Wednesday, June 18, 2008

ramping up

A couple days ago I decided to take a leap without wings and see what happens. You know that saying by Kobi Yamada: "Sometimes you just have to take the leap,. and build your wings on the way down." Immediately I concocted a plan to build those wings.

First of all, the leap is:

That's right, I signed up for NaNoWriMo, The National Novel Writing Month, where the goal is for participants to write a 50,000 word novel (or a draft of) starting at 12:01 am on November 1st and concluding by midnight on November 30th. And the building of wings is taking place at my experimenting blog, The Writing Vein Playground. I've been trying to write every day and have been writing most days. Sometimes the writing is revision, sometimes it is notes, sometimes it is free write, and sometimes it is directed write. So I've decided to try to build up my writing stamina and building toward the goal of 1,667 word per day average - which is what would be required as a daily dose to reach 50,000 words in a month. I don't know at this point if I will be looking at is as a daily total or a two-day total, or weekly when it gets to the actual event. I suspect I will set a daily minimum less than the 1,667 with a 11,700 words per week goal. This will allow a little flexibility in the daily routine should something happen and, hopefully, decrease the stress and self-criticism which might happen as a result of falling short periodically of the daily total.

I don't know. Which is why I want to ramp up and build toward that daily goal. This will allow me to see how long it actually takes me to write that much and then block time out accordingly in my schedule. As of right now, I know I will not be teaching in the fall, so less unpaid work for paid work there. I also will not have a show during November, so another time cruncher will be missing from my schedule. This means, I think, I can block out enough time to write in my schedule.

So far, with just a couple of short sessions, I do see that, as time lengthens, the words per minute decreases. I assume that trend will continue - even though the longer time so far was partly due to a brief interruption.

It seems like an odd thing to just jump into. But not really. I have just come off a very busy time with my other profession and have had very little time to write. Especially not sustained writing periods. I want to try this. NaNoWriMo came up in something I was reading and then in a search for writing resources for a kid referred to me and I thought, why not? It's a goal. It's for fun. It's a commitment I could enjoy and, if I don't make it, nobody dies.

So I signed up. And I could still back out if I change my mind; but I don't think that will happen. I am already loving this challenge to myself and looking forward to connecting with others during the process.

the last three flights of Mt Tabor steps
photo by Migin
I am also spurred by my workout buddy and I climbing the steps at Mt Tabor. We set that as a goal for ourselves - for later. We thought we'd walk up the hill, look at the steps, maybe go up one flight - and build our stamina up to go up all of them eventually. Instead, we looked at them after climbing the hill and said, ok, let's try two and see. We got to two, paused to look at the view and assess our condition, watched the father and son run down a flight and then start up two steps at a time and pass us. We decided to go one more and that would probably be it. Instead, we made it to the top of that set. We walked up the road a bit and then ran into a crowd gathering for some event ... something about people and dogs. So we retreated and decided to go ahead and climb another three flight set of stairs we'd passed so we wouldn't be run over by the pack of dogs and owners. And we did it! You'd have to know us to know what a feat it was and how we even surprised ourselves. We thought it would be at least a couple months before we'd be able to do all of them.

So when NaNoWriMo kept popping up and I was already thinking how to build writing time into my schedule, I thought of Brenda and me climbing all those steps. I can do it! I thought. And, if I don't make the 50,000 mark - at least I tried. And there's always next year.