Writing, Writing, and More Writing

November 1st.

Intrepid dreamers all around the world begin their journeys into NaNoWriMo–the attempt to write a 50,000 page novel by November 30th.

I’m not one of them. I wrote last year about why I don’t think National Novel Writing Month is for me. I still don’t think it would work for me, however I am determined to finish my current novel project by the end of November. Over the past week I’ve written over 10,000 words in what will be a novel running somewhere between 60 and 80,000 words. I know, that’s a big difference, but I won’t know until I get to the end that I have reached the end. The story is creating itself. As of now I am over 30,000 words in. (The official count is on my personal computer. I’m writing during my office hours since nobody has come to see me).

While I work well under the pressure of a deadline, I don’t work well under the pressure of pressure. Words, or any creative act, seem to have a cycle with me. They flow like a tidal wave, then turn into a drought, only to return again with the speed of Sandy. As frustrating as those periods of drought can be, I know that I need the fallow time to replenish and let ideas rest for a while until they are ready to burst forth.

Once I break through and the deluge of words begins, it seems to feed on itself. (I know, I’m using a lot of mixed metaphors right now. I struggled with insomnia last night and so my words insist on following their own random path. This too is a symptom of the flood). Since the words started flowing on my novel I’ve written more blog posts than I have for a long time. I’ve also applied for jobs, answered e-mails, graded papers and made comments–words pouring out of my system.

By putting words out there, the universe is answering. Yesterday I was asked to contribute a feature article for the spring edition of a popular magazine about Theatre for Young Audiences. Although the deadline for me to accomplish this task is short (I think they asked me late) I’m really excited about this opportunity. I’ve been asked to “talk about sex”; as in look at how romance and sex is discussed or portrayed in theatre for young audiences. Sexy topic, don’t you think?

[Any TYA folks who might read this, if you have something to say or know of someone who would be a good resource please let me know.]

In addition to that, we’ve finally gotten some funding to do a project promoting literacy to Latino elementary school students using drama, so I need to write up some planning material for that.

The whole point is that I’ve finally found my rhythm when it comes to writing and/or other creative projects. I can’t force it. I can’t create imaginary deadlines like NaNoWriMo. I have to follow my natural (although perhaps slightly psychotic) rhythms of manic production followed by passive reflection. If I fight it, I struggle.

At the moment, I’m not fighting. I’m simply writing, writing, and writing.

What works best for you?

Good luck to all you NaNoWriMo participants. I’ll see you on the other side!

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Andra Watkins
    Nov 01, 2012 @ 13:33:15

    I’m not doing it, either, Lisa. I’m 3/4 of the way through the edits on my novel I wrote in July and August, and it’s due to my A readers on Nov 15. To me, the writing life is about more than November. If that gets some people energized to tackle a novel, great. I think that’s wonderful. But, for me, the stories come when they come, and that’s pretty much all the time.


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Nov 01, 2012 @ 15:26:26

      How do you find A readers. I hope I can finish the draft by the end of November, but just because I’m ready to move forward and have this story complete. I kind of edit as I go, but I look forward to the time that I am just editing.


  2. Kathryn McCullough
    Nov 01, 2012 @ 13:49:24

    I likely won’t ever attempt to write anything in a month. Just woudn’t work for me. Congrats on being asked to do the feature article. Sounds pretty damn cool to me. It really sounds like things are coming together for you, my friend. I’m happy for you!


  3. Julie Frayn
    Nov 01, 2012 @ 14:12:27

    I’m doing NaNo. I tried the first time with Camp NaNo in August. That kind of pressure and deadline works for me, pumping out words that I can then edit and revisit and play with and nurture. It took 7 years to write my first novel. I think my second will be done in under one. And perhaps the third that I started today will take half that time.

    I’m always writing. Always seeking an outlet for the creative side of me (since being a creative accountant is frowned upon. And sometimes leads to jail time). But without deadlines, self imposed or not, I wander instead of just staying on one path.

    I figure whatever works for each individual is what that person should do. Sounds like you’ve hit your rhythm now, so stay the course!


  4. lisaspiral
    Nov 01, 2012 @ 15:11:22

    Congratulations for holding your own boundaries. The theater project sounds really interesting.


  5. Victoria-writes
    Nov 02, 2012 @ 05:48:40

    I’ve never tried it, I think I might crack under the pressure! I think you have to find what works for you, there’s no right way to write (at least I hope not :))


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Nov 02, 2012 @ 06:56:41

      You are so right, sister! I am beginning to believe theirs no right way to live . . . all you can do is your best and hope you don’t harm anyone along the way, or leave too much unintentional mess along the way.


  6. termitespeaker
    Nov 02, 2012 @ 09:02:29

    Lisa, I’ve nominated you for the Next Best thing Award! See nomination and rules here: http://termitewriter.blogspot.com/2012/11/ive-been-nominated-for-next-best-thing.html


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