The Finish Line

I... did... it.
I... man...aged... to... fin...ish.
Seriously though, those last 500 words were killing me. I was slogging through the story linearly and suddenly thought, "I'll be up forever doing it this way!!" so I flipped through to a few spots where I knew I could add some description (and no b.s.!). Not done editing, of course, but a winner nonetheless.

Above you will see the "prize" (besides the warm fuzzies) - an icon to put on my webpage. The bird, you will notice, is smiling and instead of a typewriter has a finished manuscript.

For those wishing to see the previous icon, it's here.
 Posted by Hello

The Homestretch

Here's a running description of my sprint down the homestretch.
At the beginning of the day, I had 3980 words to write. It will all have to be filler, since the main line of the story has ended. A discussion of last ditch techniques have been discussed, such as a theme song (or songs throughout, a la LOTR), acknowledgements, a b.s. section describing the heroine in excruciating detail, and chapter dividers composed of words have all been suggested. I'll report which one I use at the 11th hour.

Two hours through the day, at approx. 10:30, I have written 528 words and am in Chapter 2. Assuming an average 200 added words per chapter and an hour per chapter in which to do it, I should be done in approximately 18 hours. Let's hope this number changes.

Four hours through my workday, approx. 12:30, I have written 1005 words, and am in Chapter 3. Not all those words have been added to existing chapters. I have added one prologue and two mini informational chapters so far.
In other news, the cats are hilariously chasing toys around the house, but in general are happy to have me around.
Also, the receptionist from the office called from her personal cell phone. It appears the phones at work are out, which is why I couldn't call in. I told her to tell my coworkers I wouldn't be in today. I'm continuing to fight off guilt because it looks better outside right now than I thought it would earlier today.

Six hours through, approx. 2:30, I have written 1777 words, and am in Chapter 4 (I added another mini chapter). Does it seem like I'm speeding up? Yeah, It seems like that to me too. Crossing my fingers.

Eight hours and still going strong. It's approx. 4:30 and I've written 2313 words. Yes, I've slipped a little in pace, but considering I'm only in Chapter 6 now, I feel like I will have plenty of good material and no b.s. at the end. The only problem, good material takes longer to write. That just means I have to work longer, of course. Well, at this pace, I think I have around six hours of work still ahead of me. I still have tomorrow evening, of course, but I'd rather just get it done, especially since the guilt has really set in. The weather really didn't turn out as badly as I seriously thought it would.

Ten hours and nearing the 49K mark. Approx. 6:30 and I've written 2810 words. I think I've dropped the pace again, but I'm heading into another mini chapter added and that always pumps up the word pace. I'll finish this evening for sure, without even making additions throughout the whole book. I have been editing at the same time, which has slowed my progress, but I like the results a lot better.

Twelve hours and seeing the finishline stretched out in front of me. Approx. 8:30 and I have written 3422 words. What does that mean in the long run you ask? Well, remember at the beginning I said I needed 3980 words? Yep, that means I have just over 500 words to go. When you hear from me next I will be done!

Oh Darn... Snowed In

After the harrowing (slight exaggeration) drive back to my house yesterday, where I was going 40 on I-70 and crazy people were zipping by me, I've decided I'm not going to work today. I've managed to get to work plenty of times after snowstorms before, so I deserve a snow day. Especially considering it's still snowing - mainly in the south part of Denver, but when they showed the downtown on the news this morning, it was snowing there too.
So I refuse to feel guilty for staying in today. Really.
Does the fact that I'd like to work on the novel today (4,000 wds to go) have anything to do with it? Yes and no. I was trying to imagine what my decision would have been without something to work on here at home, but I really couldn't make an unbiased decision.
Also... I haven't managed to get a hold of anyone at the office, so I'm probably not the only one playing it safe today.

How much did I pay the weather gods to produce this snow day right before the deadline? Let's just put the number at ALOT.



