Friday, November 2, 2007

Time Problems

I'm putting my NaNoWriMo word count in the sidebar. Yesterday I exceeded the goal (1,667 words, which is the daily average I'd need to meet the 50,000 word goal) by 283, or 17%.

It's a good start.

Steve Perry says yes, 50,000 words is considered a "skinny" novel. Although according to SFWA, anything over 40,000 is technically a novel (eligible for awards in the novel category), 60,000 or so is considered minimum for a salable novel. Standards may vary by genre, though. I wonder who picked the 50,000 and how for NaNoWriMo?

I will not do a daily word count post. I will, however, try to keep the sidebar updated. I'll also try to post any thoughts I have about the writing process as I go along.

Today's thoughts are about time. When a writer (I think this is probably similar for other creative types) says: "I need more time", there are at least two things they can possibly mean. One is, I don't have enough free time, I cannot consistently assemble enough free minutes per day or per week to be productive on this project. This is probably the sense most of us mean most of the time.

The other is rarer and perhaps more subtle. It means: I need to think about this some more, digest this material, let this idea ripen a little longer before I incorporate into my novel (poem, sculpture, etc.).

This second meaning addresses duration rather than free minutes. It's important for a writer to know which of these two kinds of time is the problem-- if you think the first kind is the problem, and you rearrange your life to assemble free minutes, and then find yourself staring blankly at the screen or paper... there are few more frustrating experiences in a writer's life. If it's actually the second kind of time that's the problem, the best thing to do is take a break, go do something else entirely, and let the necessary duration pass.

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