Well, folks, here we are, one month later. By the time most of you read this, I'll have likely hit the 80,000 word mark.
It was awesome. Wouldn't trade it. I'd recommend it to anybody.
What did I learn? Well, quite a bit. I don't know if this will be useful to any of you in your own endeavors, but on the off chance... here we go.
1. The Place of Measurement in Writing
There is something about measuring ourselves that can give us a much broader view of our own potential. This works for anything, but I found it especially useful in writing. I'd never measured myself before. In February, if you had asked me what sort of writer I was, I would have said 'Um... I'm kind of slow. And it's hard. And whine whine whine...' etc. etc. But I found differently.
I learned that when I am going pell-mell-bat-outta-heck-fast-as-I-can-go, I can pound out about 2,000 words an hour in first draft mode. I can't keep it up indefinitely, though. There were some days where I could only do 500 to 1000 words an hour.
But still... now I will never have an excuse like 'I don't have time to write'. Because, well, now I know what I'm capable of. And even if I only had fifteen minutes a day, I can still push 200-500 words in that time. It adds up.
2. Inspiration Comes While You Are On Your Feet (figuratively speaking.)
I figured, when I started, that this book would be a hack job. AND IT IS. :) And I love it that way. There is some cheesy, cheesy stuff in this book. There are some lines that are situationally inappropriate, disrupting mood and character... wisecracks and dry jokes in situations where no one in their right mind would reasonably make wisecracks or dry jokes, ridiculous impossibilities, and horrific continuity errors. Ooh, and point of view became more of a guideline than an actual rule. It's going to be a wonderful nightmare to edit this thing.
It was FUN.
Amidst all of the imperfection (which, by the way, ceased to torture me quite some time ago, see number 6) I found that as I wrote, freeing myself from that internal editor, every now and again a brilliant scene would write itself. I couldn't control it. I could only set up an environment where it could happen. What's the environment? Me, sitting at my laptop, writing no matter what happens to come out of my fingers.
We gotta write.Sittin' around playin' games will not produce.
I was not satisfied as a writer before this month. Right now, I feel totally satisfied. Why? Because I wrote. Not that I didn't write before... but I wrote like I meant it. It feels great. I'd focused too much on the publication dream. This brought me back to my core love - writing. I don't write because I love publication games and hoops, I write because I love to write. And hopefully someday publication will come.
And even if we miss, we will still land among the stars. (You've heard that quote, haven't you?) I really wanted the 100,000 words. But... some stuff happened that was outside of my control. (EXCUSES!) :) But seriously, folks... aiming high gave me something to reach for. I wouldn't have hit the 75,000 word mark. And I will try again for the 100k. Missing it once has made me hungrier to succeed at that particular goal.
But the thing is, I've succeeded in writing a first draft of a novel. And then I poured extra word count into a short story that I'd left unfinished some time ago, and finished it. And more word count into three other projects. It was WONDERFUL. So productive. To call that 'failure' would be kind of rude, if I were speaking of someone else. So I won't. Next time I will hit the moon. And there will be a next time.
What is there to be afraid of?
Embrace it. 'Nuff said.
One day, I wrote in a place that was SO not the ideal place for writing. A packed gymnasium. I was dragged along to a community event, and subjected to the noise of 3,000 people, a crappy PA system, horrendous acoustics and crowded conditions. (I've never liked crowds...) But I needed the word count, and I wanted to write. So I focused. I was writing with a pen and a notebook on a hard and uncomfortable set of bleachers. I'd have told you that I only write on my laptop. BOY WAS I WRONG. I wrote one of my FAVORITE SCENES in the time I spent there, along with two or three other crucial scenes that somehow, the jolting change in scenery gave me the freedom to do.
I guess another part of the lesson here is Don't Waste Time. Bring your notebook everywhere.
I gotta say... I wasn't sure how this mad experiment would go over on the blogosphere. I was pleasantly surprised. Yall wanted to help, gave your support and encouragement, and in a few cases, unjammed my writing with your words of wisdom. My hat's off to you, and someday, if this book is ever published, I'm going to mention your support in the page of thanks. If not... well, this will have to do. Yall are great.
Thanks for the memories! :) And now, back to regular blogging.
What have you learned from similar experiences?