NaNoWriMo: Days 20 and 21

sleeping catSo many voices on the Interwebs say that writers write, that writers must scratch out a stream of words every day, that not doing so on one day sounds terrifying to us. It turns us back into velveteen rabbits; it takes away our sense of authenticity as writers, and for some of us, that felt like shaky ground to begin with. But I suppose there’s a reason the NaNoWriMo gods (read: Chris Baty) decided to set the project in November, which not only has a scant 30 days instead of January or March’s 31, but which is also stricken with the biggest American holiday of them all: Thanksgiving.

It’s good not to write for a day here and there and then sink back into the wordsmithing. Ideas need to percolate and diffuse into our subconscious, where they can promulgate and become more substantial. Then when we take up the pen or the keyboard again, we can create something more nuanced and believable, or perhaps have the answer to whatever we’ve been struggling with plot-wise or regarding our ideas. Our breathing is in two parts—a presence of breathing in and an absence when we exhale, and likewise, time away from writing gives us moments of living so we can make more space for our creative time later.

Also, life throws us tons of content to write about, let’s get real. How else can I understand this whole babymaking process? We all know “Bumbling into Baby” is going to get written someday.

It’s also healthy to learn how to break in and out of routine. We can’t be nailed to our computers, after all. We have day jobs and friends and children and car repairs and refrigerators to clean out after ignoring that eggplant we earnestly wanted to prepare two weeks ago. Maybe that’s just me. But although writing is about habit and forging grooves and the whole trial/error dance, it needs to be resilient enough to withstand the occasional foray into real life. As I have friends and family in town this week and a 13-pound turkey to brine and cook, I need to get a little flexible with my writing time. This is a healthy thing. My Parallax project may take a hit or two on the making headway front, but it’s still going to get done. I’m at 35,000 words or so, which is nothing I can’t handle with some hour-long typing time just before bed. Thank goodness for first drafts!

Photo credit: Dominiqs on Flickr

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Categories: ponderings


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3 Comments on “NaNoWriMo: Days 20 and 21”

  1. November 21, 2010 at 10:00 am #

    It is an interesting balance, or lack thereof. Writers must sit down and write, but if the writing times are too structured/forced the results are often not so good. Best to avoid, however, that “I’m just not perfect for writing today” mindset. I love cat pictures!

  2. laradunning
    November 21, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

    I have taken a few days off. It has helped me gather my thoughts and understand my story flow better. I have made sure to write over the daily amount, that way I can afford to take some time away and not feel stressed.


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