Sunday, November 1, 2009

Day One -- And They're Off!

NaNoWriMo 2009 began at 12:01 a.m. November 1. Was anyone else a little confused because of Daylight Saving Time coming to an end? As I stared at the clock at midnight I wondered -- does NaNo start at 12:01 before the time changes, or after? Although the time change didn't officially occur until around 2:30 a.m., I reset my clocks and started at the new time just to make sure I was following the rules, either way; so I either started right on time or an hour later depending on your point of view.

With preparations completed, I was both excited and apprehensive: it's exciting to begin a new novel, but daunting to open a word processor and stare at a blank screen when you know you have to fill it with at least 1167 words to meet the day's goal. So, how did I, as a veteran NaNoer begin? By checking e-mail just in case anything important had arrived since looking at it earlier in the evening -- nothing had. Then a quick peek at Facebook (a friend had posted Halloween pictures of her kids--so cute--and there were a couple of notifications), and finally, Twitter and my blog to see if there were any new Tweets or comments that needed a response. Once the distractions had been cleared away (it's best to begin with an unfettered mind, after all), I was finally ready to tackle that blank page.

The first step was to review my, which file did I put that in? A file search turned up nothing. Time was ticking, and frustration was building. Where's that outline??? Oh, wait...I wrote it out by hand in my notebook instead of on the computer. Okay, here's the outline! But maybe I'd better check my other story ideas and notes first, just to be sure this is the story I want to write. Hmmm, well, maybe not. This other one sounds pretty good, and the outline is more detailed. So, out with outline number one, in with outline number two. After a few false starts, I finally found my rhythm and the story began to flow.

Now, all of this may sound rather undisciplined, but there is a method in the seeming chaos and procrastination. My approach to writing is akin to a city water system. If there is debris in the pipes (those distractions I mentioned), the water can't move swiftly and efficiently because something will always be popping up to divert it. And, although water may be in the pipes, if you don't have any pressure behind it, nothing is going to happen when you turn on your tap. My muse works best under a certain amount of pressure -- not too much, just enough to get the flow going.

With the distractions dispatched and the pressure at just the right strength to keep the stream of words moving along, by 4:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, I had written 2424 words, and chapter one had been put to bed. And now, I'm going to follow suit.


  1. I like the comparison to the water system. And yes, I'm the same way. I can't fully concentrate on my homework until I've checked my email, checked Facebook, had dinner, etc. Otherwise, those things are all nagging there as distractions.

  2. That's another reason why I prefer writing during the night when the house is quiet: no phone calls, no one coming to the door, hubby and animals are asleep, and it's just me and the computer -- and hopefully, my muse!