Saturday, March 12, 2011

A minor victory

There's something deeply fulfilling about surpassing the 50K word mark, if for no other reason than I failed the first time I attempted. A couple of years ago I tried NaNoWriMo and didn't make it, and I.can't.stand.failure.  For those who don't know, National Novel Writing Month is November (oops...the month containing both my and my wife's birthdays and numerous work special dates) and has two basic requirements to "win": 50K words, making a "novel", and write "The End" at the end.  Thus, tonight, when I capped 50K words and decided I'd written enough for one day (7400 words is enough for ANY day), and then typed "The End," I felt a unique sense of euphoria. Then, of course, I deleted "The End" because it's not the end.  I still have lots of story to's easily gonna be an 80K word novel.  But it was indeed a benchmark, and a fulfilling one at that.

Writing creatively is like nothing I've ever done before.  When I posted early today about how I had eclipsed 2700 words, a dear friend and former West Point roommate (many West Pointers will probably agree that it's a miracle the two terms can remain not mutually exclusive) reminded me how much I whined and wailed against writing 500 words.  OK, maybe whine and wail is an exaggeration--mine, not his--but it still seemed an insurmountable task at the time.  I totalled 7400 words today, which leaves 500 in the dust, frankly.  But it's different. 

First of all, a research paper is at its core a challenge to your basic abilities as a human.  You're reading and trying to regurgitate without plagiarizing lots of others' opinions, while hoping that the professor approves of your regurgitation.  My students...I promise to never issue a research paper assignment, ever again, based on this realization.  The instructors who work for me might, though, but that's OK since they're smarter than me. 

Once you figure that out, let me know.....


In any event, creative writing is wholly different.  It's far, far scarier, for one're not talking about anything that's happened, and you're not basing it, hopefully, on anything that has been written before.  Instead, creative writing calls for no small about of hutzpah, in which you're sure that the story you're telling must be interesting to others...if not, you're wasting your time.  That said, though, volume is relatively easy once you get over the hutzpah and the worry..."volume" being, oh, 1K to 2K words a day.  7K words won't happen a lot, really...only on weekends, for sure.  And then, only when I am working with, as I am in this case, a story that has been in my mind for a while, and I'm just filling in details as I write. 

But all that being said...I did do over 7K words today.  And I breached the 50K mark.  And I'm proud of it, and ready to sign off and get some reading and sleep in while I hope my wife is doing OK up in Alaska. 

Y'all have a great night.

Word count: 50,199

V7N Blog Challenge

No comments:

Post a Comment