Monday, November 02, 2009

What did I sign up for?!?

Current Project: Derby book
Status: First draft
I signed up for NaNoWriMo. EEEEEK! It's November 2 and I'm already behind, but that's not a surprise. If I can get caught up today, it won't be as big of a hill to climb. I've done NaNo several times before and "won" it twice. Those two times I reached 50,000 words, I never picked up the book again to finish it. Let's hope that won't happen a third time, shall we?
I'm quite nervous about hitting the goal. I'm hopeful, excited, motivated and all of those other words that could be inserted - but, is it just me or is November a horrible month for NaNo? Work is always busy in November, it's right in the middle of the term (and fall term is always tough). I'd much rather do NaNo in January, once the holidays are over. Or March, before the weather gets really nice. I've tried to do my own NaNo in other months, but the motivation isn't there. It's the fact that I have friends doing it across genres, which makes it an easy bandwagon to jump on to. The fact that you can see it in the media, random mentions on facebook and online. It's everywhere this month - you can't escape it. It's a good reminder to get writing!
Finishing books is clearly not my strengh, but I'm especially determined to finish this one. I think the topic (roller derby) is hot enough to sell right now, even in the tight contemporary romance market. And the fact that I'm actually going to be doing roller derby gives me inside knowledge and and a good promotion opportunities. Hopefully there aren't a lot of romance-writing roller derby girls out there ;)
These are my 10 strategies for finishing NaNo:
1) Write every day;
2) Never get more than one days' word count behind (1,667 words per day);
3) Try to write 2,000 words per day so I can get some free days when homework is too heavy or I'm too tired;
4) Write throughout the day so I don't have 1,667 words looming over me at the end of the day after I'm exhausted from work, homework and derby practice;
5) Think of some rewards for meeting weekly goals, or for getting significantly ahead of my word count (but not food rewards!);
6) Take Scrivener full-screen so I'm not distracted by IM, email, Twitter, etc;
7) Turn off my cell phone if I become desperate for word count - no texting;
8) Make a music playlist that keeps me entertained so I don't feel tempted to turn on the tv while writing;
9) Keep in touch with others doing NaNo to rejuvinate my enthusiasm;
10) Just write, darn it!
Any strategies you can think to add?


wavybrains said...

I got 600 words yesterday--not bad for having a sick toddler and a stack of "real" work. Like I said on the Saturday blog, I'm aiming for 1/2 a Nano. November simply sucks. I'm going to do another one over the summer.

Here are my strategies:
1) write long-hand. I can enter it in and add to it later when I am braindead
2) write in the car (when DH is driving)
3)hire a mother's helper so that I feel guilty about not writing (pre-kids I used this same strategy w/ going to a coffee shop)
4) avoid the nano forums--they suck time
5) avoid other internet suckers--this is why long hand is a big part of my personal strategy

Happy NaNo!

Alice Sharpe said...

Congrats Lisa for jumping on. This is very exciting.

I've never done Nano. I agree Nov. is an odd month for the reasons you suggested and the additional pressures of looming holidays and in my case, three birthdays.

I obviously have no strategies to share except the this one (and it's the one that any productive, selling author has got to be able to attain and maintain): write. Write as though it means more to you than anything else. Write like it matters that you do write because it does.

Good luck!

Deborah Wright said...

Yay for NaNo! November does suck for doing this, I agree. Chris Baty's said (at one time or another) that they decided to stick with November partly because it is such a challenging month. If you can write and ignore the distractions during this month, you have no excuses the rest of the year.

I didn't quite meet my daily goal yesterday, but I did write 1588 words, so, yay me! My strategy (and what I'm hoping to incorporate as an on-going process):

1. Get up at least 1/2 hour earlier and either write or plan what I'm going to write for the day.
2. Write during the day, even if it's only 15 minutes at a time
3. Create a music playlist (done!)
4. Use Scrivener in full screen mode while writing
5. Turn off my network access while I'm writing and reward myself with the internet when I've met my goal
6. Remind myself (frequently) that I'm writing a draft and it's okay to write scenes that I may cut later (i.e. turn off my inner editor!)
7. Track my progress on my blog (as well as on the nano site)

Go team MWVRWA NaNo!

Elisabeth Naughton said...

I take the blame for Lisa not hitting her goal. I was chatting her ear (eyes???) off last night on IM because I was having trouble getting started myself.

*sigh* (Bad, bad, BAD influence!)

You ladies all rock! Progress is progress as far as I'm concerned. The fact you're writing every day is the key and really the goal of NANO (in my opinion). I agree Nov. is a sucky month for it, but for the reasons Debi mentioned it's a good time.

I wrote about 800 words on my book last night. I'll be back at it again today. As for strategy? I only have one:

Stop making excuses and write. That's what writers do. They write.

Deborah Wright said...

Good point, Elisabeth. My strategy should have been stated as:

1. Write

the rest are just ways for me to get #1 done.


Paty Jager said...

Lisa, You're going to finish the book this time- I know you are! Congrats on taking on the challenge.

I decided not to do NaNo I have a goal to finish my part of the sisters books which is 35000 words by Thanksgiving. Then I received my contemporary back from the editor at Yellow Rose and she wants me to add more emotion and come up with a better title, ( guess what I'll need brainstorming with at the meeting?) So I hope to finish out the month with reworking the contemporary.

Wavy, Lisa, and Deb, you have all set good doable goals to do well. I'll be on the sidelines applauding and rooting you on.

Lisa Leoni said...

Wavy - woohooo!!! 600 is not a bad start at all :) Those are some great strategies. Writing long-hand can be fun and fulfilling to see those pages fill up so quick. But I write really big and I'm always disappointed when I do an actual word count after its typed up.

Alice - three birthdays in one month? Yowza! I agree that writing is definitely the most important strategy :)

Debbie - great goals!! I'd like to get up a half an hour earlier too, but, I know that won't happen. :) Don't you just absolutely love Scrivener's full-screen mode? Here's another awesome tool that a friend of mine made, I'm going to use it a lot this month: It's software that dims the screen except for where you're actually working. I think that will help me stay focused at night when I don't need all the lights on. He writes some AWESOME Mac software :)

Eli - hahahaha! You were not a hinderance at all. You are not distracting. Great job on the 800 and I love the no excuses strategy!

Paty - thank you! I certainly hope so. 35k is a fabulous goal, you can do it!!!

Bethany said...

Hey, like Debbie, I'm blogging NaNo, and I'm not sure if many of you have added my new site to your RSS feeds:

Lisa Leoni said...

Wow, Bethany! I love the new site!!! :D Great job!!

Genene Valleau said...

Hooray for those of you who are doing NaNo! You've offered some great strategies not just for NaNo, but for writing in general.

Yes, I agree that November is a terrible month to try to break records writing. The word "masochistic" comes to mind. :)

I'm going to stick to my autumn goal of having detailed scene sheets done for all nine books of my series by the end of the year. This isn't unfolding as I originally envisioned, but ideas for one book are triggering ideas for the other books. As long as the plotting is moving forward, I'm happy.

I'm looking forward to seeing the progress of the NaNo ladies and everyone else this month!