Looking back with 20/20 vision

I’m sure plenty of people will make a joke about 20/20 vision. Probably already have.

2019: what a year. I had goals and dreams, most of them dashed on the rocks of reality. A year filled with unexpected surprises, few of them good. I’ve mulled over this post for longer than I should. It should have been posted in late December, or at least last week, when the year was still fresh.

┬áLosing my parents this year was a hard blow, one I still haven’t quite recovered from. I miss them, in ways I never would have realized. It also put perspective on life, how I live it, and what I do with it. No grand resolutions, no heartfelt promises of change, in life or blog. But there are definitely things stewing, ideas and dreams that I realize now need to be realized or perish.

Welcome to 2020, friends. Now let’s kick some ass and chew some gum, and leave a legacy people will remember, whether that be in print or action, thought or deed. Let’s get it on.

NaNoWriMo 2019: Done

There were moments I wasn’t certain it would happen. After being sick three days, and having a day or two of subpar numbers, I knew it was going to be close, and I certainly didn’t think I’d finish any sooner than today.

As it turned out, I finished yesterday – at least with the part of the writing governed by “write 50,000 words in November.” The story itself is still unfolding on the page, and I’d estimate there’s at least another 10-20k words before this draft is done.

What carried me to this finish line yesterday was some Herculean writing and a persistent but awesome kid.

I started the day yesterday knowing I’d have to write 2,000 words yesterday and today to finish in time. And so, yesterday morning, I sat down and wrote and wrote, and then wrote some more, until I hat that 2k mark. With a big sigh of relief, I declared myself done for the day.

And then my youngest, who I guess isn’t so young now at 13, reminded me that I had promised to go to a coffee shop with them and write while they worked on some sketches. The promise had been made months before I even considered doing NaNo, but somehow kept getting pushed off. Which meant I knew better than to put it off any longer.

So, grabbing my laptop and kindle (just in case), we packed up, ran an errand, and then drove over to Papacinno’s, not too far from the house. Fresh coffee in hand, classic coffee shop ambiance in place, we sat down and I let the demon’s loose again. And boy, were they wild and rampant! Even with breaks for finger cramps and chit-chat, by the time I left I had done it. I had written the other half of the 4k needed to close the gap and call NaNo done.

That doesn’t mean I’ve taken a break from writing, though. I’ve already sat down today and jotted down the next 500 words in the story. My new goal is to write 500-750 words a day (500 is my base goal, 750 is my ideal, but my base is fine too). It’s not an incredible lightning pace, I know, but I was inspired by this article on Tobias Buckell’s blog. Looking over my own graphs of words produced, I see a definite zig zag in productivity, with my biggest dips usually following my greater peaks this month. We’ll see how it goes.

What’s the future of this NaNo piece, currently titled just Titan? Well, we’ll see where that goes and how it ends.

NaNoWriMo: Week Four

Well, tomorrow we kick off the fourth and final week of NaNoWriMo. By the end of week two, I was flying high. My story was flowing, the words were tamed, I was the captain of my destiny. I had what I’ve coined my “Focus” – that combination of organization, train of thought, and action that come together when things are going well.

Then we had week three. I can literally pinpoint the time – it was just after a 3pm meeting on Tuesday last week, at roughly 3:30, that the plague erupted in my head. Maybe it was because of Kumoricon the weekend before (and why I missed a blog post, eek), and this was con crud. Or maybe it was just a bad head cold and would have happened regardless. Either way, 3:30 Tuesday I went from “hey!” to a sickly jerk.

Needless to say, for three days, I didn’t write. I whined a lot. There was a fog in my brain. Much tissue was used.

Late Thursday I started feeling better, and by Friday all I had left were the sniffles. At first, I felt daunted. I was behind by three days. How could I catch up? And then I realized, I could, because I had always baked extra time into my word goals. I just hadn’t planned on that time being used like this.

To “achieve” the 50k of NaNoWriMo, you need to write at least 1,666 words a day for 30 days. But I had been tracking closer to 2,000 words a day. I actually had a little overhead. I was still behind after three days, but I wasn’t egregiously behind. So starting Friday, I wrote.

7,377 words later, I am caught up with the average NaNo participant. I passed the 40k mark today, and have no reason to believe that I won’t finish, maybe even a little early. A little. Like, minutes.

And what happens after NaNo? Because the novel will be at 50k, but it won’t be “done.” Oh, no. I estimate this will be about the 70k mark based on how much is left to say/write, and where I am in the plot currently. So the writing will continue. What will change is the pacing (a little). I said at the start that the pace of NaNo was unmaintainable – as soon as I hit that 50k, I will be dialing it down to a 750 words a day goal (the three page goal). I may go over, I may adjust that number over time, but that’s what I’d like to aim for. Enough writing to keep the juices flowing without the pressure to produce words at any cost.

And that’s where I am at the start of week four! See you on the other side of the 50k marker.