For me, NaNo has always been this thing that I do to allow myself the chance to work on shiny new ideas, separate from the WIPs I work on throughout the year. I cannot believe that it is already Day 8 and that I’m already 30,000 words into this WIP.
I see that number and I honestly don’t know where it came from. Usually around Day 8, I’m on target, maybe a little ahead, maybe a little behind, but I’m never this far. I’m so into this world, this story, these characters that almost every day the words just flow. They might start off slow, but then they just pour out of me. Suddenly two, three, four hours pass, and I’ve added thousands of words.
It’s been so long since I’ve written like this – started a story from nothing, and just started putting words on the page. Whenever I do NaNo, I don’t spend my time writing a perfect draft, pretty prose or making sure all my words are carefully chosen. I’m just trying to get a rough fast draft of the story, that I can then go in and edit later. I know, it seems almost like a backwards way of doing things, but if I try to write that perfect draft, choose the right words, write the pretty prose from the get-go, I take forever to get words down. I don’t care if my first draft is a hot mess with the same word repeating twenty times on the same page, because once November is over, I can go back in from the beginning and edit all that stuff out, and make the story, the world really come to life. It’s the process that works for me.
Since I have such a clear image of this world in my head, I’m excited to go back through what I’ve written to edit it, to flesh it out, to make it the high fantasy I want it to be. Right now it’s very rough, very messy, and I haven’t quite figured out all the voices for my characters.
I spent quite a long time plotting out the story for these characters, and shocker, none of them are doing what I planned for them to do. It’s a little frustrating, and I’m not entirely sure how some of the choices they’ve made is going to affect the story in the long run, but the only thing I can do is keep writing and edit later if I have to.
I’ve been doing daily updates over on my Instagram Stories – which I’ll link here.
I’ve been sharing little peeks as well, and on Twitter. A few of them have had pretty good responses and it makes me excited that there are people who would be interested in reading about these two characters.
Here’s a slide show, depicting my progress.
- What chapters/plot points I managed to get through that day
- Total word count
- Daily word count
- Small commentary about how I was feeling that day.
I’ve found that posting these little wrap ups over on Instagram is helping me put into perspective what I’ve done, and sometimes I go back and refer to them if I need a quick refresher about what I recently worked on. Rather than having to go pages back through the WIP.
As for the peeks, I’ve tried to pick ones that show off the character, but doesn’t give too much away.
I’ve posted the peeks in the order I shared them on Instagram and Twitter – I hope you enjoy them!
I was a bit nervous at first, when I posted the first one, because I’ve rarely ever shared my writing with random people, only people I know, but it feels good getting reactions and knowing people have liked what the read. It’s been a tiny ego boost that I didn’t know I needed.
For weeks I was feeling like I wasn’t good enough, that I couldn’t hack it at writing, so I barely did. I felt like there were a million people better than me, and it was discouraging. I rarely touched my keyboard, and when I did, I found myself just staring at my open word document, not really seeing it, refusing to see it. I had lost whatever faith I had in my abilities and was more than happy to get lost in the amazing worlds that others had written.
Then one day, I basically told myself “f*ck it” and I sat down and started editing my SF WIP’s first three chapters. It was like something clicked in my brain, and writing wasn’t so scary, it wasn’t so hard. I remember the moment when that negative mindset of “I’ll never be able to be a published author because my writing is crap” turned off, and possibility set in.
Was this the first time I had felt defeated? No. It wasn’t.
Sometimes I get too much in my head, constantly looking for where I want to be in the future, wishing I was already there, that I forget that as much as I wish I could just snap my fingers and make it reality, I can’t and there is hard work that has to be done to get there. There is no cheating when it comes to writing a book. Susan Dennard said it in one of her Instagram stories, you have to put your butt in the chair and put words on the page. There’s no other way to do it.
I’m happy to say now, that I’m not feeling that way anymore, and the words seem to be flowing, so I’m just going to let them flow…even if they end up being crap. I have a delete button and I’m not afraid to use it.
If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo – how is your progress going? Are you on track, ahead, falling behind? Are your characters writing themselves, or are you meticulously sticking to your plot no matter what?
Would you share peeks into your WIP online? Does it make you nervous?
Let me know in the comments!