I've failed again!
The good folks who bring us National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) every November expanded their efforts this year to include two months of summer camp. And even though I had vowed never again to try one of these writing marathons, I was drawn in by the novelties they introduced. Participants were egged on by campfires and roasted marshmallows (who can resist a s'more?), and by the second month, we had cabins and cabinmates to encourage us and keep us plugging away. Bu did it work? Not for me, I'm afraid.
In July, I managed 38,000 words of re-writing the previous year's drivel and turning it into a real shot at my next novel, The Road to Frogmore. I really thought I could knock out all the required 50,000 words, which would have put me halfway home. Then somehow life got in the way. Maybe it was because my inner English teacher kept getting in the way. Try as I might, I cannot just "write without reading what I have written." I have to stop and check the slant of my curly quotes, look up my precise dates and places, and correct every spelling error I see. No the way to meet a deadline, but at least the 38,000 words I had were pretty good.
So on I went into August, with six new cabinmates, who all seemed to be working on fantasy, while I was trying to be historical -- not the best combination. This time, I faltered at the beginning of the month, missing at least 13 straight days of writing anything (other than blog posts, that is.). As my cabinmates began to falter along the trail, I went back to work. But today I woke up realizing that the month was over, and once again, I was way off the mark at slightly over 24,000 words. One person in my cabin actually finished. I came in number three out of seven -- pretty mediocre.
Part of the problem is a new computer with a wireless keyboard and touchpad. They are both just enough smaller than the old ones to cause massive "fat-fingering" when I try to touch-type. I'm starting to get the hang of it now, but I'm still missing the "t" key most of the time, which gives my sentences three or four errors for every ten words. Sigh!
As for the other explanations? I'm just not convinced that speed-writing is a good idea. Just as I find it difficult to outline my entire plot in advance (because my characters keep changing the story on me!), so I need time to vegetate between chapters -- to let the ideas brew and the characters speak. So here's a promise: I WILL NOT DO NANOWRIMO THIS NOVEMBER! Keep me honest, folks. If I waver, remind me that I'm a failure, OK?