After one week of participating in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) Challenge, I am happy to report that I have written 5 out of the last 7 days! Perhaps this may sound like a paltry achievement compared with those who are able to boast writing close to 6,000 words a day after the first week. But for me, this is a huge accomplishment being that I haven’t spent any time working on my novel (except in my head) since mid-October. So far, my goal of using this challenge as a time management exercise to practice writing every day, which is not something I have been able to do thus far, is proving more or less successful. As I move in to Week 2, I am encouraged and hopeful that I will be able to write all 7 days this week.

NaNo Notes: My Take-Away Points For the Week

* I’m trying to maintain a sense of “play” when I sit down to write. I know where I’m going — that’s not the problem. The problem is actually putting backside to chair and sticking it out to do the writing. (This is somewhat painful — think of how a fly might feel when trapped on flypaper and you’ll get an idea of what its like for me to apply the Knickerbocker Rule to myself on a daily basis) If I think about the fact that I am just playing with the ideas I’ve been given, it seems to make things go a bit smoother — time flies, I write, and there’s an end of it. (More on this later…….)

* After talking with M. Bailey the other day, I realized that it’s really OK to keep writing on the trajectory of the main character, at least at this early stage. I was worried that my focus on following my main character through from point A to point B was “the wrong way.” M. Bailey has actually seen more than one novel through to completion and is a skilled craftswoman whom I trust implicitly. She enabled me to see that it is a good idea to go along and write out the “story” surrounding the main character and that all of the subplots and background information will come at the appropriate time. She reminded me of the essential need of really getting to know my main character, of getting into her head and seeing what makes her tick. Writing on a trajectory right now will help me to do just hat. Later, my character may surprise me with what she thinks and does. It will be when the frame of the story, and my main character’s identity, is more completely created that those subplots and supporting cast of characters are able to fully reveal themselves against the identity of this person. I saw the truth in this today when I was writing a scene in which my main character is beginning to rationalize a decision she has to make and slips in to relating her present situation to an event which she had seen happen in the past. Voila! Background and motive, smoothly revealed all at once!

Best of luck to all who are moving in to Week 2! Cheers!