Friday, November 28, 2008

A Totally Satisfying Turkey Day...

Greetings from Austin, Texas, the Music Capital of America! 

Unbeknownst to me, my daughter is no longer a strict vegetarian, so my Turkey Day wasn't all veggies.  We went to a nice gathering with tons of great food--turkey included--and chowed down.  I'm still full.

After dinner, we worked off the calories by bowling on the Wii.  It was fun, but just confirmed what a lousy bowler I am!

While my NaNoWriMo novel sits for a week or two, I have two other novels employing the same characters--one is complete, the other is about 112 pages and needs to be finished.  All are in great need of editing, so I've been working on the first two, but I also began another novel in the urban vampire genre, which is probably a bit overdone right now with Twilight and True Blood, but I have a different angle I'm working on.  I have about 11,000 + words (about 45 pages or so).  So, I keep writing or revising.  I'm getting myself in the habit of writing/editing about two hours every day--some days, I write longer than others, depending on what else I need to do.  But establishing the habit is the hard part, so that's what I'm working on--to get in the habit.

As a teacher, I have to be disciplined--those papers don't grade themselves, and I hate grading papers!  It's time-consuming.  My students often tell me that I don't need to give them the work, but, if I don't, I can't give them grades.  It's a no-brainer.  I can't grade them on personalities--that just wouldn't be fair to the shy ones.

I haven't been so disciplined with my writing--as a poet, I wrote when I had something to say, and only then.  I didn't constantly write poems, either.  But, with prose, I have to write to develop the plot and the characters--that takes more time, so I have to set aside the time to get it done.

Okay, my fingers hurt, as does my back, so I'm going to stop for now.  I've finished grading a set of essays and have been writing for about four hours--and this is supposed to be a break!  But, I guess, writers never stop writing.

Hope you've had a restful and yummy holiday.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Novel Update...

I have "finished" my novel, in the sense that I've written the last first-draft word. I uploaded it to NaNoWriMo for a validation count, and the robocounters came up with 64,155 words; Word counted 64,259, but I think Word was counting the Roman Numeral headings.

Does that mean I'm "finished" with it? No. All writers should know that the real work begins after the initial draft is "done." So now what?

Well, I think, while I'm waiting for NaNoWriMo to end (Nov. 30), that I'm going to let it sit. I already know what I need to do to remedy the plot, and I've made copious notes on that. I have several other novels that are in various stages of revision, and I need to work on those. I also have an idea for another novel, and I could spend some time on that. I don't want to get too far away from the NaNo novel, though. But I've got the writing jones now, and I feel as though I need to keep the momentum of this month.

Whenever I hear myself say, "I don't have time to write," I know I'm lying. If I can write 64,000 words and teach five classes, I don't have an excuse. What I need to do is to reserve those two hours a day for writing no matter what's going on.

I've been stealing time where I can. Some days, I write before I grade papers. Other days, I try writing in half-hour bursts between grading papers. I think it requires both discipline and flexibility in equal measure--the discipline to just do it, and the flexibility to fit it around all the other stuff I need to do.

Writing is hard work. I can't deny that. Some days, after I've put in the two hours and graded two sets of papers, my mind feels like mush, and I feel as though I've run a marathon. My muscles ache, especially my arms, fingers and neck, from sitting at a keyboard with minimal breaks. I've added stretching to my routine to work out the kinks.

I don't know what I "win" for completing this--probably a few "atta-girls" and the congratulations of my writing buddies. But I feel as though I've done something, and that's the best prize of all.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

NaNoWriMo Update...again

As of 12:06AM on Nov. 16, I have 48,386 words. I'm not even close to being finished, so I'll just keep writing until I end it. NaNo doesn't end until Nov. 30, so I'll let you know how many words I have when NaNo ends--the official count.

Half a month to go!

Update: as of 2:30pm on Sunday, I have 50,093 words. I've met my goal, but the novel's not finished, so I'll just keep going until I come to the end.

I'll give you a final count when I'm "finished."

