Posts Tagged the process

Reflections on NaNoWrimo, day 1 and 2…

Posted by on Sunday, 2 November, 2008

I added about 200 words yesterday, and another 500 or so today… what I have discovered in the first two days of attempting the month long novel: I need a guiding direction. Right now, I have no idea what word will come next; no clear concept of –what- I am writing about.

I sat down last night to watch a few movies, and had my notebook and pen next to me to start building out some sort of inspiration or direction. Nothing. I was only able to put down a few ideas of things to help inspire me, nothing about what I want to write about.

It seems it has been so long since I have flexed my creative muscle that it has atrophied to a scarily stagnant point. I have been so focused in the past ten or so years in building out my technical writing muscles, that I have completely neglected the creative ones. I have substituted any thought about what _I want_ to write about with what I _need_ to write about for work.

I thought I would start by putting a few ‘first lines’ down, but that resulted in tripe. So, instead I pulled out a short piece (which accounted for the first 200 or so words) which I had written ages ago, to build out and use as a basis since it is the one short piece I am most proud of in terms of the craft of writing (the content is really irrelevant). Alas, I can’t even find the inspiration to build that out yet, since it has always stood as a complete piece in my mind.

So, I pulled out one of my favourite short works of fiction to read: Earnest Hemmingway’s “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place
I figured a good read of an inspirational work would get me in the groove… which worked for another 500 words, but resulted in a poor imitation of what I had just read.

I knew when I started this process that it wouldn’t be easy, and that I was setting myself up for failure; after all, I hadn’t written for over 10 years, what made me think I could pull out a 50,000 word novel in 30 days when I also had 40-60 hours of work to focus on each week?

I think what I need to do right now is NOT focus on writing, but rather focus on a topic/theme/subject and find my muse to throw some inspiration my way. Perhaps pulling out a few of my books on writing fiction and novels may be a good start; a way to step back and evaluate or discover what I want to say, what story I want to tell.

At the same time I think I will still continue to try putting down a few paragraphs each day as an exercise in writing and flexing that creative muscle. It doesn’t matter if they are disjointed and unrelated. It doesn’t matter that they may be only exercises in building character or scene, or just focusing in on imagery or dialogue, it will hopefully help me build up those creative chops so when I find that story I’ll be ready to write it down at the speed of light and make my 50K words by the end of the month.. ah, hope springs eternal!