40K Shout Out with the End in Sight…

So, I’ve made it to another 10K mark, my fourth one to be exact.

At this point I had thought that I’d be feeling pride, happiness and joy, but admittedly, the only thing that I’m feeling is relief. Relief that finally, I have a target that in sight and, more to the point, even if I now write below the expected average, I’ll still make it. Writing 10K words is a hell of a lot easier than writing 50K and for once, I’m above target.

I have to confess that when I started this, I thought that I was biting off a little bit more than I could chew. It feels like an age ago when I stumbled onto the NaNoWriMo website and thought: ‘Oh yes, I had wanted to do this – what the heck, let’s sign up…’ In truth, it’s only been 17 days.
In a sense, a lot has changed for me in this short time. I find myself thinking about my writing in a different way, and thinking about other people’s in a different way. I met other people who wrote, people who have wishes just like I do, people who dream the same dreams. I’ve come to realize what a personal thing writing is and that there are as many ways of going about NaNo as there are people participating in it. I’ve been humbled by some people’s efforts, saddened by others and generally pretty impressed by most. For the first time in my life, I felt as if I was a part of something bigger and that my words were a part of something bigger. I found myself racing through words along with my fellow South Africans to try and get our country’s word count in the top 50 (of over 400 regions) and made an effort to attend the write-in’s that I could. I’ve touched souls that I would never have even known existed if it had not been for this strange month of November. It’s been such a gift and it’s reminded me how grateful I am that I can do this.

With the end in sight, I find myself wondering how I’m going to return to my normal writing routine, where I’d maybe type a few thousand words a week and not touch my computer for days at end. I ran a race once, and prepared for months before it to get fit. Then, the day of the race arrived and I completed it within my set goals. I remember being so happy that I wouldn’t have to be training so hard anymore yet, when I woke up two days later, I found myself lying in bed and wondering: What now?
So, I got up – put on my running shoes, informed my parents that I was leaving and went jogging again. Not because I had to, but because I had become so used to doing it that I didn’t know what else to do with myself. I chose to remain in practice, not for that race or the next one, but because it had become a part of who I was.

I don’t run anymore of course (bad knee) but in a strange sense, I feel that the principle is the same. The author Kim Harrison said much the same thing in her blog, that this month is like a race of marathon writing and that eventually, you find a pace that you are comfortable with. I have realized that I am comfortable with writing everyday, that I need this quiet time by myself to sit down and digest my thoughts. And also, for the first time, I don’t feel so isolated when doing it. There are people like me, running this race, collecting the words and putting them to black and white like tapestry makers.

I know that I’ll carry on writing, but I find myself wondering what’s going to happen to everybody else who started this. Will they continue? Will they write until they reach 50K and then just stop. Will they fail in reaching 50K and stop altogether because they could not reach the goal that they set for themselves? I truly hope not. Even if they don’t publish, I hope that they find websites like www.fanfiction.net and www.fictionpress.com to help them share their words.

You see, getting a book out there isn’t all that matters. What matters is that you enjoy yourself, and that you write for yourself first and foremost before you write for anybody else. Yes, it’s nice to earn a little bit of money out of it, or would be (I don’t know what it feels like, lol) but it’s more important to make this talent, this gift your own and keep developing it.

I hope that NaNoWriMo opened the doors for people and the school of thoughts that it did for me, and that people can walk away from it – proud of what they’ve done.

As for myself… I’m going to go back to my writing. 😉

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8 thoughts on “40K Shout Out with the End in Sight…

  1. kyuun November 22, 2009 / 4:17 pm

    My end is, unfortunately, not in sight. Today I hit 31K, but I’m going to try my best to make it to 40K within two days, even with school on the side. I want to do it, and I want to finish it, and then I want to do endless of numbers of drafts until it is polished and actually looks like a decent work of fiction.

    And then, after all that work, I want to get a number of people to edit and go over it, and send it back with bunches of criticism so I can do a few more drafts and make it better.

    And then, only then, once the people editing it for me have 100% approved it, I want to try and submit it to an agent and hope against all hope that I can, maybe, get a bound copy of it if not for anyone else, but myself. I don’t care that I’m underage, underexperienced and will probably be looked at like a joke.

