good morning, cyberspace!
Week two of NaNoWrimo has officially come and gone, which means we have finally broken into the final half of this crazy adventure of writing a book in a month. It’s hard for me to believe that we’re already halfway through November, but I guess it just goes to show that time truly does fly when you’re having fun.
Or. . .you know. . .when you’re quietly sobbing into your cereal each morning because you still have to write another 1,667 words before the day is through. Whichever floats your boat, my friends.
But anyway, now that week two has drawn to a close, I think now is the perfect time to reflect on some of the things I’ve learned over the past few days.
Or rather, to tell you guys just how big of a NaNoWriMo hypocrite I am, because I totally did something over the weekend that literally EVERYONE tells you never to do during The NaNo. Aha.
Let’s get this ball rolling, shall we?
A Smol Journal Entry From Yours Truly (a.k.a. my confession to being a hypocrite)
Monday, November 12th . . . 4:00 pm
Twelve days into NaNoWriMo, and I think I’ve finally found my groove for this novel.
And also quite possibly made the absolute best/worst decision of this book’s career, but like??? Pssh. Technicalities.
The weekend was particularly enlightening for the progress of this story. As of Saturday, I had written a whopping 400 words, and then topped it off with a nice helping of 1,300 something on Sunday.
I know. It’s impressive. Quite the productive weekend I had, there, I must say.
However, despite my severely lacking amount of wordage over the course of the past two days, I DID manage to break through my novel slump on Sunday by allowing myself to take a couple hours to do the absolute worst possible thing you could ever do during The NaNo:
I worked on rewriting a few portions of the despicable chapter four.
I’m thoroughly convinced that every single one of my stories has at least one chapter within it that is just plain atrocious, to the point where the amount of effort needed to make that chapter seem even slightly presentable to the human eye is almost enough to force me into carving out my own eyeballs with a spoon and moving away to the mountains to become an eyeless goat. For everlost, that particular chapter was 19. For The Girl and The Goblin King, that chapter is chapter 4.
However, as I mentioned in my previous NaNo update, I had decided to leave chapter 4 in its festering, rotten condition and — in true NaNo spirit — move forward within the book as though I had written it correctly the first time around. After all, revision and editing could all be done later, right? There was absolutely no rush in trying to make that chapter feel more like the vision I saw in my head right now. NaNoWriMo is strictly for adding words to your document. It’s for first drafting and plowing forward no matter how awful you feel about the content of your work and writing and writing and writing until your fingers bleed and. . .!
Yeah, no. That method isn’t working for me.
I think this is a lesson I have to physically force myself to learn every single time I do NaNo, but my writing process just flat out refuses to allow me to focus more on quantity on quality. I mean, obviously I understand and realize that writing a novel is a long and tedious task, and if you never allow yourself the chance to write poorly structured sentences and slightly half-baked characters in the first draft, you’re never going to accomplish anything. (you know. it’s the whole “you can’t edit a blank page” mentality that most writers [myself included] agree with.) However, that being said, I’ve found that every time I begin to focus more on wordcount and how many words I can pump out in a fifteen minute sprint than the actual content of the story I’m creating, something inside of me just kind of curls into a ball and shrivels up into nothing.
And that pruney, curled up something is my passion for storytelling.
I know it sounds weird. It really does. But while I know I have to allow myself to write garbage sometimes — and I do allow myself to write garbage while first drafting, otherwise I would never finish a chapter — my brain and die-hard chronological-writer self cannot physically handle the thought that something I wrote previously was not done to the best of my ability. And chapter 4?? Oh goodness that whole thing was awful. It was absolutely nothing like what I had envisioned that chapter to be in my head, and just the mere thought that it was so far from what I wanted it to be was enough to put a giant block in my brain that prevented me from writing any words over the weekend, a proof that is quite literally in the pudding of my wordcount on Saturday.
Chapter four was just stuck in my head like a maggot, wriggling around and gnawing at me. I knew I could do better. I knew there were little things that I wanted to add into it — little voices and smells and plot sprinklings that I had completely failed to write into it the first time round. And no matter how hard I tried to focus on the next chapter and leave chapter 4 in the past until editing time came, I just couldn’t stop thinking about how good it could be if I could just give it a second go right now.
And so, despite my inner NaNoWriMo fanatic screaming at me that this was the absolute worst possible thing to do if I wanted to meet my word goal for the day, I went back. I rewrote some words. I added in a few conversations. I built up a personality or two. I wrote some new words, edited a few others, and overall realized that this chapter, though still nothing like what I envision it to be in my head, actually isn’t so hopeless after all.
