I was upset when I tried to update my word count shortly after midnight, today. NaNoWriMo.org shut that feature down. Had I been allowed, I would entered 11,968.
This morning, NaNoWriMo sent me a consolation letter informing me that I did not win. (?!!) They define ‘winning’ as writing 50K words. So, I guess they have a point. I certainly did not win. But, at the same time, I didn’t lose.
Nobody said I was done, either. I will tell the world when this story is finished. I will define whether I win or lose.
Between yesterday and today my total word count is up to 2370. I spent a lot of time tilling the same ground, not contributing much to my overall word total, but improving the story told. Better to feel good about 2370 words and a quality opening, than 5000 words that will need to be cut by half. I don’t see any way around this. I am a plodder. Call me tortoise pen. I am proud.
What I originally envisioned as a book has instead become a project to occupy me until my death. Instead of a book, I have decided to begin publishing papers and articles. The last few years left me with a lot of time to think about what I wanted to write. I have so much more than a simple book. Eventually, (hopefully), a book will come. But my goal at the moment is to stir the cultural pot. I seek to challenge conventional religious thinking. I am convinced that Christians and Muslims see the world incorrectly. I am convinced that for many, faith has become an obstacle to thinking.
Without rationality, we are socially controlled by a dynamic system of opinions. Without knowledge to compare with our beliefs, we cannot know whether our opinions are actually true. A correct understanding of the world allows to make correct decisions.
My goal is to marry rationality with our collective spiritual practices, by challenging the idea that Christians and Muslims speak for God. I am an atheist who believes in God. My goal is to demonstrate that within Christianity and Islam, a false understanding of God is being taught.
Last week I didn’t post anything. I was too close to a creative moment, and I was too distracted channeling the creative vision to break out of that and try to describe it to others. Does this make any sense?
Last Wednesday began with journaling. I wound up making a lot of notes. These notes helped me see something within my narrative. Some potential. After writing those notes, I couldn’t stop thinking about them. Later that day I tried to post something here on this blog. But I couldn’t stop thinking about the morning’s notes. The blog had to take a back seat. By Thursday, I had missed a self-imposed deadline. I decided not to beat myself up about it. I would just move forward. I still had those notes on my mind. I got back to work and expanded on what I had written the day before.
Those notes then went into the model of the book I am building. In my last post, I mentioned using mind-mapping software to build out models for this book. I have created a number of models over the past few years. Each one getting closer to my vision. As I worked with the current model, began to feel that the moment was at hand. I have been building these models to help me think about what I have said, and what needs to be said, as I write. Without the models I’m writing into a void. I can’t just wing this narrative without some structure. This is too complicated for a seat-of-the-pants approach.
I need to see all of the talking points and where the statements have to be made within the narrative in order to keep the suspense, while still informing the reader. I began building these models with the conviction that at some point writing the book would become fairly easy. At some point, with enough development, I anticipated that the model would trigger the narrative with a mere gaze. Working with the mind-map this week, I began responding to the model in just this way. Two days ago I began a new Scrivener project. I needed a fresh blank slate for this draft. Yesterday I began composing. Today the opening began to expand.
This week was fortuitous. While studying the Quran, I found what I was looking for. Something fell into place for me. The next day I began writing the latest opening to my book. For over a year, I have been honing the opening, over and over, circling around a correct thesis, without seeing it.
I could not write a book without a one-sentence summary. What would I say without a thesis? Each of the previous openings was built around a sentence that never could get me quite to the end of the book. These statements couldn’t take my narrative to where I wanted it to go. This week this changed. Such a simple thesis, and I could not see it until now.
The day after this realization, I began building out the latest model of my book. For the past two years, I have been using an application called FreeMind. It is open-source mind-mapping software. It works well. But it is not ideal. During the past couple of years, I have sketched out quite a few models. During the past few days, I had been thinking hard on my book. The morning after, I built the best model yet of the vision that has guided me in this project.
The day after that, I began writing. My mind maps tend to resemble trees with branches. This is fortunately or not due to the design of the software. Since I began using FreeMind to help me write, I envisioned the full draft as a process of filling out the leaves on each branch. That is where I am at right now. The sled is moving again, and picking up steam.