Image courtesy of thaikrit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Since Elke is participating in NaNoWri, I’m happy to keep her blog readers entertained while she sweats out those 1666 words a day.
I have great admiration for those NaNoWri winners. I attempted NaNoWri last year, and I think I ended up finishing the month with maybe 20,000 words. There were just too many days I couldn’t write, there were days I got stuck, and then there was Thanksgiving.
However, I did end up finishing the first draft of that novel this past spring. It clocked in at just under 100,000 words – in other words, two NaNoWris. I may not have finished it in a month, but considering that it took me over two years to finish the first draft of KEEPING SCORE, I think that’s quite an accomplishment!
Even though I’m not doing it this year, I believe the philosophy behind NaNoWri is a sound one. As a writer, you’re committed to writing 1666 words a day, or 12,5000 words a week, or perhaps 5000 words a day if you can only write three days a week.
What helped me break through from someone who wanted to write a novel and had a few chapters under her belt, to someone who had actually finished that novel, was making that commitment to write every day. I took a class at the Writer’s Center, which was local to where I was living at the time. (And one of the few things I miss about Maryland.) Our teacher made us sign a contract pledging to write for 90 minutes a day, six days a week. I signed the contract – everyone in the class did – but few people actually fulfilled its requirements. Before the start of each class (it met once a week for eight weeks), we’d go around the table and talk about our writing. Most people made excuses for why they hadn’t written. Eventually those excuse-makers stopped coming.
While I wasn’t able to write 90 minutes a day, I did write most days and nearly finished that novel in those eight weeks. Then I signed up for her class on how to edit your novel, and that pushed me to finish the thing in the break between classes. However, I discovered the 90 minutes a day really didn’t work for me. I was constantly checking the clock, and many of those minutes would somehow get allotted to Facebook or email. When I started work on my second novel, I changed the requirement to five pages a day. Then a friend in a writer’s group pointed out that five pages gave me a lot of wiggle room, and I should set a specific word count. So I came up with 1000 words a day, which generally translates to those five pages. Or 5000 words a week. Some weeks I knew I’d only be writing for four days, so I required 1250 words a day rather than 1000.
It’s not 1666 every day, but it gets me closer to the goal line.
Another trick that worked for me was putting my daily requirement on my to-do list and crossing it off when I was done. It’s funny how motivating that little shot of dopamine that one gets from crossing an item off a list can be. Later I expanded the to-do list, writing down my weekly word goal, my daily word goal, and keeping careful track of each day’s word count. By doing that, I found I routinely surpassed my daily goals.
The bottom line, I believe, is that writing a novel can seem like a nearly insurmountable task – almost like climbing a mountain. But if you concentrate on the steps you need to take each day, rather than how far away the summit seems, pretty soon you’ll find yourself there.
And the best part about writing a novel, compared to climbing a mountain, is that you don’t have to climb back down when you’re done.
When her son wanted to play travel baseball, Shannon Stevens had no idea the worst competition was off the field…
When her son Sam asks to try out for a travel baseball team, divorced mom Shannon Stevens thinks it’ll be a fun and active way to spend the summer. Boy, is she wrong! From the very first practice, Shannon and Sam get sucked into a mad world of rigged try-outs, professional coaches, and personal hitting instructors. But it’s the crazy, competitive parents who really make Shannon’s life miserable. Their sons are all the second coming of Babe Ruth, and Sam isn’t fit to fetch their foul balls. Even worse, Shannon’s best friend Jennifer catches the baseball fever. She schemes behind the scenes to get her son Matthew on the town’s best baseball team, the Saints. As for Sam? Sorry, there’s no room for him! Sam winds up on the worst team in town, and every week they find new and humiliating ways to lose to the Saints.
And the action off the field is just as hot. Shannon finds herself falling for the Saints’ coach, Kevin. But how can she date a man who didn’t think her son was good enough for his team … especially when the whole baseball world is gossiping about them? Even Shannon’s ex-husband David gets pulled into the mess when a randy baseball mom goes after him. As Sam works to make friends, win games and become a better baseball player, Shannon struggles not to become one of those crazy baseball parents herself. In this world, it’s not about whether you win, lose, or how you play the game… it’s all about KEEPING SCORE.
Keeping Score is on sale for 99 cents this week!
Amazon (Kindle/paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E6GHQYM
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/keeping-score-jami-deise/1116264551?ean=9781491201817&isbn=2940045164511
About Jami Deise…
A lifelong resident of Maryland, Jami Deise recently moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, along with her husband Tom, son Alex, and dog Lady. A baseball mom for over 10 years, “Keeping Score” is her first novel. Jami is an associate reviewer at www.chicklitcentral.com and a generalist reader for an NYC-based literary agency. Along with women’s fiction, she loves all things horror and watches too much TV.