Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day #8489 - Park and Bark

Back when I was in my high school marching band, every year we would learn a halftime routine that we would then perform at all the home football games. A common element in these routines would be something known as the 'park and bark' - everyone would stop moving, typically we'd all take a step so our feet were shoulder-width apart at the same time, and we'd just wail on our instruments, letting the sound fill the stadium on cool autumn nights. It wasn't always the most musical of moments because sometimes we'd get a bit caught up in the moment or carried away, but it was all about just laying it out there.

In a way, NaNoWriMo is sort of like a park and bark. For one month, you sit down with your story and let it run wild in whatever direction necessary to just get it out of your head. But the park and bark is hardly ever put at the end of the song, you still have a lot more choreography to do afterwards, so you better make sure to conserve some energy for what comes next.

Long story short, I feel like this is where I'm at with National Novel Writing Month. I've been writing an average of 2,000 words a day for the last 19 days. This story, which I have been cultivating in my head for the last few months, is finally being given a voice and while that makes me happy, I don't feel like it's the voice that the story really needs. Like my story is walking around doing a fake New York accent while walking around Brooklyn because it wants to fit in even though it's from Chicago.

I am, simply put, running out of steam. I'm trying to charge through everything so fast that I'm going back and finding contradictions all over the place and it makes me sad that the story I was so excited to write isn't really getting the care that I think it deserves even if it is "just a first draft." I think that part of taking seriously if you really want to make a go of it is to take all parts seriously. I'm not saying first drafts will be perfect or that if you're having an off day it's not alright to throw something completely random into the mix just to see what happens - it totally is and different things work for different people - but for me, a solid first draft gives me a strong foundation to then work up from.

Right now things in my draft are coming out sloppy, not to mention the pacing of the story is suddenly all over the place (I just realized that the last four scenes I wrote are all supposed to take place on the same day while every other part clips along a bit quicker). However, I'm keeping my chin up. I'm confident that I'll "win" and meet the 50,000 word goal set by the the organizers, but my draft probably will not be completed by November 30. The thing is, I'm more than okay with that. Every story will be told in its own time, and it just so happens that this one of mine needs more than 30 days.

So hang in there, fellow writers and WriMos! The end is nearly in sight, we can finish this thing!

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