Monday, December 13, 2010

An Insanity of Writers?

Two things seemed to chase me around this weekend -- haiku and fairies.

Not literally of course. But references to both kept popping up. And I think as a creative person, it is my obligation to not only accept weirdnesses like these but as well to embrace them. Revel in them if you will.

Shopping with a friend, I saw so many fairy statues and pendants and related items that I finally gave in to the message and picked up a fairy for an author friend, Signe Pike, whose debut memoir you can find here: Faery Tale

I felt much better for listening to the message the universe was sending me in that moment, and that coincidentally is part of what Signe's lovely book is about.

Then the haiku started. I will admit, the haiku MIGHT have been related to the wine. Or the scotch. But mostly I think the haiku was related to being around a bunch of writers. The synchronicity (and drinking) that occurs when a bunch of writers gather is an amazing thing to me and it is both energizing and exhausting. And potentially hang-over inducing, but really that is another story entirely.

As a side note, I have always wondered what the appropriate appellation is for a gathering or group of writers, and I am not quite settled between 1) an Insanity of Writers or 2) an Inebriation of Writers. But I think both are appropriate. Any others I should consider?

Over a 24 hour period, the haiku ranged from Extemporaneous Bar Haiku, themed "Things We Eat With Scotch," to Random Book Signing Haiku, and finally to Zombie Haiku. All great fun, but I'll tell you the part I like best...when you ask writers to quickly produce haiku, inevitably their inner editor gets involved right away. The result is a person staring off into the far, far distance, while their inner editor makes them count syllables. You can tell they're counting because as writers, most of us aren't necessarily math geniuses, and we use our fingers to keep track.

Yeah, I think I'll settle on An Insanity of Writers. Quite perfect, that.

Back to the words.

The Final Snippet: I didn't eat all the pink ones...I just kept sticking my hand in there. (What? It sounds dirty? Pink and white frosted animal crackers people. Sheesh. With thanks to "Cookies" Fahnestock for the shoplift opportunity. )

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

DebNoWriMo and ACK, it's the Holidays!

My personal extension of NaNoWriMo, otherwise known as DebNoWriMo, is shaping up, but very slowly. I set my goal at ~22,000 for the month of December. Am averaging about 500 words a day, and am just past 4000 words for December.

Other than liking the way DebNoWriMo sounds (all pretty to my already overblown ego), the point of DebNoWriMo for me is to continue the daily writing habit I acquired during November. November is, I think, a kind of suck month for a gargantuan commitment like 50,000 words, but I think it's only really suck if you aren't in the habit of daily writing. I was not.

If I can make myself average ~20,000 a month for a few months in a row, I think the habit will be ingrained enough by next November that I can do 50,000 in one month. The big plus-up for me though will be having finished a draft of Mantourage somewhere around the end of January, and be in revisions/editing mode with it, and simultaneously working on drafting the next project over the summer. I will look forward to NaNoWriMo next November as a chance to push myself a bit harder, and hope the habits I am forcing myself to keep will stand me in good stead.

All this of course assumes that I don't get derailed, because, by the way, if you haven't noticed, It's The Freaking Holidays!!!! So much to do. Must get it all done, or pare back on the list. And must stay on track for writing goals.

As such I have eliminated most holiday baking, except for making my Great Grandmother's Hard Table candy (a sort of Welsh fudge) and my mom's traditional thumbprint cookies (The Boy would disown me otherwise).

How will you manage your writing goals during the holidays? What are you willing to give up to do so?

Back to it.

The Final Snippet: Right now this will take a back burn (overheard in a meeting by someone who clearly misunderstood the reference entirely)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

You Know What's Great? (Post NaNoReport 2010)

I hereby report that I did not make 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo. I wasn't sure I would, or that I could, but damn I wanted to. I am a little disappointed in myself, but even as I write that I realize that I DID finish 22,000 words of a new project in one month. 22,000.

That's a damn lotta words.

In fact, 22,000 is probably the greatest number of words I've managed on a spec fiction project in a single month since...well, since I can remember. And it is no small accomplishment.

So, my excitement at seeing this project grow through November, and my now conditioned need to continue seeing the word count grow has led me to declare December DebNoWriMo...which basically means the rest of y'all can slack off, but I plan to grind out another 20,000+ words in December. And another 20,000 in January, which will be DebNoWriMo 2. At which point I will have achieved the ~60,000 words I estimated will comprise my first draft of Mantourage.

Then I will of course descend into editing Hell, which is where all the truly hard work will get done. But I am looking forward to that, my writerly friends. Boy am I.

To steal a motif from my pal Margaret: You know what's great? Learning the lesson NaNoWriMo has to teach us. That's what's great.

What lesson is that? That writers write, every day, every spare second, without apology, without battling their inner critic over every little word. That writers don't just talk about writing, they pass up lunch dates to get another 800 words in. That writers spend Friday night after work at their computer cranking out a pivotal scene instead of at happy hour with their degenerate colleagues.

This is a thing I once knew innately but which I had lost sight of. Thanks, NaNoWriMo for giving it back to me.

And now, back to it.

The Final Snippet: Why is it that our purchasing of lottery tickets must always be hindered by discussions of the supernatural? (I'd try to explain this, but it barely makes sense even to me)