Another November, Another Movember

20161002-autumn-writing-deskAnother November. Another Movember. Oh, and there’s nanowrimo and possibly some electioneering shenanigans too!

This will be nanowrimo number three for me. The first and second were failures in the strict sense of the 50,000 words or bust metric. That word target is more of a guideline in my eyes although I know many writers take it quite seriously.

The odds of success are better this year because I think I’m getting my s*** together at the start of October, rather than just days before Halloween. There are already people active on the nanowrimo forums and a number of meetup activities planned for writers based in Japan. And for those who can’t or don’t get together in person, there are writing sprints and a variety of social media platforms on which to stay connected.

My trouble in previous years was in maintaining a balance between hitting the average daily word target of 1667 words, while also enjoying the process for an entire month. I reckon that’s because I often write in fits and starts; enjoying it when I do so but not too worried if I have to skip days here and there because of work, family or dare I say it, plain ole boredom.

I guess it doesn’t do much for word count goals that I’m more drawn to hand writing the first draft than to keying it in. On a good day I might average about 500 words per hour. Well, you can do the math and see that’s going to require a lot of bum-in-chair time to meet an arbitrary word goal. Still, I’m committed to giving it another go because I secretly enjoy the fun and momentum and self-chosen pressure of doing such a crazy activity.

As of this writing, my nanowrimo writing process is shaping up to be what I will call being “open to ideas!” And over the next few weeks I will be gathering up these ideas and scene snippets and dialogue clips in a notebook dedicated to the project. Wherever possible, I want to be near an open window and with pen-in-hand.

The photo shows the writing jig I’ve rigged up at home. The chromebook is for typing scenes up.  I will write in discrete units of scenes using timed writing and then, when the first draft is done, use the Ulysses app and a macbook to organize the material into the architecture of a science fiction novel.

This editing process is slated to start in mid-December, which is always a busy time in Japan and will therefore most likely mean a release date in 2017. Which is fine because I don’t seem to write well under the time clock of release dates but I’m open to experiment and to the refinement of my process.

However, what is non negotiable is that the storytelling side of writing a book must be fun and creative, most of the time. Life is too short to spend precious hours hacking away at something that feels more like duty and self-flagellation when compared to the tension and excitement and energetic efforts that multiply when creating a book worth reading. Even if, in the final reckoning, I am my only reader. I want to look back someday and know it was the best I could do at the time. That would be enough of an internal reward.

As for fame, fortune and all that glitters? Sure, I’ll take those too 😉

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