Here I blog about writing, editing, reading, books, submissions, freelancing, getting published (and rejected), journalism, revisions, life after the MFA, teaching writing, and living the writer's life. Welcome. BUT -- if you are a writer: Write first, read blogs second.




Saturday, November 29, 2008

Winning & Writing


Now that it's all over, I can fess up.

I signed up, back in late October, for National Novel Writing Month - in which thousands of writers try to write an entire 50,000 word novel during the month of November - not because I wanted to write a novel, but in order to get some better traction on the memoir. I wanted mostly to increase my output, and decided that a commitment to write at least 1,800 new words a day was not a bad way to do it.

So I did it. I wrote 53, 576 new words in November. Some are, thankfully, memoir-bound. Others are the drafts of new essays. There is one short story in there (go figure), two poems, and pages and pages of what I think has been missing from other stalled works-in-progress.

I asked one of my writing buddies to make sure I reported in each night with the day's word count. She did. I skipped one day because I was sick, but wrote double the next. Six times, I thought about quitting. I didn't.

When I'm writing nonfiction at this pace, I notice that I tend to read only fiction, and so I was burning through short story collections like M&Ms. Which may explain why I wrote a (probably very bad) short story on the last day - today. My first. Or only?

I started out with a linear narrative in mind, but as usual, I wandered, from the end of one chapter to the beginning of the next, far from the mapped-out route. My nonfiction doesn't much like to stay inside the lines. About half-way through, I decided it didn't matter and I'd just keep writing. So I did.

I'm a little sad that it's over, if only because the power of a group and the pressure of a commitment are powerful productivity partners. So, I got my "winner's badge" (everyone who logs in 50K or more words in the month gets one) and to celebrate I'm taking some time off from writing.
That would be the rest of today.

3 comments:

Michelle O'Neil said...

Congratulations on your amazing accomplishment!

Jenny said...

Congrats! That's great. I can't wait to read what you wrote.

Erika D. said...

I am so impressed, Lisa! Congratulations!