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The Ticking Clock … and other ticks

Thursday, 11 November 2010  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

I’ve had so much coffee this morning that the words on the page are speeding by. First off, I had an awesome Carmel Dulce at Satellite Cafe, which I got from their drive-through on my way to pick up my mother. I had to take her in for a procedure, and since she wasn’t going to be done for a few hours, I went to the nearby Starbuck’s to write. I had a Vanilla Latte because clearly the barista didn’t hear my order of skinny Toffee Mocha. I went up to tell him, and he said to keep it and then came to my table several minutes later, bringing me my original order. So I’m writing this after downing the Vanilla Late and now sipping the other, which explains the jabbering.

Anyway, NaNoWriMo is finishing its second week and I got my pep message from the NaNo people. It was about the second week of NaNo having a bad reputation and Wrimos (that apparently is the name for participants) posting things, like “I’ve been Week Two’d”. This sounds worse than it really is (if not kind of nasty). It’s simply slacking off or giving up in week two.

Since I’m a first time Wrimo, this was news to me but I can honestly say that at the beginning of this week I was struggling big time. I wasn’t meeting my goals and getting pretty frustrated with the process. The clock over my head ticked so loud I felt like I was tied to a railroad track with the hero frantically trying to rescue me but doomed to fail. Tick. Ticktock. Ticktock. Ticktockticktockticktockticktockticktockticktock . . .

The NaNo status page is a demon, just saying. Every time I posted my word count for the day, its estimation on what day I would finish was nowhere near November 30th. Then my Wrimo buddies *waves at Shelley, Cassandra, Erica, Jessica, Kari, Tina, and that Child person who hasn’t revealed her name yet* started doing Word Wars (this isn’t flinging curse words at each other). We write for twenty minutes and see what each others’ word counts are. My word count rose and I’m having a great time getting to know and competing with such awesome writers. Of course, I’m usually the loser, which is totally fine with me, because it forced me to sit my butt in the chair and write. I stopped looking at the clock and focused on my writing goals for one day at a time. Now I actually like the tick of the clock. We get in a few quicky rounds of writing before bed (get your mind out of the gutter 😀 ) and I’m meeting my goals.

The thing about doing NaNo is that it exposes my writing ticks. I have habit words that I use frequently when I’m writing fast, and I tend to write the same sentence structures. Adverbs riddle my pages. Characters’ eye colors change at times. It’s a mess. I’ve come to realize just how important the editing process is. It is in editing that you restructure your sentences, choose stronger verbs to make your work shine, and remove all the ticks that make your work weak.

And here are my ticks . . .

Glance
Looked
Actually
Clearly
Um (Yeah I know, duh, right?)
Hardly
Okay
Well
So

I’m sure there are more, but this is all that I’ve noticed while speed writing during NaNo. Knowing your weakness is the first step in editing. So what’s the weak link in the chain of words that you write?

That’s it. Slurp!

P.S. I’ve received some awesome blog awards from JC Fighter, Summer Ross, Michael Di Gesu, and Rachel Morgan that I’m working on posting and passing on. I just wanted to say thank you guys for thinking of me!

Filed: Misc

14 Comments
  • Mimi says:

    Funny to read this, as i was recently thinking of doing a post on “how do you write your posts?”
    I usually just dash it off, maybe a quick edit, then hit publish.
    It probably shows.
    But I don’t have time to chew words and turn them over before committing them to the page. The post would just never be done.
    Anyway, I think anyone who does Nano is brilliant and deserves unlimited free coffee!

  • Melissa says:

    What I like about NaNo is that it really encourages writing as a community thing. It isn’t about the solitary act of writing. It’s about having fun with other writers.

    Good on you for meeting your goals. Whether or not you finish NaNo, you are probably getting way more done this month than you have in others. that’s a great thing.

  • ha ha I have stopped opening the pep talk emails I will read them when am done in french wrimos are called nanoteurs and nanoteuses

  • Heather says:

    I’m so jealous of your coffee! There isn’t a decent coffee shop within a hundred miles of my house! Ugh! But, I’m even more jealous/proud of your progress for NaNo! Keep rockin it lady!

  • Jodi Henry says:

    I was week two’d. Got stuck. Drank too much wine and wrote…deleted what I wrote the next morning and didn’t make the word count up yesterday.

    But today the two blues are over. And I am back on track. Crappy writing behind
    J

  • Talli Roland says:

    Good luck with NaNo! Sounds like you’re doing really well – it sounds hard, but you’re pushing through! And congrats on the awards!

  • Meredith says:

    Ha, your ticks are all like my ticks 🙂 I tend not to worry too much about them until revisions, but this WiP is going to have a ton of them. Good luck!

  • Ann says:

    I am delighted to hear someone else out there has ticks too. My list is too long to mention. Congrats on the awards. Sounds like a perfect writing environment while sipping your tasty coffees. Good luck with Nano as you enter week three.

  • Well done Brenda, it’s very encouraging to hear what you say about NaNo – I will probably take it on next year … maybe! Good luck for the second half of November.

  • You’re doing great, keep on writing. One word is better than zero!

    I get what they say about week two. It’s where plotting needs to come out to move the story along and I’m like Oh poo! I’m also mad the story isn’t as scary as I want it making me want to start over! GRRR!

    My repeat words for this story are so, well, stirred, and a ton of ly and ing words. Horror!!

    Word Wars sounds like fun lol!

  • Tessa Conte says:

    OMG you have time to actually realize what ticks you’re succumbing to in your NaNo writing???

    I’m struggling to even keep to some kind of plot, never mind bothering with the HOW of the writing. I’m just going with it right now, though today I’m doing some major plot sorting (at least that’s the plan).

    I’m also high on caffeine. Seriously.

    Good luck with this weekend…I’m hoping I can make my wordcount as planned and trying to ignore those of my writing buddies who’ve passed 30.000/40.000/50.000 already (without turning green with envy, if possible).

    Tessa.xx

    *runs off to write some more NaNo stuff*

  • MT says:

    I enjoyed getting this close up, detailed look at NaNo. Two weeks of non-stop writing has had quite an impact on aspiring authors. Good luck!

  • Anonymous says:

    Struggling with my NaNo… I got sidetracked this week and I’m WAY behind now…like 4000 words behind…need to write 2000 words AT LEAST today to have any chance of getting it done! Yikes!

    Tessa Conte

  • Lots of luck with your NaNo gauntlet. Me, I have my gauntlets, too. I am working 8 days straight with half of that on-call as a blood courier.

    add to that that I am speeding my own polishing of THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH ever since an agent requested the first 50 pages. Whew! Gauntlets are no fun. Two just plain suck lemons!

    Have fun along the way, Roland

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