Over the next month, I’ll be giving weekly updates as to how the process has been going for me, for my own records as well as your reading pleasure. There are few things I love reading about more than other people’s journeys as they take part in Nanowrimo - they’re always full of insights and inspiration for me.
Did you hear that whooshing sound? It was the sound of week 2 of Nanowrimo whipping by!
As of this week, here are my stats:
Characters Introduced: 7
Plots accepted and discarded: 11 (!!)
Total breakdowns this week: 2
Words written: 30 887
Days of overwhelming inspiration: 1
Days of absolutely no inspiration: 6
Days of not meeting my target: 1
Current feelings towards writing: Crazed artist fritters around his studio muttering curses and singing songs as he cuts away at marble. There is no clear sculpture that can be seen…
Tools I’m using remain the same: Habitica, Scrivener and 8tracks. I cannot reccomend them enough.
This week has been trying, to say the least. Here’s what I’ve learned:
You’re building a habit, not a masterpiece. This doesn't have to make sense. This doesn't need to be pretty. All it needs to be is words on a page - lots and lots and lots of words. This isn't about making your magnum opus. Even the best of novels started out as a rough draft. Rougher than yours, even. Revised and re-worked after the first one had been written. Just keep writing, and believe that it will work it's way out.
Letting go of things can be hard, but freeing. Sometimes things just don't seem to work out. Sometimes you just have to cut something loose and leave it in the dust to find another person, or time, to inspire. But that can be easier said than done. I let go of all the plot and planning I had for this month. Which was hard, because this was going to be THE year I planned my novel for Nanowrimo. No such luck, I started from scratch. And the novel has been better because of it.
Inspiration is fluid and fickle. Don't pursue it, embrace it. Jump on it the moment it shines it's head, even if it's just to jot an idea down. Catch it like a little butterfly, and maybe give it a little pet to convince it to stay. It will disappear like magic if you don't (and even sometimes if you do write it down). Treat it kindly, but don't go running off of cliffs chasing it. Inspiration is not the normal state - normal is simply sitting down and getting the work done. Even if it's crap. Especially if it's crap.
Where is the line between pushing yourself and being cruel to yourself? I honestly still don't have an answer to this question. So far, it seems to me that peppering your hard work with rewards, and taking breaks, but being firm with yourself is a big line between cruelty and kindness for me. Not bursting in to tears is another. That being said, I think I need to push myself harder, still.
If something isn’t working, let it go. Collect it, write it down somewhere, and then let it go for the time being. Maybe now isn't the time to write about girls captured by fairies (my idea). Instead it's time to write about badass girls with crazy magical tattoos in a despotic kingdom (my new idea). Inspiration will come and go - don't hang on to something that's already left you. It will either come back, or reveal something better.
Scraps can always be useful later on. Do not discount the words you've written because you've changed your idea. I still feel like I'm cheating a bit by including my now-defunct story for the new one. It's almost 10 000 words added to my word count that aren't the actual book I'm writing. But everyone I talk to (including my common sense) says keep it - it counts. So I am. Because they do count for something, and maybe one day that story will get written, too.
Organisation is probably in order. Probably. Despite saying that, I have no organized my story in any way shape or form. No chapters, no settings, no real...anything. It's literally just drabbles. Right here and now, I promise to organize it the moment I complete my book (whether that's before nanowrimo, or, at the latest, December 1st).
Writing still feels so freakin’ good. So, so good. I feel so excited every single time I sit down to write at the end of the day, and even on the days where I didn't, the words flowed fairly easily - I think that's a signal that a habit is starting to form, which is SO exciting for me. It's been a hard habit to keep, this week, but I know it will pay off, and the words keep coming.
That's it for advice and thoughts this week, folks. The second and third weeks are always the hardest for me, and I'm not looking forward to the dreaded week three. But hopefully things will work out - I'm holding on to the fact that despite my bad days, I still am LOVING writing, and loving the habit that it's giving me! Plus my plot keeps thickening like...like a delicious...soup? Soup is good.