Treading Water

Novel stands at 26,750 words.

Haven’t posted here in a while because my life is being turned upside-down.

My wife’s currently in Arkansas, tending her mother, who was admitted to the hospital a few weeks ago with a serious heart-and-lung condition. My wife flew out just three days after she heard, and has been there ever since.

Her mom has been discharged, and is recovering, but will need near-constant care for the next year or so. My wife’s currently providing that care, and intends to keep providing it. That means we’re looking at moving, at leaving the house and city and friends we’ve come to love here in California, and going back to Arkansas.

So my past few weeks have been a blur of getting my wife to Arkansas, supporting her through the early days of her mom’s discharge, and now putting our house on the market and preparing to move.

Needless to say, I didn’t hit my target word count for NaNoWriMo.

I’m finding it hard to write in general, not just finding the time but finding the mental space to build up the novel in my head and then set it down on paper. It’s like I have room in my head for my job and my wife and my move, and nothing else.

If I manage to squeak out just 150 words in a day, I have to call it a victory, because many days I don’t manage any.

But I haven’t given up, and I won’t stop writing during this new phase of my life. I’ll grind out what I can for now, and look to pick up the pace once we settle in to our new digs.

Feeling My Way Forward

Novel’s currently at 7,787 words.

I’ve only written the first couple of scenes, and I’m already at a point where I’m a little undecided about which way to go.

I have the words ready to go to start toward the next scene, but I’m not sure what to do once I get there.

So do I pause here and outline out what happens next? Wait to write more till I know what’s going to happen? Or just let the words flow, and find out what happens as I write it?

The latter instinct terrifies me. The former path makes me worry I’ll spend too much time plotting, and not enough time writing.

I guess I can always go forward now, and fix any mistakes later. It just feels like a wrong turn this early could force a lot of extra rewriting later.

Slowed, Not Blocked

Not much progress this week: only at 4,180 words.

I’d like to say that I didn’t get to write much this week, as if writing time were something that were doled out to me by a woman with a hairnet and an ice-cream scoop.

But that’s not the case. The truth is I didn’t take as much time to write this week as I needed to. I chose other things — morning exercise, staying a little longer at work, going out with my family — and that’s ok, but I need to remember that it’s a choice.

That means I’m on the hook for not getting as far as I should have this week. It also means it’s in my control to change that, to make different choices and get more writing done.

So my writing slowed this week, but I haven’t stopped, and I’m not blocked altogether, thank goodness. It’s just a reminder that I have to carve out the time I know I need to make the progress I want.

It’s Begun!

Started writing the new novel July 1st, as scheduled. Already 1,600 words in.

It was an incredible relief to write those first 250 words. I had such a hard time outlining the book that I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to put anything down, that the magic would fail me this time.

But it hasn’t yet. I’m already adding things to the world, color and details I didn’t think of before, just by writing about it.

I forgot how much fun this can be, making things up and seeing where they lead. It’s addictive.

I don’t want it to end.

Off to Camp

I’ve joined Camp NaNoWriMo this year.

NaNoWriMo gave me the motivation I needed to start — and then finish — my first novel last year. The target word count for the month, the daily emails from professionals about their writing process, even the simple bar chart showing my daily progress, all pushed me to see it through.

I’m hoping to get the same kind of kick in the pants from Camp NaNoWriMo. It starts July first, but there’s no set word count goal, no restrictions on what you can work on, like for regular NaNoWriMo. I’ve set a personal goal of 30,000 words for the month, enough to challenge me but not enough to feel like a mad dash toward the finish line.

They’ve also got the idea of cabins, where they group you up with other writers for the month. I think the idea is that we band together to reach our writing goals, by maybe sharing snippets of what we’re working on, or just talking about our own writing experiences. In any case, I’m looking forward to finding out who my cabin-mates will be.

As for the outline, it should be ready to go July 1st. I’ve got the flow and basic challenges set, nailed down the start and finish, and am getting the characters personalities and voices set in my mind.

I’m still nervous about starting the actual writing of it, but I tell myself that’s normal, and that I have permission to suck on the first draft. But there won’t be a second draft unless I finish the first one, and I won’t finish unless I start, so there’s no getting out of it.