    Right now, that’s my goal. Reaching a bit higher than my height in total, but I figure that if I just keep working, then something good will eventually come of it. 🙂

    • Alyssa November 23, 2009 / 12:45 pm

      You can do it!! There’s nothing better than the last thrill week. That Adrenaline pumping: I might still make it but I have to rush… way of typing. Just let it flow and if you feel as if you’re getting writer’s block – just throw a ball at it. 😉 Become the unstoppable force…
      😉
      Good luck!!

      • kyuun November 23, 2009 / 1:44 pm

        Right now, I’m writing and not looking at the word count. Half the time I’m not even sure if I’m writing or even progressing the story at all. I don’t even know if it’s semi-coherent. But heck! I’m getting there! Just need 3K more for tonight… 😀

        Thanks!

  2. GreyIxia November 22, 2009 / 5:55 pm

    Woo! The end is in sight! I just imagined it and instantly felt relieved as well. Though my novel is only 13 pages long so far, I am confident that I will reach my 100 page goal by October 4th, 2010. After all, that is a long way from now, but I do not like telling myself that because then I will procrastinate…

    What I am basically doing is writing my outline and the novel at the same time. Sometimes I feel like writing more, which is when I write my novel. I make sure to keep my outline ahead though, so after I write some in my novel, I write some in my outline. I am about 2 chapters ahead in the outline. I am also hoping that each chapter will be 6 pages or more, at which I am succeeding. It is amazing how you can get 6 pages worth of story from a 1 page chapter outline :). I also do not stick completely with the outline. I have already gone against it in two parts, but the main points are still the same.

    When you are writing, how do you space it? I know it is more word count than page number, but I am just curious.
    See, out of 13 pages, I only have 4,327 words because I 1.5 space mine (I hate single and double spacing).

    • Alyssa November 23, 2009 / 12:44 pm

      Right. My spacing:
      Firstly, I write in MS Word 2007 so most of my documents are .docx. My margins are 1.5cm (or 0.6inch) and my font size is 10. I write in courier new (because that’s what we worked in when I had typing in school) and my space is… *goes off to check…* 1. I like to see my pages crowded with words, lol. (I feel sorry for my Beta though!!)
      So, for instance – now i have 44k words on about 55 pages.

      You’re good to write outlines. that’s my biggest flaw. I just sit down and type and that makes that I loose track of stuff sometimes. I took one of Kim Harrison’s lectures to heart and now I;’m going to start working with a kind of character grid.

  3. Fyrefly November 23, 2009 / 11:57 am

    You wrote that much in 17 days? Thats great! I think writing that many words in general is an acomplishment, yes, other people have done it but I still think its an acomplishment all the same. Especially in 17 days! But after writing all that I can kinda understand why you’d be relieved. I couldn’t do it.
    I’ve been reading a few of peoples progress here and there and I have to say, I’m Impressed by all these people managing to get it all done so quickly and I think its good that they’re doing it at all. I didn’t even know NaNoWriMo existed until last week.
    Its good that you’ve found a comfortable pace for you writing, mine is…er… a little all over the place at the moment, with my current circumstance I’m finding it a little hard to write much of anything and when I do actually feel like it, I’ve got other things on mind that wont go away.
    And I agree with you, about writing for the writing, because its what you like to do. Anything else is a bonus.

    • Alyssa November 23, 2009 / 12:39 pm

      LOL, yes I did. When I get my teeth into writing, i can do quite a lot. last year, when i was finishing one of my fan fictions I wrote 25000 words in about a week. That was extraordinary circumstances though, I had to have it finished by the end of December, and I had the time to do it in. So, it’s all about time, spacing and practice really. Don’t feel bad if you’re writing average is below that. It takes time to develop, espesually if you have nothing rushing you from behind. 🙂
      Ever considered doing NaNoWriMo?

  4. Phil November 23, 2009 / 8:35 pm

    I’d no idea NaNo is a kinda country contest, too, in a way. If your country wins, i hope they let you carry the flag. 😉

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