Here I am, back from the Thanksgiving trip, trying to get some writing done and I can't because I'm too busy wallowing in self-pity. I'm hoping writing it down will get it out so I can get back to the story.
The trip back was about three hours too long and apparently I'm a failure as a human being. That's ok though, as I see it, because lots of well-known writers are failures as human beings. It just ensures that we have lots of time to write.
It's entirely my fault that I ask a simple opinion question and get a Socratic method answer and when I object I'm told I'm being passive-aggressive (someone shoot me if I ever use that phrase to describe another person - I believe it is one of the least helpful criticisms one can give another person, except perhaps "defensive"). The nice thing was I actually did get to hear the discussion I was seeking in the first place, it just had to be phrased differently by another person in the car.
I know everyone should be cut some slack because we were trapped in a small space for a long period of time and everyone was stressed. But I'm tired of being told what's wrong with me. I'm tired of twisting this way and that trying to accommodate people I work with and people I'm related to. It makes me feel like my feelings don't count. Maybe they don't. Maybe the "higher" way is to subvert all personal "ego" and bend as the wind blows. If one has nothing one can call "feelings", one can't have one's feelings hurt. If you're being called passive-agressive, you wouldn't feel upset because thier feeling validated is what counts. That's certainly the approach I've taken at work. "The customer is always right." or coworker or whatever. I'm nothing. I don't count. What can I do for you?
See, having no feelings means you can toss out self-pity as invalid too. It's just the ego trying to be heard. Ignore it and it'll go away. Oooooohhhhmmmmm.
Like now.

(Now 5000 words are calling my name... ciao)


Chugging Through the Ending

Well, the story is coming to a nice end. It doesn't sound as abysmally bad at I feared it would be. I think I'll be a few thousand words short, so I'll have to go back and add some stuff in the middle. Hopefully that won't be too much of a pain.
Thanksgiving was good, though the family closeness is a bit much sometimes. I have a very opinionated family that likes to share thier opinions a lot. Not bad in small amounts, but requires patience over the long term. (Sorry guys!)


The Great Sardine Ride

We made it to Oklahoma, sanity intact, but covered in dog hair. Four adults and a dog were not meant to travel for 11 hours in a Toyota Matrix. The positive of that arrangement was we only had to drive for about 3 hours each.
I, of course, got zero accomplished on the story, but I've had plenty of time to mull over the ending. Result: in the same dilemma I was in 36 hours ago. I have several vague ideas, but no real strong finish. Finally I came to the conclusion that I need to write an ending, any ending, to finish this 50K words in 30 days, then later, if it really turns out to be a dog, rewrite after figuring out something better. Gotta focus on the goal here, not get caught up in quality issues just yet.
T-day dinner... lunch actually, will be in 2 hours. YAY! I am so hungry!


Excuses excuses

I don't think not going to tai chi class would have changed things, but it would have helped a little. Maybe I would have gotten to bed an hour earlier. Maybe.
After laboring over the novel for several hours and producing only a little more than half quota, I realized I still have some thinking to do on the end. I want it to be a bit more intricate (like one of those caper movies, Ocean's 11 or The Sting) than just the usual blammo action movie/story. That of course, requires thought and time to think -- something I'll have plenty of once we get going on the Great Sardine Ride to Oklahoma, but not something I had last night.
So finally I closed up shop and got to the real work of the evening: getting ready for the trip. Of course, this included typical trip stuff like packing and taking out the garbage, but I also had to clean the stovetop (because I had let it go too long without cleaning and there will be someone coming in to feed the cats - I can't have her seeing I'm a slob! Ok, it is NaNoWriMo time... mitigating circumstances) and replace the litter in the cat's bathrooms. I also had to dig out the vacation light timers and set the VCR to record my favorite shows.
Ironically, all this kept me up longer than the novel ever has - 3 am. Granted, I can pack and clean while I'm tired, but I can't write while I'm tired.
Here's to hoping I can still make good progress on the novel while surrounded by distractions.


