Well, some of you may have 3 hours to go in Novel Writing Week, but for me (and anybody else on the east coast) it’s over. Amazingly enough I actually hit my goal of 5600 words, though my short story isn’t finished. Actually I’m not even sure it’s a short story any more, it might be a whole novel eventually. So let’s take a look back on the lessons we’ve learned this week.
A) Planning can help.
I did very little planning on my story. Mainly because I couldn’t think of what I wanted to write about. The only idea I had bouncing around in my brain was for a novel and I wanted to plan it out a bit more before tackling it. So what I did, was head to the archives. I’m sure I’m not the only person who does this. I have several story ideas or scene ideas that I’ve worked on in the past but never actually got around to writing a story for. When I started writing this week all I had was a 590 word scene in a central American bar. There were several times when I wished I had some sort of plan for the story. I struggled with moving my characters along, introducing things at random to create some conflict.
B) Coffee is good.
This week I have increased my daily coffee consumption by a good bit. Not that I was exactly laying off the caffeine before this, but this week I kicked it up a notch. My wife’s family came into town and having other coffee drinkers in the house helped, there was always a pot on.
C) This was a great test-week for hitting a goal.
I’m not sure I could have found a worse set of situations to try and write under. This week was the first time in my marriage that my father-in-law has visited us. The day after this challenge I turn 30. I have a 4 week old daughter today, and a two year old who is having issues with Dad going back to work. I work in IT and this week was our disaster recovery test, so for a few days things were breaking, and I had double work-load for the actual DR testing day. BUT even though the week was a horrible confluence of events that would keep me from writing… I still managed to hit my goal (barely, but I did hit it).
D) We should do this again sometime.
The short story goal is not an unattainable level to hit almost every week. And if we are writing every day of every week, we’ll all be much better writers AND more likely to have a novel finished. And we all know that we’ll never get a novel published if we never finish one in the first place. We’re discussing doing at least two of these a year, and two editing weeks, but now I’m thinking maybe we should do 3 or 4 of each.
E) I need some sleep.
Ok, it’s not much of a lesson, but it’s after midnight and I’m done with my writing challenge and I’m still typing… I’m going to bed.