Since NaNoWriMo I have only written two additional chapters (originally one ungainly chapter slashed into two). I thought I could maintain the momentum and have a manuscript by March, but that hasn’t happened. I’m mired in the middle of the book. And, like my midsection after the holidays, it’s going to take some work to whip it into shape. I am meeting with a personal trainer to get myself in better condition, and then I need to do the same thing to my WIP!
Archive for Grandpa Art
This was a new release when I started reading it, and I am still categorizing it as such. The triviality of the two months it took me to read and review it has no bearing on the subject matter or the presentation; Thomas Jefferson is fascinating, and Jon Meacham could win another Pulitzer Prize for Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power. In it another aspect of Jefferson is brought to light: “He dreamed big but understood that dreams become reality only when their champions are strong enough and wily enough to bend history to their purposes.” Jefferson was a philosopher, but that did not make him an ideologue. He was pragmatic, both in his personal affairs and his public service. He learned how to acquire and wield power early in his career and put those lessons into practice. It takes power to withstand tyranny, and Jefferson was a champion of democracy. Jefferson was narrowly elected president, but his principles guided four of the five presidents who succeeded him. “And so began the Age of Jefferson, a political achievement without parallel in American life,” Meacham writes. Would that it were so to this day, sir.
I’ve been discovery writing my WIP, and through NaNoWriMo I discovered that I’m capable of writing more than 10,000 words in a month! I didn’t quite reach 50,000 – not even with an 18,000 word head start – but I set a new personal best of 10,831. That represents a 59% increase to my WIP! If I sustain that rate of words per month I will have 50,000 words by February. It’s taken me longer than I care to admit to write the first seven chapters; in the past two months I’ve added eight more! My WIP grew more during NaNoWriMo than my beard grew during No Shave November.
My output for week 4 dropped off a bit, down to 2223 words in 5 days. I finished the month strong with 438 words on Thursday and 1,066 words on Friday. That was my highest single day (not surprising for the day before the deadline!), and only the second time I topped 1,000 in a day. If I could consistently reach 1,000 words a day I could double my monthly total and reach 50,000 by the end of the year.
It’s difficult to predict how many words I can discovery write in a day; in one group scene I wrote four new side characters made surprise debuts. I didn’t know their personalities until I began writing dialogue for them. Their roles could be reduced, expanded, or eliminated as the story develops. Not all of the words I wrote this month will make it into the first draft, let alone the final manuscript. I took some false turns along the way, but those days became writing exercises that informed the back story. My other challenge to increasing my word count is that I am handwriting the story in a journal to get the first person tone right. It’s necessary to the process, but it does divide my time to type up what I’ve written by hand during the day.
I can’t predict how many words it will take to complete my WIP, but I would like to have the first draft finished by March. Thanks to the lessons I learned from NaNoWriMo, that’s only months away instead of years!
The third week of NaNoWriMo was my best yet! I wrote 2,900 words in five days! That’s the highest weekly total and the highest per day average (580) thus far. I haven’t exceeded 1,000 words in a single day since day two, but I improved my daily consistency. I’m close to completing another chapter, which will be the sixth new chapter in the past two months. During NaNoWriMo I have added 7,100 words, pushing my WIP over 25,000 words. It’s not the 35,000 words I’d need to be on pace for 50,000 by the end of the month, but it is a 39% increase. With another 2,000 words in week four I could reach 50%. I won’t be out shopping on Black Friday, but, following Utah’s season finale this afternoon, I may go to a certain bookstore to write.
Week two of the write more/shave less challenge was a drop off from week one. I wrote on four days instead of five and wrote fewer words per day. As Brandon Sanderson and Mary Robinette Kowal stated on the Writing Excuses podcast, production tends to decline in the middle weeks. My word count for the week was 1680, which is an average day’s amount for NaNoWriMo. The goal is clearly out-of-reach at the halfway point, but I am not discouraged. I have only added 4200 words to my WIP this month, but I have added five new chapters over the past two months. That’s slower than NaNoWriMo pace, but it’s a significant increase over my usual pace! I’m getting into the habit of writing every day (although I missed a day last week), and that is helping to keep the story flowing. As for No Shave November, I haven’t missed a day!
One week into NaNoWriMo/No Shave November and I’m showing a bit of growth in each area. In order to hit 50,000 words in one month a writer would need to average about 1,700 words per day. I had an 18,000 word head start, which means I’d need to average a thousand words a day. After one week I should have added approximately 7,000 words, which would have put me halfway to 50,000; I managed to get 2,500 words written in five days. I did hit 1,000 on one day, but I was well below the mark on the other four. To make up the difference I would need to average 1,300 words a day from here on out. I don’t want to throw in the towel after one week, but I don’t see that happening.
I’m in a similar predicament with my beard – it hasn’t grown out as much as might be expected in a week, but I’m liking the stubbly look. I may not go for the full-grown beard after all. I may not complete either one of my challenges this month, but I’m going to keep at them for at least another week.
I shaved my beard for Halloween, but the sight of my own face after so many years is unsettling. Fortunately the timing is just right for No Shave November. I’d be growing my beard back anyway, so the only difference is documenting the daily growth. It’s also NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. I haven’t participated in NaNoWriMo before, as it, like No Shave November, requires starting from scratch. I already have a novel in (marginal) progress, so it doesn’t qualify for NaNoWriMo. I’m still going to use it as incentive to reach 50,000 words, however. What will grow faster: the beard or the novel?