Sunday, November 15, 2009

November Novel Writing Month - week two comes to a close

Okay I have passed the half way mark (25,000 words) and I'm still sane. Likely do in part to having my sister visiting a town with no internet access (yes these towns do exist in Canada, although rare), making it impossible for her to send me her part of the pulpy detective novel we are working on.

Being sane right now is good news (especially for my partner!) and a bit surprising, I thought for sure I would be losing it by now, but instead the words keep coming. Great, as long as I don't dwell on the editing process, which will soon follow the completion of the novel.

First problem I have encountered is my novel will not be done at 50,000 words, it is looking more like 60,000 plus words. It makes me wonder if I should just aim for 60,000 by month's end. I kind of want to, if only because I have this wicked momentum going. And of course it will make the possibility of me loosing it more likely. And who doesn't like the idea of a crazy writer?

This success of mine has made me want to create a list of tips on how to make it through the November Novel Writing month, a bit premature, but hey, I can always refine later.

Andrea's Five Tips for Surviving November:

1. Do socialize with living people. Sure it is easy when you are writing to retreat into your mind, where you get to hang out with the fictional characters you have created. Fictional people are fun, you can make them do what you want, and if they start pissing you off, you can kill them off. Not like the real world at all. And one wonders if you are a writer if maybe you have given up on the real world and all its people and their flaws, why else would you be content with hanging out by yourself, drinking shit loads of coffee and typing like a mad person? But let me tell you, coming from one of the most introverted people around, real people are great, their quirks, no matter how annoying help make your writing better. And you never know you may meet someone that is cool, someone that is obsessed with Margaret Atwood as much as you are. And we all know that is hard to find!

2. Be friends with coffee again. I know you quit because you heard, likely from someone who is not credible but insists they are, that coffee is bad for you. But these are lies. Coffee will stay up with you all night, with its comforting warmth, lining your throat with its goodness, and helping you crank out that first draft in record speed. Coffee is probably the only real friend you have.

3. Write when you don't feel like writing. Get in the habit of turning your computer on and staring at the printed words on the screen, or in some cases, the blinking cursor on the screen. Even if you only type out 50 words, it gets you in the habit of writing.

4. Remember that writing is re-writing. This is a first draft people, it better not be perfect or you are doing something wrong. Get the basic ideas down, reuse that word over and over until it makes you want to puke. Just fucking write. When the month ends and your first draft is finished, then you can go back and delete the bullshit and add some awesome prose, and reword and restructure until you can no longer see straight. But just don't do that now.

5. Stop reading my awesome blog and go back to writing.

Good luck fellow writers!

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