They’re not all good words

Still plugging away at National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for the uninitiated). Despite a late start, I’ve caught up and haven’t had any trouble keeping up with my daily quota up til now. However, I’ve committed one of the most heinous mistakes of NaNoWriMo. After writing like a madwoman for the past two weeks, I started re-reading what I’ve written after I caught up. Eeek. Did I write that? Spelling errors and grammatical mistakes peppered the manuscript. Remember my friend McKenna’s Negative Scripts Project? Well, my negative scripts came roaring back. “You actually thought that was good when you wrote it. That’s crap. You overuse ‘look’ and ‘gaze’. How will you ever rewrite this so it’s readable?”

Yep. Bad idea to try to read a NaNo novel before its time. Like wine, it’s best enjoyed a month or two after draft. (I don’t actually know if that’s true!) So I took a breathing moment today when I’d reached my NaNo quota. Here’s some of what I saw:

I realized in the big scheme of things, how badly I write this novel isn’t going to matter for quite a while. I’ve got WINTER SOLSTICE to finish editing and ALWAYS FAITHFUL to rewrite and find a home for. Only then will I be able to return to DUCKS IN A ROW and bemoan how little time I took self-editing as I wrote. It’s oddly freeing to realize that the only thing that matters this month is that I finish. So what if they’re not all good words? Fifty thousand of anything is worth spending the month doing, right?

One more breathing moment, just because it was such a beautiful day and the Spanish moss looked so cool with the autumn leaves:

Of special note: My friend Ellen Meister is preparing for the release of her new novel THE OTHER LIFE by giving away some pretty cool t-shirts. Check it out here: Side Dish.

Has it really been that long?

Wow. Ten days since my last update is really inexcusable, but, truthfully, I’ve been a bit of a hypocrite. I really haven’t been practicing my breathing moments lately. I went straight from self-editing WINTER SOLSTICE to participating in National Novel Writing Month. I started a week late and have made up a lot of ground by averaging more than 2,000 words a day since then. However, I’m still lagging behind at 20,734 words when I need to be at 23,334. I think I’ll manage to catch up this week, though, and I’m really happy about that.

I’m also thrilled with the way the novel is progressing. I’ve tentatively titled it DUCKS IN A ROW and the main character is one of the most selfish people I’ve ever written about. Seriously, I love her and I sympathize with her, but she really expects to get away with a lot. She’ll redeem herself in the end, though.

So what with writing DUCKS and editing WINTER and promoting SECRETS, my breathing moments have shortened. I force myself to stop every now and then and look for one beautiful thing to focus on. Right now, it’s my daughter’s sweet face. She’s had the puking virus for the past three days and she’s curled up in her Disney princess sleeping bag sound asleep at the moment. She’s getting a little color back into her cheeks and it just makes me happy to look at her.

It’s not always that easy to find something beautiful, but I guarantee it’s possible. I remember when I was a reporter for The Messenger in Madison, N.C. (That was my first professional writing job and I loved it!) We needed a color picture for the front of the paper but it was March and nobody had taken a good one. My stories were written so I took a camera out in search of something. Everything was gray and muddy. Not much color to speak of except a gorgeous blue sky without a single cloud in it. I came across some workmen putting up new traffic lights. Have you ever noticed how pretty a yellow traffic light is against a clear blue sky? There you go. Beauty in an unexpected place. To this day, I think that front page picture was the highlight of very short journalism career.

So stop and look around. Find something beautiful to focus on and breathe. It’s worth it!

Links of interest:

My friend A.J. Brown has started a new feature on his blog highlighting small presses. His first one is about one of my favorite small presses LIQUID IMAGINATION. Check it out here: Type AJ Negative.

Ellen Meister’s highly anticipated third novel is on pre-sale on Amazon. Order yours now: THE OTHER LIFE.

Steve Lowe is giving away copies of his new novellas WOLVES DRESSED AS MEN and MUSCLE MEMORY: http://steve-lowe.com/2010/11/09/who-wants-a-free-book/.

Kevin Wallis’s short story collection is on sale over at Amazon: BENEATH THE SURFACE OF THINGS.

Joe Young’s debut vampire novel NAME is for sale now. I just got mine, get yours here: NAME.