Friday, November 15, 2013

NaNo Day 15: Writing Buddies

Hello fellow NaNo writers! Another Friday is upon us, and guess what? It's day 15! You know what that means? The month is halfway over. Can you believe it? Do you have 25,000 words? I know I don't. Man, this whole NaNo thing is way harder than I thought!

Anyway, remember my last post when I talked about eating an elephant? About writing 500 words and then doing something else (like laundry)? Well, let me just say, that toooootally saved my word count that day! And I've never done so much laundry in my life!

The problem was that I did that for a total of one day. And here I am, back to thousands of words behind schedule. A few days ago, I was really upset about my lack of words. Yes, upset enough that I cried (though I blame that slightly on the pregnancy hormones). After my dear husband comforted me and then went off to work, I did the only thing I could think of to help me get over this block: I sent a whiny text to my writing buddy.

Writing Buddy

Well, she's more like my writing coach. Her name's Katherine, and she's one of my fellow Castle Editorial editors, and she is one of the best developmental editors I know. She was there while I wrote my manuscript over the summer, and she helped get me through the rough patches of that project. She does three very important things for me and my writing:

1. She reads as I write.

Basically, after I write a few thousand words, I throw them all up on a Google doc for her to read when she has time. And she reads them soon after they're posted.

2. She asks me for more.

Whenever I haven't posted chunks of manuscript for a few days, she asks me to send her more. If I tell her that I haven't written more, she asks me to write more for her. How can you say no to someone who asks you to write more because they want to read it?

3. She never talks about the bad stuff.

She is constantly making comments about how great the story is. She'll say things like, "I love this character!" or "That description makes me so hungry," or even "This is so intense! Ahh!!" She rarely, if ever, says things like, "Your dialog seems incredibly forced," or "The setting needs some serious work." Of course, those types of comments are valid and helpful. But during a first draft, they are more inhibiting than beneficial. So instead, she says all the nice, happy things to keep me writing.

Once the manuscript is finished and we start going through revisions, that's when she pulls out the red pen and starts going after the flaws. The point is that we both know there are flaws (it's a first draft, people!), so why focus on them when there is still story to be written?

If you are feeling like you just can't do it, if you think you have the NaNo blues, then find yourself a writing buddy. Your significant other, your mom, your crazy uncle in Jamaica, anybody who you trust and who cares about you. If they push you in a positive way, then you can lean on them during the rough patches. That's what I did! And after her pep talk, I wrote over 4,000 words! So it works. I'm telling you, it does.

photo credit here

Happy NaNo!
Current Word Count: 21,178

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