Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Greetings from the NaNo Trenches

I really shouldn't be blogging today, but I've made a few discoveries during my first few days of NaNoWriMo that I wanted to share with you.


1. First drafts are not good.

You probably all realize this, but it's been a while since I've written more than a few chapters of a first draft (and those few chapters I've edited to death so they aren't as stinky as a real first draft).


2. This first draft (though terrible) is better than my previous first drafts.

I've actually learned some things in the last year. YAY! I'm using more active verbs and fewer dialogue tags, the dialogue is better, and even the voice feels stronger and fresher.


3. It hasn't been that hard to meet my writing goals everyday.

Granted we're only on the third day (and I'm only writing on weekdays--2500 words a day--so it's technically only day 2 for me) but I'm starting to think that my "I don't have enough time to write" complaint doesn't hold much water. I may not have enough time to blog, read blogs, AND write everyday, but I definitely have time to write ten pages and read a few blogs (and mow the lawn, do laundry, feed and clothe my children, run to the library, wash dishes, clean the kitchen, and read 80 pages of Scott Westerfeld's LEVIATHAN--which is so good by the way). I don't know where all this time was before, but I'm glad it showed up for November.

It's been an interesting couple of days. I just hope I can keep this pace up throughout the month.

Have you discovered anything interesting about your writing lately?

NaNo Progress: 5112 words

25 comments:

Lisa and Laura said...

We haven't discovered anything lately, but I'm guessing we'll be learning a lot when we send the draft of our WIP to our beta reader. We've used a different approach to writing this project and we're very close to finding out whether or not it paid off.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Yay for your NaNo progress!

*shakes pompoms*

I'm at roughly the same spot as you are on my second book (although I'm not doing NaNo), a little over 5,000 words and have been thrilled to discover that this first draft is definitely cleaner than the first draft of my first novel. The dialogue isn't as painful to read and there are a distinct lack of adverbs.

It's nice to see progression.

Bane of Anubis said...

A realization I have every now and again: writing's kind of like working out... the more you do it, the better you get, but it's still damn hard.

Patti said...

Congrats on the progress. I agree that my first draft of my second book is way better than the first draft of my first book, but it still needs a lot of editing.

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

Glad you're making such great progress. :)

Kristi Faith said...

yay! 5556 so far ;) I have found the time to do things that I never thought imaginable too. :) I think it's the conscious effort to make the most of our time for this month. Funny how psychology works, right? :)

Congrats on your success!

Anissa said...

Awesome progress! I have this suspicion that I waste a lot of time during the day. Glad you found yours. :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Congrats on the great progress. I'm really enjoying the first draft process too. I'm trying out a new genre, and it is a LOT of fun :) I also know this draft is of a much better quality than other first drafts! Yay for nano :)

Matthew Delman said...

In "Bird by Bird," writer Ann Lamott says that everyone writes shitty first drafts. The whole of chapter two in that book is devoted to, you guessed it, Shitty First Drafts.

She also emphasizes that "better writers than you have thrown out worse passages than you." So don't be discourage because you can't compose publishable gold on the first try. Very few can do that.

Anywho, congrats on hitting your goal! Keep it up!

staceyjwarner said...

congrats! Bird by Bird is amazing! You've probably read it.

Yes, lots of time to write without writing blog or reading and commenting...LOL! To blog or not to blog that is the question (for us aspiring writers)

much love

Jessie Oliveros said...

I learned all about bad rough drafts when I finally completed mine, but that is promising news that perhaps my next rough draft won't be as rough as the first. 2500 words a day is awesome. Hope the momentum stays.

Wendy said...

Oh I've been finding the same as you, Natalie. My writings a lot better and tentatively, I'd say editing is going to be a lot easier than it was last time too. It's amazing too see your own progress sometimes, to realize that your brain really has been taking stuff in. Awesome!

Keep up the good work!

Susan R. Mills said...

Good for you! I think blogging steals a lot of my time. I've learned that my writing needs to come first, and I'd accomplish a lot more. Although, I do love to blog...

storyqueen said...

somebody famous said the the first draft is perfect because all it has to do is to exist.

whatever that means!

Congratulations! You are on your way!

Shelley

Tamika: said...

You are rocking Natalie! I've made some similar discoveries, especially about my lame excuse that I don't have enough time. Not!

I am having a blast and I'm glad to hear you are too.

Happy writing!

Jody Hedlund said...

That's awesome that you're making such great progress! Sometimes it takes that huge deadline or goal to push us to perform! When we stick to it, we find we can do more than we thought!

Renee Collins said...

Well no comments on first drafts from me, seeing as how it's been eight months since I've worked on one. *editing-weary sigh*

Good luck with Nano!! I really, really wish I was doing it. :)

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

You have a little gift over at my blog. :)

Caroline Starr Rose said...

NaNo's not treating me kindly, but that doesn't mean I'm not learning from the process!

T. Anne said...

LOL. I've had a realization too. My word burst for NaNo may seriously need to be revised word by word. It's all good though. I'm following you now! I love finding writers on the blogosphere =)

Jill Kemerer said...

Oh yes, I realized I quit writing for the day when I'm uncomfortable. If I push myself to write a higher goal, I meet that goal. I agree, the old don't-have-time-to-write complaint is a lot of hot air.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

I just discovered I'm going to have MUCH more time to write this month than I thought. lol. AND that I am torn between which character's POV to tell my story from.

Corey Schwartz said...

I've always been a big believer in that "If you've got a job to do, give it to a busy person" saying. So true!

Erica said...

Hey there!
I totally agree, first drafts are the pits! However that said, I too think mine are getting better.

I've never been a fan of dialogue tags, so I actually have the opposite problem- I need to add more action so people know whos talking. I always get like 2 pages of dialogue going back and forth, and I'm the only one that knows who is who- not good. Something I need to work on.

I'm loving this experience though. Better get back to writing.

Wishing you and everyone else many words!!

Linda Kage said...

Sounds like you're doing great so far. Hope you keep up the pace. We're all a'rooting for you!!