Total: 7145 words

10/5

Ah, the weekend! I wasted too much time watching the sky to see if it would rain to get in a heavy session before I headed out for the day, then wasted time again in my few hours at home before going out to a birthday dinner. I came back home and forced myself to finish the word count before I could sleep, which lost me an hour and a half or so of nice REM-cycle rest. Well, it ain’t NaNoWriMo without an (un)healthy dose of sleep deprivation, right?

Day 5: 1829/1667

Total: 8974

10/6

Library day! I went and parked myself in the public library with no other plan but to write. Since I’d been going over word count every day since the stretch began, I calculated that I wouldn’t need much more padding to make my personal goal (getting to 50k on my WIP before the end of the challenge) and I managed to hit the mark in about 2 hours. The rest of the time I spent focusing on editing another manuscript, which had been sorely neglected since my stretch began.

Day 6: 1690/1667

Total: 10664

10/7

LAST DAY WOOO! Morning writing went great, but lack of breaks and a lot of great TV to catch up on meant that I ended up staying up half an hour later than usual to hit the mark. But hit the mark I did. And you know how that feels?

bunny falls asleep at computer

Feels like it’s time for bed.

In conclusion: Experiment was a resounding success. Tough in parts, but I won’t have to run myself ragged the entire month of November. You hear that, NaNoWriMo? BRING IT.