I admit it. I’m not the most disciplined of writers. It’s hard to get me motivated. I’ll finish a scene or a draft and let it sit while I’m paralyzed with indecision about what to do next. So I finally decided to do something about it.
I spent the last month participating in Camp NaNoWriMo. It’s NaNoWriMo’s younger sibling with a few differences. Its two sessions start the first of April and July, so you can pick which one is a better time for you to participate in. You can set your word count, although they do encourage the 50,000 word goal. The social aspects of it are summer camp themed. I have mixed feelings about the social parts, since if I’m writing this intensely, I don’t have time to chitchat.*
I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo before with mixed results. Since November is a crazy month because of holidays, conventions, birthdays, a family anniversary that can be emotionally rocky, not to mention my full time job, I always feel my odds of completing 50,000 words are iffy at best. So this year I decided I would give the July session a whirl and use it to work on the third draft of my book, tentatively titled Black Oaks. I set my goal for 25,000 words and dove in.
It’s gone surprisingly well. Based on feedback I had been given at a Baycon’s Writer’s Workshop (I got a lot of helpful information from this two hour session. Do it if you’re in the Bay Area.) I restructured and rewrote the first quarter of the book, paying attention to tone and a nasty overuse of the word “and” at the beginning of sentences. And (see what I mean?) I tried to stick to a goal of 1000 words a day, figuring if I failed at that, I’d still be close enough to make the 25,000 goal.
I have hit a point in the editing stage I’ve heard a lot of novelists discuss, but never understood. I am, despite reassurances to the contrary, certain that I am writing absolute crap. But it’s my absolute crap, and I will continue slogging my way through it. I wrote about 34,000 words of it during the month of July, and I’m motivated to continue onwards.
As for publishing my crap, I keep reminding myself that the phrase “You can’t polish a turd” has been busted.
*Except with a few friends through IM services. And occasionally Twitter. And an email that comes in… oh dear. When did I get a virtual social life that’s more active than my real one?