The Yipeeyuk Strikes Again

"...and now my child, at last you know exactly why I work so slow."

Well, procrastination jumped on my back again yesterday. I still managed quota, but I stayed up late to do so. The good part? I did some serious mulling over the remainder of the storyline, which hadn't come together yet, and had some breakthrough ideas. I'm getting a glimmer of how this story will end.
Also, I'm about 600 words from 40K. Yay! Nearly 80% done!



Over 5K words today folks, and that makes 12K this weekend (including Friday). I am over a day ahead of "minimum", which I will be adding to slightly if I get my usual quota of 2K done Monday and Tuesday. Yippee!
I have a little over 12K to produce in the next eight days. No problemo! Even with lost time in the car.
[Doing the conga line by myself around the room...]

Lower Peak

Yay!!! I reached 35K, where I "should" be if I were taking the path of least resistance and producing the minimum required every day to finish exactly on the last day. What does this mean? It means that my average progress has finally come UP to the point that if I am consistent with my past production I should finish on time. If I were to produce from this point forward 1667 words per day each day for the remainder of the month, I will finish on time.
Of course, I will lose some time while traveling to and from Oklahoma later this week, plus I hope to not have to work as much (if at all) on Thanksgiving itself. So, I need to work up a surplus or suffer some sleepless nights Nov. 29 and 30th (until midnight, that is).

On the subject of hourly production rates, which came up in a comment a few days ago (abbreviated: Anne, why don't you produce more per day? I can't, I'm slow.), I have found that I do actually have a slower pace than many of my compatriots. Ok, "many" is too strong a word, but of the two whose pace I do know, one produces over 800 words/hour and the other over 1000 words/hour. I am about half that. On a great day I can push 600, but over time (evidence: this month) I produce about 450. I would have pegged it about 500 before this experiment, so I'm not too far off. This is generally with the TV off, but with occasional jaunts to Internet Beach as a break. I think I have difficulty concentrating. That certainly happens to me at work. Nice to know it's a general weakness, not one specific to the workday.
Fortunately I have a trait that evens the playing field -- persistence. It may take me twice as long, but doggone-it, I'm going to stay out here till it's done.

So, while the rest of the team goes in for a shower and a home-cooked meal, I'm going to stay and finish those last 15 laps. See you in the locker room!


Encore Encore!

Well, I'm being hit with "the sleepies" (as a friend calls them). I need to either get up and do some dishwashing, or go to bed. Haven't decided which yet.

I've got lots and lots done today, clocking in at about 10 hours of work and just over 4200 words done. I was hoping for 5 to 6 K, but one can manage only so much attention span. The words per hour dropped considerably after 3K. During my dinner break I watched "Someone Like You" (yes, the title is abominably bland). Normally I'm not much for romantic comedies. I'm too much of a romantic myself, and I find them a little too pat a lot of the time, especially considering how life doesn't really conform to the romantic comedy formula. Anyway, I happen to like this particular movie, mainly because it's female lead (Ashley Judd) is not overly saccarine and it's male lead (Hugh Jackman) gorgeous and charming beyond belief. I swear, if there was someone I wanted to meet in real life to see if he were as handsome and as charming as he appears on TV, it would be Hugh. I'll have *that* with a side of chocolate sauce, please! (Let it be noted for the record that the males in my family have not cornered the market on non-sainthood.)

Aww, one of the kitties has settled next to me on the couch. Too cute. Maybe I'll manage to stay and write a little longer.

A Good Start

Chugging away here at a good pace, provided I manage to control my attraction to procrastinatory activities.

Thought I'd post this quickly...
"NaNoWriMo will be featured on NPR’s Talk of the Nation next Tuesday! They’re dedicating an entire show to novel writing, and it sounds like they’ll be leading with a conversation about us."
It was a news item posted on the NaNo website. I'm not sure if the Tuesday they are refering to was last Tuesday or will be this Tuesday, but it's exciting to say the least.

