• Beth Daniels, aka Beth Henderson, J.B. Dane

Keep Moving One Step at a Time

There is something about approaching the exact middle of a story that tends to slow me down. That’s where we all are here on the 11th day of NANO where, if sticking strictly to the 1667 words per day goal, should mean we also hit the 18337 mark today.

Because I’ll be gone over the Thanksgiving weekend and not writing while doing the family and friend visits, I’d figured out that today meant I needed to hit 21154 words today and that was doable a couple days ago. I’d written 3100 words on the 8th but brain and body decided a vacation from that high was needed and in the past two days I’ve barely brought in 2000 for two days worth of work.

Not only are catch up words needed, inspiration is needed. Desperately.

The symptoms are familiar. I’ve hit the 1) not sure what comes next and 2) I’ll never have enough story to fill the required words points before.

Experience has taught me that I shouldn’t be worried about the word count because I tend to run over rather than under the that goal by the close of the story.

It has taught me that I might not make the 2000 word goal per day that I gave myself but that there will be spots where I do write more than 3000 words. Because I keep a daily tally of the number of words added, I know that I’ve gone over 3000 words three times and it has only been the past two days that I had less than 1667 words in a day, otherwise I had more than that number.

I also know that there are parts in a story where things slow down or don’t seem to be moving fast enough. They are the transition points. The things that take the storyline from one high point towards the next high point but in doing so cause a dip, a valley between those high points. It’s the natural scheme of things. It’s the breather point.

Stories move forward in steps and that means there will be some dip points. What’s happened is merely that I’m sliding my feet along expecting a tiger trap to be sprung and there isn’t a tiger trap there at all. These smaller word bites are moving me forward and I’ll soon have a sprint…actually a succession of sprints…hopefully this weekend. In the meantime, the most difficult thing to do is sit down and keep inching ahead.

There’s always the chance that some of these slow parts will end up cut down, maybe even out entirely when the draft copy is edited and polished. At the moment they are needed as my muse sorts things things out.

The important thing is to not grind to a halt. THAT is what it is difficult to deal with. It’s all too easy to not make it back in time to catch up this month.

The carrot here is: once you’re past the exactly middle of the story, things pick up. You’re rolling downhill toward the conclusion and there will be lots of strings to be tied up along the way. Word count will tally up nicely and in quick order. Still, keep an eye on it. Move forward. Don’t stall out!