nano-2008By now, I should have 24,000 words down for the NaNo competition.

That’s right, do the math. It’s November 12. Twelve times the two thousand words per day I thought I’d be able to write equals 24,000. As of this post, I have 11,089. Less than half. Pitiful.

And I know why.

(Katie’s gonna love this.)

I don’t have an outline.

That’s right, the queen of the seat-of-the-pantsers is admitting she needs an outline to get through this thing.

The Cat Lady of Forest Lawn is about the cat lady. Millie. And Evelyn. Personalities I wanted to explore. But, silly me, I didn’t come up with a road for them to travel while I resolve the conflicts I’m tossing at them. No, scratch that. I have a road. It meanders aimlessly through an unfamiliar, foggy countryside, and I’m driving at midnight without headlights. I’m amazed I’m still on the pavement.

What I need is an Interstate. Straight and to the point, guaranteed to get from Point A to Point B with as few traffic stops as possible. Of course, all sorts of detours and hazards can be included in the outline for the characters to endure, but the reader can get from Point A to Point B smoothly and without distraction. Wait–heck with the reader. This sucker’s not ready for a reader yet. So, let me rephrase:  “I, the writer, can get from Point A to Point B smoothly and without distraction.”

And I further admit that I have violated my promise. I’ve researched. I’ve edited. I’ve wasted time.

So, next year, outline in hand, I will enter yet another NaNo contest. I will not research. I will not edit. I will not waste time.

Uh-huh. We’ll see.

Gotta get through this year first.

About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
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9 Responses to Aaarghhh!

  1. K.M. Weiland says:

    Well, I do have to admit I love your picture. 😉 But I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling, and I wish I could help. Unfortunately, this one of those stupid, tedious, ripping-out-of-the-hair things we all have to go through on our own. (Encouraging, huh? You can remind of that the next time I come gringing about having to write another hated beginning. 🙄 ) But 11k is certainly nothing to scoff at.

    I’ve always thought NaNo had it’s good points and its bad.

    Good: It makes you write even when you don’t feel like it, makes you pour yourself onto the page, makes you work the junk out of your system, so you can get to the good stuff.

    Bad: It can make you feel like the underside of a mildewy bathroom rug when you don’t get the deadline met.

    Fortunately, there is some more good news: It doesn’t matter! 😀

    The very fact that you’re working on the novel, making progress, noting speed bums, and adjusting accordingly means you’re on the move. Believe me, the greatest thing any writer need fear is inertia, and at least you’ve got that licked!


  2. realdeal42 says:

    I hope that means you aren’t giving up on this year! I’m a bit behind, and I only set for myself the strict math goal of 1,667/day. I’ve had a few days over that, but more under that goal. Currently I’m at just under 16k. My new goal now is to get to 25 by the Sunday – so that I’m technically halfway at the halfway point.

    Good luck!

    (And if you want to add me as a buddy on NaNoWriMo, my username is realdealneal)



  3. pprmint777 says:

    Yes, the underside of a mildewy bathroom rug–doesn’t matter whether I make the deadline, I feel like the rug now.

    You need to tuck that little bit of imagery away for future use. It’s great. I won’t tell a soul you used it here first! 😉


  4. K.M. Weiland says:

    Maybe I’ll save it in case I ever have a character enter NaNo. 😉


  5. jess says:

    Hey, how are you? Just for your info — I have about the same word count you’ve got and I DO have an outline. I was attacked by two funerals and a conference… life got in the way. 😦

    Hope you and yours are doing well.


  6. pprmint777 says:

    Jess, your life is so busy, I’m surprised you have time for NaNo!

    I figure if I reach the halfway mark, I’m doing good. 12K more to go as of Nov.15 . . .


  7. Toni Mabry says:

    Did you make the deadline? I have never tried to do nano because I must edit as I go. I can’t write any other way.


  8. Mary Moss says:

    At least you started!!! I had decided some time ago that I would participate in this. I wrote it on my calendar, on my daytimer and read up on advice, etc. from past participants.

    That’s as far as I got! Maybe next year we can work together and support and encourage each other:-)


  9. pprmint777 says:

    Toni, I know what you mean. I must edit as I go, too. I may be doomed to never win a NaNo contest!

    But, Mary, I’ll keep trying — see you Nov 2009!!


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