Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | November 3, 2013

ROW80 Check-in November 3

I actually joined NaNo (or for any non-writers in the audience, the National Novel Writing Month) this year, at the last moment, after avoiding it like the plague for years.  I am writing at miserable rates for NaNo, which chides me, telling me how long it will take me to reach 50,000 words–I believe I’m up to February 1st at the moment.  However, it is still a lot for me–at least 500 words a day, which is twice my usual. I’ll take 50,000 words by February, and happily.

I want to entrench the habit of writing everyday. I know that no habit works for everyone, but writing every day first thing works best for me. It’s a struggle to get up early to write before the day job, so I’m glad to have had the last few days of convalescence to practice.

I am a NaNo rebel.  Despite my having several fiction plots in the wings, October bent me toward memoir. The writing is difficult, due to reliving a painful childhood.  I was not beaten or physically abused, but I was often hungry and neglected to the point of coming to the attention of teachers and neighbors. I want to understand what happened so that I can counter the effects it had on me.

In addition to the reasons I mentioned in last Wednesday’s check-in, I have avoided NaNo because I suffer immeasurably from word count envy; I repeat constantly the mantra, “I am not trying to win, but to establish a habit.”

Although I do have a day job I enjoy, I am not entirely looking forward to going back tomorrow.  I tire very easily; I only have one working arm; and I cower at the thought of what will be piled on my desk when I arrive *shudder*. I know that I will slip far too easily back into the Type A personality that is not good for my recovery. I suppose it will be a good lesson in not taking on too much. 🙂

So, I’m writing, very slowly, but writing.  I am replying to comments; I am working on beta readings, as well as continuing some pleasure reading.

How are all of you doing this fine November day?  It is crisp in upstate NY, and going to get close to freezing by morning.  Brrr!  If you have a free moment, please go visit the other ROWers, whom you can find here.

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Responses

  1. Yay for writing every day! With the occasional day off, that is. 🙂 When the days off turn to four times a week, that’s when it gets to be a problem …

    Good luck on the memoirs. Sounds like it’s an important thing for you to do. *hugs*

    • Thanks, Ruth. I’m one of those who needs to write daily to keep the pump primed; as you say, it’s not the occasional day off, but when the days off outnumber the days on that it’s a problem.

      You’re right, I need to write the memoir. As I’ve had children and now grandchildren (yikes!), interacting with them opens up old dusty rooms I’ve locked away for so long. I need to get in there, throw open the curtains, and clean things up. Thanks for the hugs–they are much appreciated!

  2. Hi Elizabeth! I’m another NaNo rebel, working on something I first wrote in 2008 for NaNo and reworked in April this year for Camp NaNo. This time I am *determined* to finish the first draft!!! Hence the fast drafting – I’m not giving my inner critic time to think. 🙂

    That can’t be easy, NaNoing with only one working arm. I think doubling your wordcount under those circumstances is no mean feat. Forget the 1667 wordcount; the only person you have to compete with is yourself, and it sounds like you’re winning to me. Yay!

    Best of luck with the memoir. It’s not easy revisiting a painful past. If there’s one thing that might help, it’s breathe through whatever feelings and emotions come up. Don’t shut down if at all possible. Moving through them is to move forward and leave limiting beliefs behind. Take good care of yourself.

    • Thank you, Lisa, for your support as well as your excellent suggestion about dealing with the emotions the memoir is dredging up. I do have to breathe through it, letting the three-year-old child that is still very much a part of me cry through the pain of it. There is some reluctance to touching the hot stove, but the clarity gained once one is through the pain is well worth it.

  3. Writing double your usual is such a fantastic goal! Good luck on your writing! Please don’t let word count envy get you down. The revisions you’ll do on your book will be so much less than most who speed through the process.

    • Thanks for the support, Dawn. I am slowly adding to the daily word count, as I approach nearly triple my normal count. More importantly, I promised myself I would touch the work everyday, but I find I cannot rest without writing. *happy dance*

  4. Actually, you’re the one, Elizabeth, who inspired me to jump into NaNo this year. I write at about the same pace as you do (250-300 words a day) and am also (so far) writing 500+ every day for NaNo (though we’re only at Day 3). But it is heady stuff to be making progress and writing. Memoir? I admire your courage in facing those early experiences and can only echo Lisa’s comment to write through the pain. May the week go well, one-handed warrior!

    • Oh my word, Beth, I’m honored to have inspired you. My word count is slowly creeping up–I’ll be interested to see how much I manage on November 30th!

      So far, I am managing to write through the pain. I have to stop and cry sometimes, but writing it out helps. Thank you for stopping by, Beth!

  5. I understand about word count envy. But the challenge should be to exceed your own word count, not someone else’s. I think you’re doing great doubling your usual word count. Slow and steady, Elizabeth. By the way, I have “no day job” envy. LOL.

    I can’t imagine what you went through in your younger years. I honestly have no reason to write my memoirs. My childhood was happy and uneventful, at least mostly. I hope writing the memoir will be cathartic for you. Good luck!

    • Thank you for your excellent point about comparing with myself, not anyone else. I am slowly getting better, especially as my word count is getting better every day. The habit is starting to become entrenched, which is even better. I totally hear you about “no day job” envy, and am very proud of myself that four days back at the day job, I am still writing every day. *yay*

      Writing the memoir is definitely cathartic, because I am finally shaking off the feeling that something has to be wrong with me for me to have been so unlovable. It hurts, but it helps as well.

  6. Doubling your usual word count is great!! I feel the real spirit of NaNo is to challenge yourself, and work towards finishing something, not just getting 50k down. I’d say you’re doing great.

    • Thanks, Fallon! I have definitely begun to establish the habit, and have locked the infernal critic in the closet, so things are going well. I appreciate your stopping by with your support.

  7. I think 500 words a day is excellent! Sometimes NaNo is just a nudge toward regular writing, and the 50K goal is not the important part at all. Good luck, and enjoy your words!

    Take care as you head back into work.

    • Thanks, Kim! I’m finally starting to see it the way you do–the burn I feel to get the words out everyday is so much more important to me than the number at the end of the month.

      Four half-days into the day job, and although I am very happy to take afternoon naps like a kindergartner, I’m doing well!


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