Tuesday hits, which is the formal ending and beginning of your weeks (since that's when your writing class meets): it turns out you only have 15 pages when you wanted 20 per week. Since you are as neurotic as the next writer, you go between praising yourself for getting 15 done and berating yourself for not doing as much as you wanted to. Then you work to adjust your expectations while not giving yourself excuses. Delicate work, that. In the evening, you work on some teaching prep, trying to get ahead for the next week, since that's your first priority.
Wednesday/Thursday: Between teaching tasks, you finish up the first chapter and revise it, adding 4 pages in the process. You share it with a delightfully helpful friend who tells you she is engaged by it. You are simultaneously encouraged and in despair because you have very little idea what's going to happen in the next chapter, which now feels like your sophomore music album. Will it ever measure up? And what's going to happen in it?
Friday: You bury yourself in research into place and era, not exactly knowing what you're looking for but hoping it will help you see ahead into what the heck happens in the next chapter and how it fits with your overall plot arcs. You also brainstorm some of the secondary characters with a friend via chat. Things are still murky--oh so murky. On Friday night you start to seriously panic, since your week is half done and you've only written 4 pages. This novel will never go anywhere, clearly. Nevertheless, you try to hold firm. Ultimately, you go to bed, as you've learned that always helps.
Saturday: You awake to find that things have begun to come together. As you learned during your last novel-writing project (for your Novel in a Drawer), chaos periods always resolve in epiphany, and the panic fades into a funny story to tell about the writing process. You proceed to write 12 pages in a few hours, pleased as punch you've brought up your week's total to 16 pages as well as that you didn't resort to using cliches like "pleased like punch" often within those pages. Even though you now have a ton of teaching prep to do on Monday, you'll be okay with your weekly totals even if you don't have time to write more on Monday or Tuesday afternoon. Plus you know at least a bit of what's happening in the next few scenes, which makes you feel all luxurious, as though you can pick it up and put it down as you wish without being dependent on the fickle muse.
Sunday: You get to have a day of rest, and you take it gleefully, enjoying the opportunity to read fiction. Time to get to read just for fun for a bit and truly relax, though at the end of the day you sneak in a quick read of the stories you have to discuss in Tuesday's writing class so your brain can give them a mull. You also have to submit chapter 1 for workshopping by Tuesday, so you stay up a bit later than usual to revise your chapter a bit more, just because it's fun.
Monday: You throw yourself into finishing your teaching prep for the week, knowing that the more you get done today the more writing time you'll have the rest of the week. You have enough time to finish your teaching tasks, and you feel like you've begun to get the balance of the shifts between your teaching stuff and this creative task. You feel like you might make it through both these semester-long tasks without ruining the semester's transmission. And since you've already glanced at your writing class assignments that you need to finish up before your 4 p.m. Tuesday class, you have a shot at writing more chapter 2 on Tuesday after teaching, which means you could reach your 20 pages.
On the eve of week 3: You know there will be more peaks and valleys, but having plowed out 31 pages in 2 weeks feels good (10% there!). Beginning to (re)gain faith in the process, even while knowing there will be more low points in the weeks ahead. Getting started is hard, but worthwhile. Having conquered the first few challenges is lovely, especially since you managed to complete all your other responsibilities this week as well, even exercising 3 times. And good groundwork has been laid for future chapters. Woohoo!
Okay, back to finishing the week's lesson plans. Almost there!
Monday, January 28, 2013
A Week in the Life of NaNoWriSpr (Week 2)
I'm a writer, an incurable reader, a narrative theorist, a media researcher, a scholar/author/writer/consultant, a PK, and the Queen of Soup Making. I write a lot, and I've taught a wide range of topics in universities. Along my journey I've picked up a PhD in Communication from Purdue and 2 degrees in English. I've been turning my ideas about communication as author-audience relationships into a communication paradigm that can be applied to a wide range of situations. I'm also writing a historical mystery series. I'm a member of Sisters in Crime, and the co-chair of the Mystery and Detective Fiction Caucus of the Popular Culture Association. My MA thesis focused on connections between T. S. Eliot and Thoreau, who each wondered about how to remain still and still moving. Before I went to grad school, I spent 7 years working for a division of HarperCollins Publishers.