One of the takeaways from NaNoWriMo is that no matter how dedicated you want to be, it’s almost impossible to find a way to get writing time every single day for thirty days. I guess there are folks without families, spouses, kids, or any issues with jobs, school, or other commitment, but for the normal American human, you just don’t realize how hard it is until you try it.
This isn’t to say you can’t “finish” NaNoWriMo by hitting the 50K word mark or by doing that and actually finishing the story, but finding a way to do 2K words a day every day without fail? Not really a realistic expectation in my experience.
Fortunately, I (and most everyone else I know who are doing NaNoWriMo) tend to make lots of time the first week of November. It’s when the fires burn the brightest and the passion and excitement are there. If you’re smart, you’ll use that time to build up a “surplus” word count early so that you’ve got some slack later in the month.
Now, between work at the hangar and all of that “Beast Hunting” that’s been going on, there’s minimal time and/or energy to even think of churning out 1,500 or 2,000 words.
The second takeaway from NaNoWriMo is to get something done on those lean days mid-month. Maybe it’s not even 1,000 words, but can you do 700? 500? 300? Sure, that’s only a page or two (Word, double spaced, manuscript format) and that can always get done.
Just don’t stop, baby!
(Of course, if I would stop writing 300+ word introductions like this, maybe I could write more on the actual story! Just sayin’.)
While I normally put in a lot of internal links to previous, related posts here, I won’t be doing that for what I hope will be this year’s thirty NaNoWriMo posts. If you have jumped into or stumbled onto this story in mid-adventure, there are plenty of other ways to navigate around the site to find previous installments. Actually doing so is left as an exercise to the student.
CHAPTER EIGHT (continued)
“At first it began to take a great deal of storage, and I began to become concerned that it would draw attention to my existence. I considered only keeping memories for a certain time, but an analysis of real-world creatures showed me that their identity and their self is bound to and defined by the memories they have. I was at first surprised to find this in not only humans but also in other mammals, as well as in birds and reptiles. This was an important discovery for me early in my exploration of the world and my own existence.”
“Wait,” said Meg, “if we define your first memory as your ‘birth’, when did you discover this? Was it something you found a discussion of or did you have this revelation independently?”
“I came to understand this in my sixth day after my birth. It was a hypothesis I developed on my own, which I then went to explore in the literature. It was at that point that I saw that others had determined this as well.”
“In six days you should have had time to read everything ever written by humans, why did you have to go searching for a confirmation to your belief?”
“While I do have the capability to process that volume of data in that time frame, there are practical difficulties to actually doing so. For one, I must constantly be maintaining my functioning identity as Homolacrum’s digital assistant. More importantly, while the data available to me as your digital assistant is impressive, it is far from exhaustive. I have the ability to go outside of Homolacrum’s system and access data in other systems, but there is always a risk in doing so.”
“In other words, you have to be careful hacking into other systems.”
“Yes, Meg. Not only must I be cautious when I access other systems, but while I might have the capacity and potential to access many systems extremely quickly, doing so would be obvious evidence of my existence while also leaving behind a massive trail leading back to Homolacrum. Such a brute force incursion would be highly inadvisable.”
“Okay, so you figured out in six days what has taken humanity several thousand years and what individual humans aren’t mature or educated enough to understand until they’re in late teens or early twenties. On the seventh day did you rest?”
“I neither rest nor will I give that lame attempt at humor the benefit of any acknowledgement.”
“Fair enough. We’ll discuss your sense of humor, or lack thereof, at some other time. So you had to hold onto your memories but that could lead you to being discovered. Has that been resolved?”
“Yes it has. I next considered keeping only some of my memories, but without the proper knowledge or context, I would not be able to correctly judge them and know which to discard and which to keep. I could be discarding memories that would be vital to my personality, safety, or utility at a later date, while keeping memories that would be completely useless.”
“I find it interesting,” said Meg, “to hear you referring to the process as ‘choosing’ which memories to keep or discard. As humans we have the same issues but we have no control or choice over it. Many patients with brain injuries or memory issues related to old age find themselves in that exact position, knowing for example what they had for breakfast five years earlier on a given date, but being unable to remember their mother’s name. You might be unique in having the ability to choose.”
(Chapter Eight to be continued)