It's Like NaNoWriMo, Only Different

The number one question I got asked over the last two years is "How's the writing going?" And I usually hemmed and hawwed about it. During the first year I was preoccupied with the Magic novel, and I wasn't really able to talk about that most of the time. Then during the second year there was a combination of the way the Magic project wrapped up, me deciding that I wanted to get some sort of part-time work, getting said part-time work, and getting used to said part-time work. And learning how to stress the "part-time" part enough to keep it true without being a real pain to my coworkers. But here we are embarked on the third year since I "quit the day-job" and just over a year since I acquired the new-and-improved-part-time-day-job and my writing hasn't really been going anywhere. I've had moderate success at writing some stuff in my Moleskine journal, (yes - I actually do some writing longhand now. I'm so old-school my bones ache, but I try to put down a page a day into the little black book.) but the Moleskine pages are fragmentary and I tend to skip around. I'm collecting a lot of little neat ideas and vignettes, but there aren't complete stories coming out of this method.

So a couple of weeks ago I decided I needed to try some sort of changeup. My solution was to add some more writing to the mix, and I'm going to borrow the NaNoWriMo playbook, only with some slight modifications. I enjoyed NaNoWriMo quite a bit, but the output was set high enough that the goal became solely wordcount, with no quality concerns whatsoever. Now, it's important to lock up the Inner Editor when writing because you have to get to the "shitty first draft" stage, but you can go too far and end up with 50,000 words that are a mess. Ideally you have a rough marble block that you can take and carve out a Real Book™, but I think it's also possible that you have a pile of thousands of marble chips and a bottle of Elmer's glue. That ain't gonna work. What I found is that I can write about 1,000 decent words a day in one concentrated shot. After that, things fall off quickly. So instead of NaNoWriMo's 50,000 words I'm going to work for a month at a rate of 1K words a day. I've got a very rough story idea and a few characters kicking around and I turned them loose this morning. We'll see what happens at the end of the month.

If I like this, it would take three months (or so) to hit ~90,000 which is a good target for Sci-Fi/Fantasy these days. The deal I've made with myself is that I'll re-evaluate what I have every month. So we're pressing on to 31,000 words of The Unnamed Fantasy Book, starting today. If I hate it by May 31st I'll try something else!

I don't plan on talking about it a lot, but I figured it would do me good to post the goal publicly. If I miss badly then people should shame me in a month. :-)

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