Friday, November 14, 2008

NaNoWriMo Update...Nov. 14

As of 3:00PM, I have 40, 263 words. Wow. And I'm not even close to being finished with this novel. I only need 50,000 words for NaNo, but that's not going to get me to the halfway point of the book, so I'm just going to keep typing until I find the end. If I just keep writing, I'll have plenty of stuff I can cut out when I revise. I must revise in December.

I think I'm finding a plot. It's taking longer than I planned. Maybe I need to work it out more clearly, but I think I want to wait until I get through with NaNo. I don't want to stop until I've at least reached 50,000 words or more. The plot can wait until later.

I'm hoping that I'll have 50,000 words tomorrow. I have tons of papers to grade this next week, so I may not get much of my own writing done.

I'll update when I reach my next milestone--45,000 words.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I'm a Broken Record...

Total count as of 10pm tonight, 30, 164 words.

I don't know how I'm doing it, but I am. I still don't think I have a plot, but I'll worry about that in December when NaNoEdMo starts--the month of editing. I think I know where it's going, but I'm waiting for my characters to tell me.

November 15 is the write-a-thon. Two hours, again, of writing, but it helps to do this with a group, even a small one.

I have several days without papers to grade, but, come Saturday night, I'll have stacks and stacks. But I think I can manage those and still get my 50,000 words. I have time. I do not, however, want to let myself think that I can goof off.

I need to take a shower and sleep. I'm suddenly soooooo tired!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

NaNoWriMo Update, Nov. 9

Total words as of 6:29pm: 25,418. I'm at the halfway point, but I need to read/grade two sets of papers.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

NaNoWriMo Update...Nov. 6

Total words as of 10:53pm--16,420.

I managed to put in two hours today. Alas, I didn't grade any papers. I'll do those in the morning and write for several hours when I'm through with those.

I just need to keep plugging away.

Our little get-together last night was fun. We burned an effigy for Guy Fawkes Day. We couldn't get our effigy to burn until we slit his guts opened with a knife to expose his newspaper stuffing. But, once we did that, he burned perfectly.

The food and the company were both excellent. I haven't had a night out in a couple of weeks, so I was due. Didn't get home until 10:40pm. After I unloaded the groceries, put them away and fed the cats, I had to take a shower and go straight to bed. I stayed up on election night. I've had 12 hours sleep in two days.

I think I need a nap.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

NaNoWriMo Update...Nov. 4

As of 5pm today, I have officially written 12, 458 words. That's about 3,ooo words per day for four days. I've been taking two hours a day--getting up early, or stealing two hours from grading papers. I've also spread out the assignments that are coming in so I have a day (tomorrow!) where I don't have to grade/read anything. But I am going to a party for my friend and colleage, Dr. Nicole Peeler, who just found out she has a three-book deal with a real publisher! I'm psyched for her (and a bit jealous)! But she deserves it, and I feel lucky to know a "real" author (fiction, even). Maybe I can learn something from her.

I'm just going to plug away at this novel I'm writing until the end of November, and then I'll worry about what I have.

I'll keep you posted on my progress. The goal is at least 50,000 words by Nov. 30.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

NaNoWriMo Begins...

I'm proud of myself. I've written around 3,000 words today--most of them between 11-1 at Barnes & Noble for our official kickoff for National Novel Writing Month. I've never been a participant before, but it seems like a fun way to force myself to write. Now, if I can just find two hours a day to add to this novel, I'll have my projected 50,000 words by Nov. 30.

I read a blog today that suggested the best way to get 2,000 words a day is to write 500 words four times a day. I think I can do the morning thing if I get up early enough, or if I just take two hours after I get home from school. But, if I can't find a two-hour chunk of time, thirty minutes four times a day is doable, I think. I just need to plan well. I have a feeling, though, that I'll be doing most of this in the wee hours of the morning when I should be sleeping! So, if I'm dragging myself around during the day, that's why. But I'll try not to let it interfere with grading my papers or being perky in class.
I don't anticipate that this will go anywhere, but anything that helps me write more is good. I teach writing, but seldom have time or energy to do it. I just need to make the time because its important to my creative self.

I'll keep you posted on my success or failure. Either way, just attempting it is good.