Sunday, November 14, 2010

Brain Strain, NaNoWriMo Style

Usually, I keep a rather neat table when I'm at my laptop.  Not so much, this month.  Since I'm working on a 50,000 word novel, started on November 1st and to be completed on or before midnight on November 30th, my desk is a mess.  In case you haven't heard, November is National Novel Writing Month. 

My mess is made up of some important stuff. Since I'm jumping around constantly between characters and settings in my novel, I have a notebook with short summaries of each "chapter."  That way I can easily find exactly where I left each scenario when I want to pick it up and move forward again.  It's easier than scrolling up through pages and pages to find what I want.

Also, I have a sheet of paper with the names of all the characters and their relationships to the main characters.  Sometimes I can't for the life of me recall the name I gave someone.  All I have to do is look at my reference sheet and voila, there it is.

Scraps of paper clutter my table as well.  The scribbling on them is essential for a variety of reasons.

I know, I know, there are probably programs at Staples that have all this organized for writers.  Someday, maybe.  For now, I'd rather do it my way.  I have to do it my way and understand that before I can begin to visualize it any other way.

I'm enjoying my latest adventure in writing and, by golly, after a period of stressing and straining, I have an idea of where I'm going and where I'll end up.  That's comforting considering I started with only this prompt:

A little girl is kidnapped in a grocery store.

On day 14 of this NaNoWriMo challenge, my total word count to date is 28,379.  Am I bragging or am I complaining?  Neither, my friend.  I'm just telling it like it is.

P.S.  I think I just lied.  Forgive me but, I'm pleased as can be.        


Parrot Writes said...

You are doing GREAT! I'm proud of you, you are way ahead of the midpoint word count. Can you believe we are half way through?? Thanks for showing us your workspace. I have papers, notebooks, calendars, stitcky notes and many pencils all around me in my writing space. Oh, and yes Bella. She's usually there sitting on my lap for moral support, I'm guessing. She knows something BIG is happening and wants to be there for the action!

Shaddy aka Cheryl said...

PARROT: You're writing up a storm as well! I wish I didn't have to work so hard to get ahead but if I don't I'll be sorry when Thanksgiving gets here and I've got other things that I want to do besides writing.

I seldom use my laptop on my lap. I sometimes wonder why I have one although it's invaluable at times.

Bella sounds like a wonderful writing companion. She'll be the first to request your autograph when you reach your 50,000 word goal, establishing you as an official author. That is indeed BIG!!!

Best wishes as you write on...and on...and on...

Natasha said...

Good for you, Shaddy! I especially like to see your diagrams. I need pictures of how things connect as well.

Must. Go. Write. Now.

Shaddy aka Cheryl said...

NATASHA: Diagrams, notes, scribbling...I'll try anything to help me maintain my sanity in this month long journey which is threatening to take me into the realm of madness.

Not really. I'm perfectly fine.
:) :( :) :( !!!!!!??????***##

Really, I've never been better.

Len♥reNeverM♥re said...

I admire your determination Shaddy!
Do you actually count them? wow!


Walk said...

Give me a S
Give me a H
Give me a A
Give me a D
Give me a D again
Give me a Y
What do we have? SHADDY, SHADDY, GO SHADDY. 50,000 is in sight.

Rob said...

Congrats Shadster! Sounds like your novel writing is going along swimmingly!

Annie said...

OH NO!!!! You are writing about a topic that gives me the chills!!! When my boys were little, i had nightmares about them being kidnapped. And then one time, my husband lost my youngest in the grocery store. How did i find out? My youngest blabbed when they returned home! i hope you will share more of your novel. it sounds VERY thrilling!! As for your word count, YOU GO!!!! You have a right to brag!!! Gee!!! Think of what you have accomplished so far!!! YiPPEE!!!!! HOORAY FOR YOU!!!!! And there is more where that came from!!

Shaddy aka Cheryl said...

LENORE: Unfortunately, when I set my mind on something, I become obsessed with it. I'll reach 50,000 words by November 30th even if it kills me. fortunately, I'll live through it. My body and mind are used to being stressed and pushed to the max quite frequently.

The program I'm using for my novel has a word count feature. Just by glancing down at the bottom of my screen, I can see exactly how many words I've written to date. Thank God!

WALK AND ROB: Hey, you guys look cute in your cheerleading skirts, hairy legs and all. Just don't do the splits!

Thanks for cheering me on.

ANNIE: Last year's novel was light-hearted for the most part. I thought I should experiment by writing something completely different. It's a challenge but I think I'm doing alright. I suspect I won't be terribly disappointed with it. If so, I guess I could be wasting my time doing worse things.