Ok, procrastination over with, back to work! [bullwhip cracks in the background]

Back on Track

I was really tired at work today (yesterday, actually, since it's after midnight), so I had some serious worries about meeting quota this evening.
Thanks goodness as soon as I got home I got started. So, 4 hours of writing and two hours of watching TV later, I reached quota. Yay!
"Why were you watching TV?" I hear you ask? Well, I need a bit of a break and time to eat dinner. I just need a vacation from my own head for a while. The first show was good (Enterprise, latest in the Trek series) and and the second (Medical Investigation, a combination of the medical drama and the forensic shows) was so-so. There was some decent writing, but they relied way to much on the "charismatic leader" who I found a little overbearing. He fell smack in the mediocre section of the range, with Grissom (CSI) and Jack Malone (Without a Trace) being the positive end of the scale, and Horatio 'H' Caine (CSI: Miami) [cue sound of cat and hairball here] on the negative end.
Well, it's time for bed. I really feel positive about possibly kicking some novel ass this weekend.


Sucking down Darjeeling with Marie Antoinette

Bad News: Didn't meet quota, or even half quota, yesterday, so I'm even further behind...
Badder News: Old laptop is kaput, no novel writing during 24 hours in the car...

Good News: Got wonderful "It's about the process" speech from sister in anticipation of me not getting this novel done...
Gooder News: Have entire weekend to see if I can manage to come from behind and still win this thing...



I got skillz

Today I learned a very handy skill -- how to break into my own house with a credit card (or similar plastic membership card). That's without the deadbolt, of course. Thank you, Brian for suggesting it!
In other news, I got half quota done yesterday, as I thought I would. I'm going to aim for half quota today too, since I'm going to have dinner at Aileen and Brian's. I really really hope this weekend is very productive, so I'm not backing myself into a corner at the end of the month, but we'll see.
I half wish I could write faster, but the quality of what I'm producing is pretty decent (which it wouldn't be if I were writing "filler"), so I guess I gotta take my licks.


A Little Section of Downhill

Apparently, this marathon isn't completely uphill. I experienced a little break yesterday when I completed quota in a mere 3 hours. That was mainly because there was a short story tucked into the novel, and I had the whole story in my head. No gear grinding. I went to bed "early" but am still really tired today. I'm thinking that today and tomorrow I might take half quota days (equalling 1 day off), then I could make it through the week. This weekend will be interesting. No committments other than working on the novel.


Keeping the pace up

Last night I pushed through the last hour and made quota. Yay!
Going home yesterday, I was worried because I had realized that the time frame on the current plotline didn't match the pace of the story. I toyed with the idea of rewriting some of what I had already written, to pull the story forward in time a bit, closer to the action. But, not only did it seem that this would slow down my writing process, but it would also contradict my current method of following the characters to find the plot. So, there had to be a reason my characters had met in such a way and at that paticular time in the plotline. When I started looking at that, I realized that it had to happen that way to allow for character development. And in following that development through it's natural course, taking into account the feelings of my characters, I found a new plotline to lay over the other one! Yay!
This method of writing is really interesting, and I'm looking forward to finding out what quality of novel it produces. :)


Making up ground

Yesterday went well. Not wildly well, but well enough that I made quota and a little bit more. I'm running about 3000 words behind where I should be at this point. If I keep up with quota though, that will gradually disappear and I'll be able to finish on time. (For those who wonder what my quota is, it's 2000 words/day. That's 334 words higher than the minimum needed (50K words/30 days), so if I make quota, I'm gaining ground.) I don't have much leeway for taking time off, but as I said in the beginning, this is to teach me discipline.
Now if I can only figure out where this story is going...
(On a side note, I am learning not to push for higher than quota if it's 11 pm and I'm tired. Hopefully that will help my stamina over the weekdays.)


