National Blog Posting Month – Day 21
Yesterday the Off-Season Nanowrimo group met at Panera for fun, discussion, and large quantities of caffeinated beverages. I enjoyed seeing everyone again, not to mention someone new. He had participated in the 2009 Nanowrimo but attended all the meetings that I missed. Our conversations varied from what we’d done with our Nanowrimo novels – mostly nothing, but a couple were still being tinkered with. I think was the only one currently editing, though that doesn’t mean much since I’m just winging it. Another wrimo and I discussed editing strategies. The group topics ranged from dieting strategies to Stephen King novels to Brandice’s upcoming book signing (a poetry book called Columbus Groove). I told her that I’d heard about a local author day at our library, so she might check that out too.
Last night, while I was websurfing, another author tweeted about his freewriting progress. I’ve heard the term before, also known as stream-of-consciousness, but I wasn’t entirely sure what it was. After some googling, I decided to try it. It worked for Kerouac; right? To be pefectly honest, from what I’d read and heard before it didn’t sound productive to me, but I figured (as I’ve done so many times), ‘What the hell?’
So, if I understand correctly (and I’m fully prepared to admit I don’t), the general idea of freewriting is to write without rules for a set amount of time, simply putting words on paper, whatever comes into your head without regard to sentence structure, grammar, or anything else- sort of like this sentence. By doing this, you can go back and reread whatever nonsense you’ve written and pick out the little gems that might make good stories. It’s also a way to break out of writer’s block. In a way, it reminds me of Nanowrimo.
Today I tried freewriting for the first time. I’m not sure how helpful it was, but I did enjoy simply putting pencil to paper, especially since it gave me a chance to fill up some more of my bigger moleskine notebook. I thought about freewriting in another notebook or my small laptop, but they weren’t as convenient to carry around. I know some of the blogs I read said that you just discard what you’ve written afterwards, but I think I’ll keep it. It may be nonsense right now, but it’s my nonsense. And maybe later something else will come from it.
As far as my editing progress goes, I’m will attempt a few pages tonight, though I promised myself no editing pressure over the weekends. To be perfectly honest, I still haven’t figured out what works best for me as I try to revise my rough draft novel. Sometimes it’s fun, but a lot of times it’s just a chore. I know that it’s not always going to be fun, but I just don’t have a clear picture of what I’m doing. I think part of the problem is that (as I revise) I have trouble envisioning the entire story. When I edit my flash, it’s all I can do to make myself stop tweaking it. They’re short enough that I can see the impact of my work in a glimpse. I’d hoped to at least finish my first complete novel edit this month, but there is just no way. None. I’m on pages 40-50 of 152. Also, at the rate that my Nanowrimo’s shrinking by the time I’m done I’ll have a novella instead of a novel- if I’m lucky. That’s okay, but it wasn’t really my goal. Of course I might also add more things, but I don’t think I’ll add enough to make up the difference of what I’ve cut.
As I’ve learned more about the craft of writing, I’ve discovered I really enjoy the flash fiction more than anything else I’ve worked on so far. I’ve written some short stories in different genres and occasionally some poems, but I feel my best work is my short fiction. I enjoy the challenge of telling a short, complete story with tight prose. I’m not saying I’m going to stop trying other things, but that’s something I’ve learned about myself as a writer.
Next month, when this National Blog Posting Month is over, I’ll return to writing flash and short fiction, maybe dabble in some poetry and other writing styles, and take the next month or two off from editing the rest of my Nanowrimo. I’ll continue reading about editing techniques, and hopefully by my next crack at it, I’ll make more headway. In the meantime, I continue plugging away at my keyboard and scribbling away in my moleskine and immersing myself in good books.
Have a great day, and keep reading and writing!