Thanks for helping me along by your kind words. I'm enjoying your new blog. I hope you're having fun writing for it. You seem to be.

LMC09 said...

Looks like you are doing awesome. Sorry I haven't replied back to comments you made on my blog I've just been super busy. I have actually got 2 novels going. I know they won't be done by the 3oth but I will finish them.

Shaddy aka Cheryl said...

LMC09: You have been busy. I know it's hard to do everything you want to do. I have the same problem.

Anonymous said...

A writer at work. This is so great! I love that your desk looks like this actually. Who needs computer software when this works just fine? I am so proud of you dear. You're writing along and no doubt doing fantastic work! (I know this cuz I have last year's in my hot little hands and it's FABULOUS!)

Over 31K words today. Oh myyyy, are you getting anxious with that 50K looming bigger and bigger? I am!

Congratulations my dear!

Shaddy aka Cheryl said...

SARIE: It's awesome having a friend like you. Giving you a copy of last year's novel and knowing you would love it with all your heart is something very special. I didn't have to consider whether I should put it in your hands or not.

I wanted you to have it. I knew you'd take it as a token of my faith in you and my trust in our friendship. You've always encouraged me and that's a beautiful gift.

notesfromnadir said...

I really can identify w/ having a notebook nearby as I work on a 1st draft of a novel.

Actually, there's no such thing as a writer's mess especially as you're in the midst of creating a novel.

Good luck! :)

Shaddy aka Cheryl said...

NADIR: First of all, thank you for commenting. I'm learning to live with my tabletop in disorder. It's an organized state of disorder so I can stand it.

Out of curiosity, are you a novelist?

Gullible said...

You go, girl! I get worn out just thinking about what you're doing. Well, actually, I'm rather worn out from what I've been doing, too.

Shaddy aka Cheryl said...

GULLY: This entire month I've been in a revved up state. All day long, off and on, I'm thinking about my commitment to write at least 1667 words per day. I'm annoyed by my other responsibilities but realize they're actually beneficial in that I have to get my mind off my writing frequently which helps me keep my sanity.

I have to go to work at the dental office Monday through Friday, I'm still going to NorthPointe to work out on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. I'm not willing to give up any of the things I normally do, thus I'm constantly on my toes, hopping from one thing to another.

I'm looking forward to reaching my writing goal by the end of the month but now I'm wondering if I'll get depressed in December without the adrenaline rush I'm getting accustomed to and somewhat addicted to.

I feel more alive when I'm super busy, yet I question whether I'm pushing a bit too hard. I guess it boils down to this. I'd rather die from overdosing on life than from being buried under a mountain of lethargy.

Enough already!! Good grief!! I should be saving my words for NaNoWriMo later today.

Stephanie said...

I also like to have everything right in front of me when I do something. It makes more sense! Glad to see you are doing so well with your story!!!
fgc ccccccccccc --Jake says Hi

Shaddy aka Cheryl said...

STEPHANIE: Tell Jake fgc cccccccc from me. He'll know what I'm saying. Please give him a big hug too. Jake's going to have fun with Christmas coming up. I be he'll like the Christmas lights and all that good stuff.

I really left my writing room in a mess last night. By the time I had written my daily quota, I was too tired to care. Lon is more of a neat freak than I am so he'll just have to stay out of that room until December. Right?

Have a fun weekend!

Annie said...

Just read your commment to mine...these words struck me...'If so, I guess I could be wasting my time doing worse things.' I just finished reading a book which stresses if you have a passion for something, which I see you do! Then it is never a waste of time. Keep going my friend!!!
Also, thanks for keeping me going at my blog. And yes, I am enjoying the return :)

Shaddy aka Cheryl said...

ANNIE: I'm wondering how many hours I've been sitting in front of a computer today. I worked at the dental office from 8 til noon which involves mostly computer work and from around 3:00 this afternoon until now, 9:30, I've been on my laptop except for when I ate dinner and did a few loads of laundry.

I agree with you though. I enjoy writing and that makes it a worthwhile activity.

I'm pretty sure I'll be ready to go back to some fun blog posts when November is behind me. Sometime tomorrow I should reach the 40,000th word of my novel. From then on I'll be heading down the home stretch and I apologize in advance to anyone who mistakenly gets in my way.

Am I seriously challenged or serious when I'm challenged?

Len♥reNeverM♥re said...

Thanks for the tips!!
I was laughing & snorting away...
Enjoy your weekend dearest!!


Shaddy aka Cheryl said...

LENORE: What are friends for if not to offer suggestions when asked? :) I hope they prove to be helpful, if not, at least you had a good laugh.