Thursday, November 07, 2013

NaNoWriMo #6 Day 7

Quick word count update:

Total words: 14512

Average Words Written Per Day so far: 2073

I STILL like my story and my characters. I feel really great about where this is going and there should be two big climaxes - one in the middle and one near the end. I'm about two days ahead on word count so I'm very, very happy.

On Monday morning I heard an interview with the great Stanley Jordan, a virtuoso jazz guitarist. If you know of him, his new album sounds amazing. If you don't, look up a video of him playing Stairway to Heaven, your jaw will drop.

It's not his playing so much that got me in the interview, though. It was his attitude about playing. Near the end he said that one of the reasons that he enjoyed teaching guitar so much was that moment when he could enlighten a student. Say the student is playing a piece he knows and knows well but is having trouble with. Jordan looks at everything the student is doing EXCEPT playing. Is the student breathing? Are his eyes closed? Is he feeling the music?

If, when the student is playing a gig, the thought is "Oh I've got ten more minutes to fill, what am I going to do?" he posits that that is the worst possible motivation to play. Filling time. If, instead, the student has a goal of creating the most heavenly music ever heard he will likely play amazing stuff.

It's all about the goals and the things you do to get there beyond just practicing. That's why it's important for us writer-types to get up and walk around every once in a while. See something else, let the problems we're having in the writing work themselves out by allowing our brains to take in something else.

I've always known this. If I'm distracted in what I'm trying to accomplish, it's time to move away from it for a short time (or longer if need be) and then come back fresh. Sometimes it's twenty minutes other times it can be several days.

The beauty of NaNo is that it forces you to confront those problems, especially in the dreaded Middle. At that point, going for a walk or taking a break to watch a TV show or a movie is a good idea. Let your brain work it out.

And now that I've done that, it's time to get back to writing.

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