Sunday, November 7, 2010

NanoWrimo Update: Week One

I'm moving through this November's novel-writing experiment at a reasonable pace. It's not a pace that's going to get me to 50000 words by the end of the month. Maybe half that, if I'm lucky.  But it's a pace, in the middle of a hectic November, so I'll take my victories where I can find them.

So far I've stuck with pounding it out on the Olivetta Lettera 32 typewriter. It doesn't have the fastest touch. The letter "a" doesn't show up clearly unless you give it some extra force, and the letter "p" tends to stick, which causes a real back-up of keys when you're in a hurry. So I'm well below my usual 120 wpm. But the added effort keeps my upper body and hands warm as the house moves into colder seasons and I resist turning the heat on.  And the sound of a typewriter is something I have a fetish for.

I've noticed a couple of things about this effort:

I can't get 2000 words out in the hours I have free in a given day. I tend to think a little more about each sentence before I put it down, indelible as it is, and in many ways this seems to defeat the whole purpose of Nanowrimo.

The words I do get out seem a little less terrible than the words I got out in previous years, using a laptop computer.

Can't say I have a great explanation for this. Or whether another reader comparing the first draft of this year's manuscript to the first draft of another year would come to the same conclusion. (Don't worry. No readers will be subjected to this experiment.) I do have the sense that, by the time my manual-typing fingers have caught up with my brain, I've subconsciously edited out a lot of needless words that a computer keyboard would have obliged me by keeping up with.

So, result #1 of typewriting this year's Nano is, I probably won't be "winning" the project by the standard of pumping out 50,000 words by the end of November. But maybe result #2 is I get back into the routine of setting aside one or two typewritten pages each day. Which is, after all, a much more sustainable pace in the long-term, and a pace that produces 182,500 words in a year (approximately!).

If I'm really lucky, result #3 will be a January manuscript that doesn't require quite as much cutting as previous drafts have.  Maybe something even worth sharing.  But we'll see.

Perhaps the greatest thing about having a day-job is the ability to enjoy your hobbies for what they are.