Yesterday, I went through my Nanowrimo stats to try and get myself feeling better about my last month of writing. I noticed a few patterns and one day in particular stood out – my 14,000 word day. The day that saved my 50k goal and won the month for me. 14,000 words in one day seems insane when you just look at the numbers, but it’s actually not my biggest day for pure word count. In the Nanowrimo of 2006, I had a contest of sorts going with a fellow writer. Coming to the end of that November, I was way behind – I hadn’t even crack 20,000 words and I was being so badly that I called in to work for two personal days and spent both days doing nothing by cranking out words. I didn’t answer my phone, I didn’t watch TV, I barely left my bed. Come lunch time on day two (which was November 29th), I hit 50,000 words. In those two days, I had written 36,000 words total. I texted my friend and broke the news to him – I had beaten him and won the challenge. He took me out to lunch. My hands were crippled. I had to take the next two days off to have a long weekend to recuperate. I couldn’t type. I couldn’t cook (the microwave for the win!). But I had won.
I don’t think I’ll ever beat that marathon of word count, but one days like my 14,000 word day, I fall into the same patterns. We’ve come to call this “Dragon Mode” – I am unreachable, untouchable, completely lost in the screen in front of me. Pain doesn’t matter – I am a writer with pretty severe arthritis! – until I’m finished. I don’t hear anything said to me, I don’t feel feelings, I am just typing.
I’ve always had that mode, whether it was essay writing in college or reading entire books in one sitting as a child. But, I never knew it would be useful to me! I remember when I was little, keeping a flashlight under my pillow so that I could read through the entire night without my parents knowing I was still awake. They would go through the roof when they caught me! I had a bedtime for a reason! But my mom is a reader, too, and she understood in a way, so I would never truly get in trouble, but man, in the moment, whenever I was busted, I was sure the sky was falling and I was going to be grounded for life. But I just wanted to read my book! One more page, chapter, just let me finish it!
As an adult, I don’t have to worry about getting caught; I can read all night through and the only repercussions I face are my own in the morning when I’m clearing exhausted and need to get to work. I can do the same with writing, and I have. Give me a playlist, a word processor, and the time, and I can write like the wind. I love Dragon Mode and all the pains and successes that come with it. Do you have anything of the like in your life? Is there something you can do without interruption for hours on end? Can you hone your focus to a pinpoint and just not let up?