A change of scenery

I meant to post last weekend, then I felt bad for not having much of anything to say and for thinking of taking time away from my NaNo project. I am so far behind on my goal. I’m trying to berate myself just enough to light a fire under my ass, but also be realistic enough to accept that I may not get to 50k this time around. The main reason for this would be the switch from typing up my first draft to scribbling it down by hand. Typing is easier and quicker. I am infinitely more pleased with looking at nearly 70 pages of handwritten words, though.

I frequently have to remind myself to resist the temptation of spending time typing up what I’ve written so far in Scrivener. I want to save that step for when the first draft is complete, so I can give myself license to make edits as I go, to add in things that I meant to write the first time around but didn’t get to. I don’t want to do any editing at all until the first draft is done. I feel that’s a trap I’ve fallen into too many times; I get carried away with ideas I have for making the story better, and it never gets finished because I end up in an endless cycle of revising as I go. Even if I don’t meet my goal with Camp NaNo, I have to carry the lessons I learned from NaNo last autumn if I expect to get this all out.

Last week, I took a day to leave work early and set myself up in a café across the street from my apartment to write. I ordered a chai latte, streamed Songza over their free Wi-Fi, and wrote for nearly two hours. I responded to a few text messages from my husband, but other than that I didn’t touch my phone. When I began, I noticed people coming in and ordering and sitting down. By the end of it, I was so engrossed in writing that when I stopped, I wondered how the place had filled up without my noticing it. It felt good to set aside all the distractions and focus on getting the story out. I plan to make this a weekly thing, but I haven’t been back yet.

I liked being out in public and having fewer opportunities for distraction. No cats, no kitchen cupboard, no piles of DVDs/blu-rays/what-have-you. Sure, my phone could have offered up a number of diversions, but it’s surprisingly easy to ignore. I was there on a mission. Ideally, I would have written at least enough words to meet my NaNo goal for one day; I stopped just shy of 1,500. Handwriting really is so much slower for me. I’m glad I learned how nice it feels to put myself in a different setting and get to work, though.

As it’s looking more and more like I will be unable to meet the goal I set for myself, the thought I’m repeating is, “It’s okay if I don’t make 50,000 words as long as I write every day.” I am not writing everyday, though. Mostly, but there are days here and there that I skip. It seems like it’s a difficult line; I want to write often, to feel like I’m progressing in my story. I don’t want writing to feel arduous. I want it to stay fun. I want to give myself permission to read or listen to an audiobook or play a game if I don’t feel like writing any particular afternoon.

I shouldn’t ever forget that I’m the one who makes the rules here. I’ve got almost seventy pages more than I had at the beginning of the month. My book seems about a quarter full. These are positive things. I just need to keep going.

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