Resolutions or Recriminations?

Getting in my second December blog post under the wire.  Things have been hectic as usual during the holiday season, which as also usual has raised havoc with my good intentions.  Did I say good intentions?  Oh man, for me, even alluding to good intentions is like delivering the kiss of death to my plans and my goals.  Good intentions are the lamest of the lame regarding excuses.  In all honesty, my full speed ahead ran aground.

Well, there’s a solution for that.  Trying to stick to the same metaphor, I need to push my boat back afloat and into the creative stream, then jump aboard before it floats away without me.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve often visited authors’ sites and listened to their advice on writing.  I still do that, and look at writing blogs recommended by my writer’s group.  The last one I read is Writer Unboxed by Jane Friedman.  It is the last one I read because she advocated making more time to write by prioritizing, and one of the specifics was to stop reading writing advice.   It is an excellent post, and you can find it here.

New Year’s Eve is traditionally the time to agonize over resolutions for the coming year.  There is no agony involved for me, because my goals have not changed.  I’ve realized the novel I started for NaNoWriMo is, at 50,432 words, Part I of a novel.  I need to work on the plotting and pace and when I’m satisfied that it’s viable, write Part II.  Then there’s the Valentine’s Day short story I started that needs to be finished so I can submit it for next year.  Rinse and repeat.

The major thing I’ve learned in 2011 is that writing is a job.  Whether it’s a full-time job or a part-time job is up to me.  That this it involves a possible paycheck sometime in the future does not relegate this endeavor to a hobby.  This does not mean it can’t be a hobby, but for me it is not.  I also make jewelry.  That is my hobby.  I love to do it when I can.  Writing is as necessary to me as breathing, and truth to tell, I’m just not a happy camper if I’m not actively doing it – not all day, just a lot.

When I’m not writing, whether it’s outlining, first drafting or editing, I’m thinking about it.  Characters, plot devices, motivations and conflicts are whirling through my head, and the only way to make them stop is to anchor them to a page.  When I don’t apply myself to writing as much as I need to, I suffer self-recrimination.  That is just no way to be.

So if I have to decide on one thing to be resolute about in 2012 and beyond, it’s to quit with the recriminations and apply my fingers to the keyboard.  Like now.

I’m a winner!

Yes, I am a winner – at least according to NaNoWriMo.  Again, the link is on my Resources page.  What that means is that I wrote at least 50,000 words during the month of November.  My total wordcount, validated on the NaNoWriMo site on November 30 was 50,432 words.  What that means on a material level is that I get to print a winner’s certificate with my name on it and my (working) novel title, which is Debut.  I also get to buy a NaNoWriMo winner’s tee-shirt.

On a personal level, it means I finally got out the bare bones of an entire novel that promises to be the beginning of a series.  There are still a number of things that need attention, like character names – I have about six that start with ‘C’.  I ended up with a glossary of foreign terms.  One of my characters is from France, so I have several French terms, one Welsh Gaelic, a couple of Turkish and of all things, some Latin.  I spent a lot of unforeseen time in Google Translator, and near the end found I needed to research the French revolution.  Whatever I had learned about it in school has gone by the wayside.  Also, I found putting a word in the translator and seeing what it is in French (or anything else) is not enough.  Sometimes if you swap it to translate French to English and put in the French word you were given, the meaning is not exactly what you had in mind.  Before I finish editing and rewriting I need to find someone who speaks French fluently to let me know where my usage is anywhere from a little off the mark to downright absurd.  What I have now will do for the time being.

I have to say I am a little surprised at my gut-level reaction to completing and winning NaNoWriMo.  I had a minor melt-down.  I cried a little, and slept about ten hours a night for the next two nights.  I’m finally getting back to ‘real’ life.  For the better part of my waking hours for the entire month of November, I was writing, working the translator, researching associated history and mulling plot issues.  In order to have some alone time just for writing I often got up between four and six in the morning.  I moved my laptop from my little office cubbyhole to the kitchen table whenever necessary so I could babysit grandkids, eat and stay on speaking terms with the rest of the family.  I am still flummoxed about how supportive they all were.  It went above and beyond.  When the month was over and I’d successfully completed what I’d set out to do, I was at a loss.  I printed what I had written and put it in a drawer.  The plan is to get it out in a week or so, when I feel I’ve attained enough distance to be objective, then get back to it.  There was nothing available to obsess on.  I wondered what published career authors did when they got to this point.  Aha!  This is why they have more than one project on the burner.  If I remember correctly, Stephen King, in his book, On Writing said he put a story in a drawer for six months while he worked on other projects.  Wow.  I’d better get busy if I’m going to have that many projects to fall back on while those awaiting a return visit are ageing.

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