Saturday, 30 July 2011

Emerging From the Cave

Hello readers, I am poking my head out of my cave to say I am very, very, very close to achieving 50,000 words in July. Those of you who have read previous posts will know I signed up for Julnowrimo, and I am exactly 9679 words from the 50,000. In the words of Bender from Futurama, woohoo! So this won't be a long post as I got typing to be getting on with but I wanted to share what my experience of julnowrimo has been like so far.

This last week, while I've been away from work, has been massively helpful  in experiencing what writing large word counts is like. The best way to describe it is; tiring, exhilarating, frustrating and rewarding. The hardest part is getting started each day, but once you tie yourself down to your chair (chains optional) it's amazing how much you can get done when you know you have the whole day to do it. I have also worked out why professional novelists seem to only write three to six thousand words in a day. I always wondered why they didn't do at least eight thousand, or even ten thousand if they have the whole day and that's the day job. Now I know; it would make your brain melt out of your ears. There are times when I got so deep into my story I couldn't actually see anything else, and though it's a great feeling it's also a little uncomfortable when you leave. I'd be walking around with my head still very much in the story, and had to make a conscious effort to get back to reality. Also, I found I started to lose perspective at times when I'd been deep in the writing for three hours (without realising it) and needed to stop to take a break and get an overall view on what I'd just done. It reminded me of when I used to do life paintings; there would come a point where you had to stop and take five or six steps away from your painting so you can see the whole thing. When you did that you could see the bits that worked, the parts that didn't and see what you had to do next. Turns out writing is much the same.

The method of writing I preferred this week was doing a little bit in the morning, only an hour or two and then stopping for about three hours to do what I wanted. Then I'd go back to the story in the afternoon or even the evening and work for three or four hours straight. Doing five thousand words that way is a lot more pleasant than trying to squeeze three thousand words into a late night session after work, and my dreams of doing this full time are even stronger now that I've had a taste of a writer's day.

So I'd better sign off so I can get on with the story. By the time the challenge is complete I should have just under 80,000 words done, leaving me with only 20,000 to do in order to finish the book. And even as I type that I can't quite believe it - I have never finished a long piece like this before, and it still doesn't feel real that I might actually manage it this time. I refuse to jinx it by saying it will be done, but I have a good feeling about this one.

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