Lena Corazon

Flights of Fancy

ROW80: The Highs and Lows of Literary Abandon

As all Wrimos know, National Novel Writing Month bills itself as “30 days of literary abandon.” This year, I’m finding that “literary abandon” is something akin to “playing in the sandbox with full permission to get my clothes dirty.” I’ve given up all hope of plots, plans, or outlines. I don’t even think I have a stable list of characters anymore. Instead, I’m making it all up as I go along.

The result? Sheer chaos. And I’m loving it.

This is basically how I feel when I write with abandon.

I can introduce characters halfway through the novel if I want, ditch them if they don’t quite work, or keep ’em around if they do. I can write scenes out of order, mix them around, see where they fall best. I can be as outrageous as I want, and it’s okay, because I’ll go back one day and fix it up so that it’s pretty and shiny.

It’s a process of discovery, pure and simple. But of course, sometimes too much freedom translates into “Dear God, what the hell am I DOING???” sort of meltdowns.

This is what happened over the last week (hence the lack of Sunday/Wednesday check-ins), but I *think* it’s under control right now.

At the moment, I have a band of random characters journeying into the enemy country of Osgiliath (because when I can’t figure out names, I shamelessly steal borrow from Lord of the Rings), to track down a stolen Device that can wreak all sorts of havoc.

What exactly is the Device, you ask? I have no idea. How are they going to steal it back from the Enemy? I don’t know the answer to that either. But it’s okay, because this is NaNoWriMo, and my zero draft is allowed to have ALL the loose ends.

At least that’s what I’m telling myself. 😛

Here’s how the rest of my week has gone down:

Day Job: I’m slowly gathering the energy to start rewrites for my dissertation proposal. The soft deadline to my committee is mid-December, with an eventual meeting sometime in January. Once I get through NaNoWriMo, this will be my top priority.

Writing: I lost a few days mid-week, but I’m getting back on track. I’ve written just over 24k, and by the end of the weekend I’ll hopefully be half-way through. Scrivener tells me that if I write 2k each day, I’ll finish up on time.

Exercise: I’m on track, walking 4 days a week. Mom and I have decided to tackle our diet next, so I’m trying to slowly cut back on salty and sugary things, and incorporate more veggies. Portion control is also on the to-do list, but we’ll see how that plan goes once Thanksgiving rolls around.

Social Media: I haven’t gotten a chance to swing by any ROW80 blogs in a week or so (sorry, guys!), but I have read/commented on a couple non-ROW80 blogs each day.

Over on tumblr, I posted my first poem in almost a month (so good to get back to writing poetry). And here on Flights of Fancy, I got the chance to review a book written by Sebastian Orth, who did my first tattoo back in May. It’s a phenomenal book–part autobiography, part philosophical musing on the art of tattooing. I definitely recommend it.

Self-Care: I’ve gotten distracted from my early morning journaling + poetry writing sessions, and I also realized that I haven’t been reading nearly enough of late. Now that I’m catching up with the NaNo word count, I aim to correct all these things.


And that’s it for me, folks! I’ll be busy over the next few days with family–my sister and my grandfather are flying in on Tuesday, and I really can’t wait.

Be sure to swing by and give a hearty hello to the rest of the ROW80 participants!

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  1. Enjoy your family time, Lena! You’re doing so well juggling all your goals–I’m envious.

    I love the description of writing with abandon. I think it is hard for us academic types to ignore all that structured training. Well, that is my problem with zero drafts, at least. The closest I can come is to work in a mosaic fashion on a skeleton frame, but it does feel freeing to jump around to write the parts that call to me, worrying about the interstices later. I feel really naughty when I do that with academic work! 😛

    Have a lovely holiday!
    Elizabeth Anne Mitchell recently posted..A cautionary taleMy Profile

    • Elizabeth, I think it’s so true about the structured academic training. There are some ways in which being a scholar has been helpful to my creative life (the ability to do research and be disciplined, etc.), but it’s the structured thinking that has been the hardest to unlearn.

      Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a wonderful holiday as well!

  2. Sounds like you got a lot done, despite your “abandoning” a plan for your novel! Sometimes, it has to be all about having fun – because if it isn’t, why are we writing?
    Jennette Marie Powell recently posted..ROW80: NaNoWriMo, Day 18My Profile

  3. Writing a first draft is about creation and freedom, so it’s great that you’re writing what you want! Have a lovely time with your family 🙂
    EM Castellan recently posted..ROW80 Check-In 7: Tamora Pierce on finding ideas & dealing with writer’s blockMy Profile

  4. Lena, I love this so much, because I constantly have to be reminded of this as I’m nano-ing. The surrending to any and all ideas can seem so freeing that it scares the crap out of me! SO, thanks again for the reminder that this is about all possibilities.
    Amy Kennedy recently posted..BAD ASS…NO, SERIOUSLYMy Profile

  5. Glad NaNo is going better for you. Writing with abandon can create an uptick in creativity. 🙂
    Pauline B Jones recently posted..googlecd20eb13f78687f0My Profile

  6. Go Lena! I know how crazy busy all you NaNo writers are so I am doubly honoured that you found the time to comment on my blog! I’m glad the adorable Jack brought a smile to your day. Have a wonderful time with your family. 🙂

  7. I’m glad you’re still doing NaNoWriMo and that you’re enjoying it. I had to take the pressure off myself and slowly withdraw. Too much going on in the ole life right now. Still trying to write, but at a much slower pace.

    Have a great week and Happy Thanksgiving!
    Michelle Stockard Miller recently posted..Sit Down and Write 2 Check-In {with ROW80}My Profile

  8. Huge well done for reaching 24K.
    I loved your opening paragraph. That’s what I love about Nano. I can do what the hell I want which is why I think I don’t have as much trouble doing it and more trouble writing outside it if that makes sense.
    You’ve inspired me.
    Keep going. 🙂
    Laura recently posted..NaNo 2012 in the bag (late Sunday check in.)My Profile

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