The Grind

Not doing so hot on the writing right now. Last night I went to have dinner with friends and figured I'd get back in time to do some writing. Well, that was before I gave a friend a ride home and she "just wanted to stop by" a bar/restaurant a guy she's dating has just opened. It turned into and hour and a half detour and of course I was too tired once I got back. I'm not particularly mad at her, just frustrated with the situation. She got sucked into talking to friends, and I'm going to be more wary of situations like that.
On the soccer front, we lost 2-5 tonight against a very skilled, very fast team.
Well, back to the mines...


D'oh! Kid 1 Adult 0

Well, the immature kid in me won last night. I managed to procrastinate my way to producing a little over 500 words. Of course, now the adult in me is in charge, and she is not happy!! >:(
Instead of complaining though, I'm going to go get some more words on the page while Aileen and Brian go get the Uhaul truck.


After midnight, we're gonna let it all hang out...

Got a late start yesterday, because my favorite show, Without a Trace, didn't end until 10, but I reached my quota anyway.
I'm still managing 500 wds/hr, so it still took me a while but I got to that magic mark! I only got real tired during the last hour. Then I would just get up and do something small and quick, like washing something or prepping trash to be taken out, tidying, etc.
We've moved on to a new segment of the story, which should be fun. I've increased the cast of characters, so that should provide lots of opportunities. Interestingly, I've noticed that I tend to keep my cast of characters to a minimum. This might come from my background in short stories, but I tend to think it's a desire for an "uncluttered" storyline.


Persistence is Futile

I did not manage to hit quota yesterday. I got through 1000 words before succumbing to fatigue. I was so tired that "pushing through" didn't seem like it would produce anything significant. I went to be "early" at around 11.
Looking back I think (can't be sure until I reread it) the stuff I did write yesterday was 50% crap. Oh well. Today will be better, I'm sure.


Choppy waters

Well, I reached quota yesterday, but because of procrastinating, I didn't get it done till 1 am. On the positive side, my speed was increased. I got 2000 words done in 3.5 hours instead of 4 like the night before. I hope that's a trend, especially considering what I was writing wasn't fast work.
What is fast work when writing a novel you ask? (Ok, you didn't ask, but I'm going to tell you anyway.) A fight scene is fast - it's descriptive, plus I have the whole scene in my head. I know where it begins and ends and in between kind of takes care of itself. Exposition can be fast if it's something I've been thinking over for a while. Transitions are slow. You can't ignore them and just say, "three weeks later," unless you've established a pattern of life for your character that the reader can insert in the blank. It has to be interesting enough that your reader won't put the book down, but not interesting enough that it distracts from the main plot. It needs to be filled out just enough that the reader gets the idea, and it needs to be concise. Transitions are hard.
Yesterday was a day of transition for my main character. Today there should be some big action going on.
And hopefully I'll be able to get to be earlier!


Smooth Sailing

Alright. I think I'm getting back into the "get your butt in gear" mode.
Last night, I achieved my quota of 2000 words and did it by 12:30. I'm still behind in terms of where I "should" be (if I were producing the minimum very consistently from the start), but my personal daily quota is a few hundred above the minimum, so I should catch up in the next week or so. Then, I'll be able to start building up a surplus.
The writing process has been really interesting. I'm getting the hang of "letting the story tell itself". We'll see what kind of product that yields, but it is fun, 'cause it's like watching a movie sometimes.
I do love writing. I just wish I weren't such a weenie about it.


One foot in front of the other

Worked on the novel until 12:30 last night and made it to 2,000 words. Yay! I'm still running a little behind, based on my past performance (ie. crappy middle of the week), but if I can keep the pace up, I should be able to catch up before the month is over. What I'd like to do is get the bulk done before Thanksgiving. I seriously doubt I could bring up the pace enough to get it all *done* before Thanksgiving.
End of the month. That's all I ask.


