Writing the Song Takes Time

by Wells

I got to thinking about National Novel Writers’ Month in November (NaNoWriMo.org) and how it applied to my next book.  That program is appealing to me because I love counting my progress in tangible measures.  When you sign up for NaNoWriMo you get 30 days to write a 50,000-word novel.  It’s simple and yet mind-harmingly daunting.

Until I considered the math today, I looked at 20 lines in a day as fierce progress toward completing this book-length poem I’m working on.  20 lines certainly feels like a lot of work.  Each line has an average of 8 words in it.  If I wanted to meet the NaNoWriMo standard and top 50,000 words in a month, I’d need to do 1,667 words every day.  That’s like 209 lines!

Clearly, it’s time to raise my expectations.

As an aside for you purists, there is a camp the lobbies against the counting of steps in artistic progress.  The fear is that it stifles the magic.  I don’t feel that applies to me.  I’m looking at this project as more of a translation than a straight-up novel.  When Dryden was translating the Aeneid you can bet he counted his progress at the end of every day by considering how much further he had left to go.  I’m like the artistic director for a film shoot.  I use every shot to express a specific vision through placement of lights and camera.  But when we’ve run out of script, my work is done.  It’s possible to see the end on its way toward the present.

Personally, I’ve got miles and miles left to go.  Time to get cracking and write the song already.

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