We’re in the home stretch. I’m a little behind but not by much. All in all, I’m happy with how it’s been going.
Let’s be honest, a measly five thousand words in two days isn’t going to stop me from making 50K by midnight tomorrow.
Week 3 of NaNoWriMo kicked my ass when looking at the daily average. Between getting sick, dealing with a new boss at work (not a replacement, an ADDITIONAL boss hired and inserted in the chain of command which means I now I have three bosses.), medical procedures and general insomnia, I skipped a few days which means that while I had caught up, I was back down. I started the weekend only at 31K.
I’d say I rallied. I pulled many 3000 word days and one 4000 word day.
I’m pleased as punch because it didn’t feel like a slog.
I’m relearning the same lessons this year and a few new ones. I hope they stick because all in all, I like this year’s NaNo experience.
- Writing is a lot like going to the gym for me. I really really LOVE “having written” rather than “writing”. This means that it’s always difficult to actually start. Word number one is the toughest, a LOT tougher than word 1201 or 2348. One thing I’ve noticed in the last week is that it’s becoming a little easier to get started in general. I’ve noticed it’s easier to just start writing in the morning. I tend to skip days where I write nothing at all until 7 or 8 o’clock at night, those days I just don’t start whereas on a day where I’ve written 400 or 500 words in the morning, I’ll quite easily stay up until 10pm and write almost 2000 more without thinking. Like the gym, I guess you just have to get it done and keep doing it. I’m going to try. Don’t quit. I know, I’ve quit so often, I know what it’s like, it’s familiar territory. It never leads anywhere good. I can promise you that.
- Stress matters. On days where I am stressed, it becomes a LOT harder to get started. One more reason to begin early in the morning. I usually don’t wake up stressed out, hell, most days I don’t get that way til at least 8am. Find ways to deal with it. I keep hoping that writing would be my escape and to my joy, I’m finding that it’s becoming that again this month BUT it didn’t start out that way. It might not start that way for you either. So deal with the stress so you can write, so that eventually writing might be your stress reliever, if you want it to be.
- Sleep matters. I don’t sleep and a whole lot of things go to shit. I have memory lapses, I become quite absent minded. I have no willpower, so getting in gear to write usually stops happening. My self control goes out the window, which means I’ll eat a ton of junk with no thought to my health or wallet. Combine that with number 2 above, you can imagine the train wreck. I’ve gotten better at dealing with it, but it’s far from perfect. Take care of yourself and your health.
- Story matters. If I like the story, even in the slog it’s not so bad to write. If I don’t, writing words is like pulling teeth. If more than say, a week of writing goes by and it still feels like that, I have to know I’m on the wrong track and it’s ok. I felt this way with my first attempt at Space Pirates. I made the 50K but it didn’t feel good, it was work and I was tired. It just didn’t work. This year, it’s the same story but on a different track, and it’s working. When I write it, I feel good and getting a 3000 word day isn’t that hard. Remember it’s ok to realize that you’ve been on the wrong track with your writing. Just let it go and deal with it and keep writing.
- Forget about good. First draft is about THERE. Let it be shitty but let it exist. Keep telling yourself that the first draft is about vomiting the words on the page not about writing good words. Let them suck, let them be shit. When it’s done, it’s much easier to see what works and what doesn’t. You can’t fix what’s not there. I see that with this draft of Space Pirates, so much so that I sometimes consider THIS draft a huge clunky outline. I see and make notes on what feels right and what doesn’t and what I need to go back and fix…and I shouldn’t even do THAT. Just write it first…then make it good.
- Don’t read too much writing advice when you’re writing a first draft. Leave that shit for when you’re on your second or third. Want to have awesome scene sequels? Great! Want to make sure your character arcs are compelling? Sweet! Have you got your ducks in a row when you want to foreshadow something? AWESOME! Is your theme coming through? SUPER! All of that has no place in your first draft. I made that mistake too many times. First draft? Throw all that out the window and just write. Read that stuff when you’re taking a break from your story.
All in all, I’d say NaNoWriMo this year is working. I really miss the old gang and our write ins, but I had some very specific things I wanted to accomplish this year and I’m on track to accomplishing them.
Something amazing has been happening while coming up from behind, even while sick this weekend. I’ve been writing more and more (as I should if I want to reach 50K right?) and I’ve been feeling that ‘zone’ again. It’s a great feeling when your story is working and the words are coming. It feels so amazing. I missed that so much, I feel like an idiot for ever letting that go. I’ve had it all weekend and even during this week. 3ooo words, 4000 words, and they don’t feel like ‘work’, they feel FUN.
I am having fun.
I wasn’t sure I ever would again. I am very glad I was wrong.
More on that later.
In the meantime, if you’re reading this and are doing NaNoWriMo, hear me. It doesn’t matter what your count is at really. Don’t give up. Keep writing right up until midnight tomorrow. Maybe you won’t make it, but you know, you just might. I’m going to.
Never give up, never surrender!