November 03, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Day 2 & 3

In The Writer’s Book of Hope: Getting from Frustration to Publication, Ralph Keyes writes, …mastering the elements of style can’t produce the will to keep writing. The hardest part of being a writer is not getting your commas in the right place but getting your head in the right place... 

Once we have faced our fear and begun to write, we step up to the plateau of frustration. Fear followed by frustration is the essence of writerly despair.

My head doesn't seem to be in the right place at the moment. Struggle is the word that sums up the past two NaNoWriMo days for me. To stay on track for completing the 50,000-word goal this month, I need to write 1,667 words a day.

Yesterday I had a very tough time and ended Day 2 at a total of 3,307, so 27 words short. Today is even harder. I just cannot seem to get into the story. Now, at 4,585 words I still need another 400 to complete the goal for the day.

Tim reminded me that I had a hard time in the first week of NaNoWriMo last year. Perhaps, I don't recall. That month is a bit of a blur, what with a 100km race on top of the writing challenge. I just remember that I made it through both, and that those 50,000 words became a novel. Somehow it doesn't seem to make this one any easier.

In fact, it might even seem harder as I now have expectations that it will become another, and of course better, novel. Perhaps that vision explains my struggle, judgement before first draft kills productivity.

I don't want to finish the day short, as I am running another ultra on Saturday. With a 3:15am alarm, and returning only at night, I doubt I'll find the energy to create 1,667 words that day, which means I'll have to catch up the next.

I've been considering abandoning the current idea for Sub-3 Marathon and changing to a different one. But that means I'd have to write 5,000 words today to stay on track. I'm not sure if that's the way to go either. I've been combing unfinished pieces of writing hanging out on my hard drive to find inspiration to drive the idea I am struggling with forward.

Often all an endeavour needs is a change of mind, a Can-Do attitude. In Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life, Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander write that the notion of possibility is empowering and transformative if we choose to adopt it.

In the first chapter, titled It’s All Invented, they say:

The frames our minds create define – and confine – what we perceive to be possible. Every problem, every dilemma, every dead end we find ourselves facing in life, only appears unsolvable inside a particular frame or point of view. Enlarge the box, or create another frame around the data, and problems vanish, while new opportunities appear.

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