I had one of my prodigies writing a blog recently in anticipation of National Novel Writing Month, stressing over the rule of writing a 50,000-word novel during the 30-day month of November. She finally came to the conclusion that she should use it to help her finish projects she already had started and wanted to finish.
Voila! “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” Not exactly the same thing, but you get the idea. If you are going to stress over the exercise, you won’t benefit and you definitely won’t enjoy the process.
I entered NaNoWriMo last Tuesday with my usual oblivious naivete, knowing that all manner of hurdles will come my way. Sure enough, the first day went great, with me cranking out 3,400 words (the recommended average is 1,600 words). Then real life set in, with reason after reason coming in the way of me sitting down to write.
Today, Sunday, I hoped to rectify that. Ideally, at the end of week one (Tuesday morning), I should be at 12,500 words. And so I sat down, rainy day that it was, and wrote 4,700 words. Right now I have a total of 8,175 words. With any luck, I will be back up to where I need to be by Tuesday. That, of course, doesn’t guarantee that I won’t slack off for other reasons in days to come, but at least I am putting words on paper.
More importantly, I am making progress on my book project. Another thing I learned was how to write it. If you haven’t heard, my project is entitled Tesla’s Ghost, which is set in two time periods: the present, told from the viewpoint of a college student and his physics professor, and the 1890s, told from the viewpoint of Fritz Lowenstein, assistant to Nikola Tesla. What hung me up was the constant switching back and forth I had to do from one time period to the other while I was telling the story. Just as I got immersed in telling the story, the next chapter would switch to the other time period. What I realized was that even though the book may switch viewpoint and time period, I didn’t have to write it that way. When I decided to continue telling the story in a linear manner, I was able to keep going a lot faster.
In any case, a project that has dogged me for a long time is making progress. I just finished writing chapter 6 (even though I haven’t written chapter 5 yet). I look forward to getting even more on paper so that I can share it with you someday soon.