Pushing through

I (and the other gal) had to play without a substitute during today's game. We've been moved up to the C League. We lost 6-9. I played ok, but could have played better if I hadn't been so tired.
In the same vein, I'm doing ok with the novel -- yesterday I had a stellar 3,000 words written. Today 1,000 so far. I need at least twice that, but I don't know if I'll make it. We'll see. I just need to push through the tiredness and keep at it.
In fact, I'm supposed to be writing right now. What a procrastinating genius I am.
Ok, ok! I'm going!


Second Wind?

I got over a thousand words written yesterday evening! Yay!
I wanted to go to sleep around 11:30, but forced myself to hold out and keep working until midnight. I did, and somewhere in that time, I discovered a nugget of characterization which carried me through to 12:30. Yippee!
Of course, today is going to have to be a day of intensive working to catch up. Now that I know how hard it is to get my quota done on the weekdays, I know what I need to do to get done on time. I'm also hoping to get done early, so I'll be able to relax at Thanksgiving.
Intensive work may have to wait a couple hours though. I'm going to meet some other writers in the area and "talk shop."


Let's face it, I'm pooped

I went to bed at the "early" hour of 11:30, and I'm still tired! Yesterday, I went to tai chi and spent a lot of time doing household work. When I sat down at the computer at 10:30, I was aching all over and just couldn't even turn my brain on to write. Fortunately, during idle moments of the day I had been writing NaNo stuff on a yellow writing pad. I transcribed that to the computer, cleaning it up along the way, and called it good. Sure, it's only a page, but it's 435 words less that I have to write. Yippee!
I'm briefly going out to see my friends this evening, and only meeting a really attractive guy is going to keep me out later than 8. Hopefully I'll still have some pep in me to write some this evening, 'cause I am going to have a lot to catch up on this weekend. Only 1 out of the 4 nights have I reached my quota and the other 3 fell very very short.
It's like climbing a mountain. Don't look at the highest peak, you'll just get discouraged. Aim for the ridge or bend in the trail immediately ahead.


Long Climb Ahead

I'm feeling marginally better today because I wrote more last night than I did the night before. (Stayed up 'til 1 am doing it, too.) But I didn't get to my quota of 2000 words, not even half. Part of the problem was that I just bought cool hanging file folders for my new plastic file drawers. Well, the file drawers aren't brand new, I've had them for several months. Aileen pointed out just last week that they had grooves for hanging files. So I got the cool colored folders. Which meant I had to do this filing and organizing last night. HAD TO. Now I'm all organized and keyed by color. Fine. I love it, but couldn't it have waited 'til the weekend?
There were other, TV related, distractions -- "Lost" and Jackie Brown!
Today won't be too much better, since I need to keep going to tai chi, but I intend to keep slogging ahead, however slowly.
I think the key will be not to get too bummed about not making quota during the week, but keep moving, keep making progress, then catch up on the weekends.
We'll see how that goes. :\


Not Happy

Not only am I depressed that we haven't hit bottom yet (as evidenced by the recent election results), but I let the stupid electoral college battle distract me from producing more for my NaNovel. Approximately 150 words produced yesterday.
Damn you, electoral college! [shaking fist at the sky]

Edited to add: Well, I did some writing at lunch today. It made me feel better. :)


And a one!

Really enjoyed writing yesterday, generated some good stuff, but really it took too long to get to my goal of 2,000 words. I think I'm going to have to:
a) not let myself be sucked into TV shows (Come on! It was SNL!), and
b) institute a curfew, if I'm not done by 12 (and that includes random things like checking email), then I have to stop and go to bed!

In other news, it's election day! Last day for stupid political ads! Yippee!



Apparently a bit of snow on the ground is a sign that bad parallel parking is allowed. All courtesy is suspended. Every man (or woman) for him (or her) self!
I haven't seen so many half a space in front, half a space behind, in a long long time. Frickin fracken bad drivers!

And I need my mum to knit me a poncho! It's cold in this office and I lost my cardigan. Booo hooo! (as I sit here with my scarf wrapped around me like a shawl...)

PS - Haven't written anything for NaNo yet. I'm excited to get home and start!