Monday, November 17, 2008

Write Ins

Believe it or not, writers can sometimes have a difficult struggle to get words on the page, especially within a reasonable amount of time. Let me rephrase that: It isn't the words that are the problem, usually it is just the time. Finding the time, that is. As many of you are aware, each of the Playfriends is participating in some form in National Novel Writing Month during November. But getting 50,000 words written, even in daily increments, isn’t easy. So the people over at NaNo suggested having group write-ins.

Yes, it is sort of like a sit in, but much more fun and definitely productive. Writers descend on their place of choice, loaded down with laptops, alphies, pen, storyboards, and plot notes. Then we write. Sometimes it is a coffee shop, restaurant, pub, or, in my case, my house. Yes, there are lots of distractions there, but there are also lots of toys and computers to occupy my preschool age child. Also plenty of plugs, a refrigerator to keep drinks cold, and no one will complain when the timer goes off.

That’s right, timer. Because we aren’t silly enough to think we’ll write the entire time we’re there, I set up a schedule. 45 minutes on, 15 off. For those who don't mind a task master, we’d do a 45 minute stint of writing, then stop for snacks and to discuss any problems. Then back to the grind stone.

Sound weird? Maybe. But does it work? Definitely. With a little self-control, and lots of sugar and caffeine. Besides, you knew writers weren’t normal, didn’t you? :)

Have you ever tried anything of this sort?


P.S. Check out our current totals in the blog sidebar. We need all the encouragement we can get!!!!


Instigator said...

I haven't participated in the write in. I'm wondering if I could do it any place besides the Playfriends houses. I mean, I don't think you guys would mind if I went and sat in your bathtub or jumped up on your kitchen table and stared at the ceiling for a minute if I got stuck but anyone else might. I think my process might be a little too weird to inflict on anyone else.


Smarty Pants said...

I don't know how this would work for me. I don't have a laptop or an alphie. I can't write by hand as fast as I can think. I'm not sure how I'd play along. Sounds interesting though.

I must say, though, that like Instigator, I might be a distraction. I get up and pace, cuss, talk aloud about things, laugh... not quite like her lying on the dining room table, but a distraction nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Of course I'm not a writer, so I have no idea what you ladies go through. And good luck ladies with your counts. However, if I have a big project going go, I do have co workers who can assist and if it's something personal, thank goodness for my 3 sisters & 2 brothers. Once again, good luck ladies.

Problem Child said...

Unfortunately, I'd probably be kicked out of the Write In. I'm so easily distracted that I wouldn't get anything done, and since I wasn't working, I'd bug other folks to talk to me.

I'm so far behind on my word count, it's sad. But if I can just get through this angsty, teeth-pulling bit, maybe the word count will pick up some.

Liza said...

Wow on y'alls numbers! WTG Playfriends. I'm a reader only, but did try and read over 3,000 pages in one month(averages out to be about 15 books). I made it, but only because I read everyday, even when I was tired.

Sherry Werth said...

Congrats on the word counts!! I'm still lagging behind but I am writing everyday which I am thrilled about.

I'm not sure about the write in but I did enjoy the weekend challenge I participated in. I would be a distraction like some of the others mentioned. I move, wiggle, talk, etc. It even drives me crazy!

Playground Monitor said...

I did the one at your house and I've done 2 with the local NaNo group. My best daily word count so far came from the first one with the local NaNo group -- 2748 words. I was rocking and rolling that night. My next highest came at your house -- 2597. The second local write-in sucked in many respects. The south B&N isn't writer friendly in that they only have one plug in the coffee shop area. Thankfully the liaisons have a nifty multiplug adapter. Also tons of high school kids use it as a place to do homework.

Regardless of the place, I have headphones and plug them into my laptop jack so I can listen to music to block out the distractions.

You'd be surprised by others' processes. One girl wears a purple cap, gloves with the fingers cut out and has a little stuffed animal she sits on her laptop (she uses an auxiliary keyboard).

PC, we'd shut you up. With duct tape if necessary. ::grin::

SP, you need at least an Alphie. Put it on your Christmas list.

For the most part, write-ins are good for me because I don't have the distractions of home -- dirty laundry begging to be washed, crumbs on the kitchen floor begging to be swept, dust on the top of the china cabinet begging to be wiped away. Laugh if you will, but I can find more things to do at home rather than write.

However, I will take this moment to announce I was the participant with the highest weekly word count last week on the NaNo thread at eHarlequin. I won a weekend in an Italian villa with Daniel Craig.

PM -- yawning after another late night

Lynn Raye Harris said...

I love write-ins! Haven't done them since Hawaii, but that's where I first tried it. A couple of times at a friend's house, and then a few times at the local Borders. I was surprised at how well it worked. When others are clacking away on their keyboards, it makes you want to write too.

I hope to participate in one of the write-ins, but with the way my month is going, who knows. Though Hubby did go back to work today -- after keeping me up half the night coughing.

I know, I know -- I should do what Marilyn says and go to the guest room. I almost did, but finally he stopped and I fell asleep.

amy*skf said...

I've done nano before (not this year) but was always too shy to do a write-in with people I didn't know--also, there was the little fact that I didn't own a laptop. But guess what I'm getting for my birthday this year? Yay!

I did participate in RWAs online chapter Kia--a writing challenge for October, we had different teams and goals etc. It was very motivationg, I also did the Fast Draft in 14 days workshop with Candace Havens--Holy Toledo. I have never written so many words.

She taught us to never go back and fix things, just keep moving forward, don't search for the perfect word, don't fix typos, just spew. And spew I did. I basically got my entire book on paper in October--no exposition, but all the main parts and ideas are there.

So that's why I didn't do nano this year I just need to edit and expand now and enough with the spewing already.

M.V.Freeman said...

I've happily participated in a write in with you, and I find they do work.

Yes, sometimes its a struggle, but I find it forces me to find a solution (even if I do have to change it during the revision process)

CONGRATS ladies on your word numbers!

Jane said...

I've never participated in a write-in. Good luck with the writing.

Christine said...

I used to meet my friends at the Starbucks in Fairfax and we'd write for a few hours. Now I just muddle here on my own. I do use the timer and it works for me. I think that the timer/write in would be fun for a first draft run through, but I am such a scattered paper all over the floor person with revisions that the mess would be problematic.

Good luck with the NaMo and all the writing!!

Ellen said...

Since I'm not a writer I've never participate in a write-in. But I was a teacher and one summer three of us had to write up a new curriculum for classes the school was implementing. We gathered at one of the houses and did a lot of brain storming. Each of us was teaching a different subject so we were working on individual plans but had to also coordinate certain aspects. I was a lot of fun and very productive.

Angel said...

I sure could have used a write in today. But with a sick child at home, it fell through. Here's hoping I can get a few more words before bed tonight.

Now, you all know I'd accomodate your weird idiosyncrasies. After all, we already do. :) Instigator, you know I have 2 bathtubs, right? Though not as nice as yours.

Isn't it wonderful how having someone alongside you, working toward a similar goal, helps you focus and be more productive? Regardless of whether you are a writer or not, reach out to those around you on major projects. It will be more fun, and less like work!!!

And thank you, Terry S, for all your encouragement! She's emailed me a couple of times about my NaNo numbers. It really helps to know someone is watching. :)


Word Verification: gyrosess

Virginia said...

I am not a writer, so I don't have a clue what you go through each day. I say what ever works for you go for it. I am sure you all have certain things that work for you.