Just another wannabe author…

Camp NaNoWriMo

So, all has been silent in my blog land.  It is not a lack of love at all.  It is a scramble for word count like the insane freak that I am.  It is nearing the end of day three, and I will be closing it out with twenty thousand words.

Yeah, I roll like that.

I’ve been churning out words in psychotic quantities.  People ask me how I do it.

Mostly, I have no life.  I mean that.  I’m a stay at home, single mom.  The only person I have to please is my two year old.  So I can write all day.

No, I don’t mean that literally.  I mean that I can do a fifteen minute sprint every hour all day long.  My kiddo can entertain himself for fifteen minutes no problem.  I average six hundred words for each fifteen minute sprint.  That adds up quicker than you believe.

I learned how to type when I was in middle school.  That was long enough ago that I’m really quite good at it.  I’m not executive assistant good, but I’m quite good enough to keep up with my thought flow.  I don’t need to look at my fingers, I don’t need to hunt and peck.  I can just type without worrying overly much about my fingers doing their own little thing.

I have spell checker turned off.  For me, this is a big deal.  I make typos, I misspell things.  Sometimes my grammar leaves a lot to be desired.  The squiggly lines of the spell checker are only a distraction for me, something that slows me down.  I cannot ignore a massive wall of red squiggles.  It drives me nuts.  I can spell check later, when I’m sprinting, it’s time to write.

I focus solely on the task of getting my story down.  I worry less about the perfect turn of phrase and word choice.  Sometimes I use dumb words over and over again, simply because that is the first word that comes to mind.  I do pay attention to things like uses of passive voice, but I don’t bog down on the little things.  Sometimes you just have to use ‘guilt’ over and over again and not worry about ‘remorse,’ ‘onus,’ and ‘regret.’  For me, the story is key.

I’ve found the plotting technique that works for me.  At heart, I am a panster.  Outlines scare me.  I do not find a fully plotted outline to be a thing of beauty.  No, an outline is the monster hiding under my bed (my bed is on the floor, no room for monsters or outlines.)  Through trial and error, I’ve found the technique that gives me the direction of an outline and the freedom of pantsing.  I find my plot arc, then follow a three act system that lets me plan small sections while still keeping the bigger picture in mind.  It works for me, you might find something else.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it.

The most important thing that helps me write like a madwoman is my support group.  I have a group of people in a skype chat who are all doing Camp with me.  We do word wars, I can complain to them, they give my mind a break when I need it.  They are my cheerleaders, they are my shoulders to cry on.  And I am all that, plus a writing coach, to them.  It makes a big difference having a group of people in the same boat you are.  Even if they are all imaginary.

The trick to word count is just not to worry about it.  Set a daily goal that works for you, then meet that goal.  If you have more writing in you afterwards, keep going!  The words will add up, sometimes more slowly than we would like.  They still add up.  If you write in four bursts of fifteen minutes in a day and you only write four hundred words each time, that’s sixteen hundred words closer to your goal.  That is one hour.  Keep on trucking, you can get there!

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