Saturday, December 08, 2007


I've been shut out of blogger for a week. I could see my blog, but I couldn't get into the dashboard to post anything new. My husband fixed it last night when he returned from Boston. He says we need a new router. I'll take his word for it. I'm just glad to be back.

And yes, I finished. The month, the challenge, the first draft . . . history :)

Words written in November: 41,879

Average word count per day: 1396

Not quite my goal of 1500 per day, but not bad considering it took me 18 months to write the first 30,000 words of the novel and only 1 month to write 41,000. And, what makes me most proud, I wrote every single day. Sure, I had my 76 word days--but I still wrote something.

This doesn't mean I'm quite ready to start sending out the manuscript. There are quite a few scenes that need to be written in earlier spots, since I tend to change things as I write and the people and situations as I near the end aren't always what I started with in the beginning. But it's wonderful to have a structure to work with.

What did I learn from this experience?

1. That writer's block isn't always a case of writing something wrong and needing to rethink my direction. Sometimes, writer's block is just laziness (or inertia, as I prefer to think of it.) The hardest part of overcoming inertia is the initial effort. Then, with each day, momentum gathers and starts to take on a life of its own. That doesn't mean that day 30 was any easier than day 1, but that I had an energy on day 30 that I didn't have day 1.

2. That I am just not a serious outliner. I have friends that swear by their outlines. Not me. Not to leave the impression that I'm a complete freeform sort of writer. I always (almost always, I have one story now that's giving me fits) know my endings before I begin. I know where I'm headed and I know five or six high points along the way. But trying to fill in the blanks between those kills the joy for me. I've done it--I even did it for this book--but what I wrote bears only a passing resemblance to that outline. My mind is set free by the actual act of writing. Any amount of dreaming beforehand is not as powerful, for me, as what my mind does when I start to put my people in situations. That's when my imagination kicks in and I do my best thinking.

3. That sheer force of will can accomplish the same thing as inspiration. Don't wait for the muse--go out and wrestle her to the ground.

4. That I can do anything if I set my mind to it.

So now it's time to set my mind to the second draft. Wish me luck!

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