And the most miraculous thing of all? I was actually having fun while editing it. After eleven days of literally slogging through this book, of trying to find Todd’s voice, of battling with each and every word. . .I was finally having fun. And it was the absolute most glorious thing.
And not only that, but my word count actually began to go up, rather than down. I added about a thousand new words to that chapter — which made my word count extremely happy, of course — and by the time I was done, I had gotten it to a point where it was okay-ish enough that I could finally forget about it and move on.
And holy guacamole, folks. Just the simple act of allowing myself to switch back to the editing mode I’ve been living in for the past few months completely blew my writer’s block out of the water. All of a sudden, instead of focusing on the dreary wordcount, I was working on a story again. I was writing, and I was loving the process, difficult though it might be. Chapter five was suddenly fun to write, rather than a slog, and I am currently on the edge of my seat to get back to it.
Finally, after twelve days of struggling to fall in love with this story as I did with everlost, I am finally obsessed with it. I’m loving the characters. I’m loving the plot. I’m loving this crazy process of being a writer. It’s still an upward struggle at times — as the writing process always must be — but I finally think I’m beginning to figure out just where this story is going. . .
. . . In Other News . . .
Not only did I finally break through my writing slump this week, but I’ve also accomplished some other things that I feel are worth mentioning in this week’s update post. Such as. . .
- I BROKE 25K ON THE 14TH!!!! . . . And by the time you’re reading this it will already be the 17th of November, making this extremely not exciting, but STILL. It was super exciting to me as I hit 25k thirty minutes before midnight on November 14th, so like??? I’m gonna continue to be excited about this, peasants. Plus, as of right now, I’m an entire day ahead of my word goal, which feels SUPER nice after a weekend of writing hardly anything. I guess we’ll just have to see if this holds up until Saturday now. Aha. (HINT: it did. sorta. i had to write 3,000 words to catch back up after having only written 700 on Thursday, but like??? let’s just ignore that. . .)
but also. . .
- I WROTE 3,000 WORDS ON THURSDAY! . . . and while it hasn’t beat my wordiest day of all time (3,743 words on November 19th, 2016) I’m still really happy with this. I think this is the most I’ve written in a single day all month, so I’m just gonna savor that for a little while.
- After my writerly breakthrough on Sunday, I finally feel like I’m getting to the good part of this novel . . . which is bizarre, because typically it’s beginnings that I Iove writing the most. But with The Girl and The Goblin King, I’m finding that the middle is where most of my favorite scenes are. (and as someone who typically LOATHES writing middles, this is a very weird experience for me???)
- Todd has continued to speak to me . . . so apparently it wasn’t all a hoax last time? He’s finally talking and thinking, which is great, but he still seems a little cardboard-y. But I am slowly learning to accept the fact that, for right now, that is perfectly fine. His paper-thin personality can be fixed in revision. (. . .i think.)
- Deaths are beginning to be planned . . . which is rather unfortunate, because I’m starting to fall in love with these characters. . . aha. #oops.
- I’ve started playing with watercolor paint again . . . And I am very excited about this, because I’ve been learning some watercolor paint techniques through Skillshare, and I finally feel like I vaguely understand how to make the watery paint go where I want it. Also it’s very fun to splatter paint everywhere and tilt the paper all around so that the paint swooshes in swirls across the page but whatever. I’m totally a professional with things such as these. . .
And finally, last but never the least. . .
- I knit a pair of gloves this week! . . . and this is super important and totally relevant to writing. obviously.
Secondly, in more Dare Squad news, I do realize that I haven’t been posting questions or prompts as much as I’ve been hoping to, which I am extremely sorry about, but like. . .writing. It’s NaNoWriMo. I’ve been writing like a furious hobgoblin. CAN YOU REALLY BLAME ME FOR NOT BEING VERY PRESENT ON HERE?
I don’t think you can. . .
However, as I’m sure we all know, this next Monday is the 19th, which means that it is almost time to reveal the NaNoWriMo Dare Squad dares!!! (though not who actually wrote the dares yet. that shall be reserved for the very last day of November) And not only will I be revealing all of the glorious dares that have been submitted this year, but I will also be posting a super secret sneak peek at a very special twist for all you NaNoWriMo Dare Squad winners out there! So for everyone participating in the Dare Squad — whether or not you’ve already won or are still plugging away at your manuscript — don’t forget to check back here on Monday to see all of the delicious things!
And hopefully I’ll have more prompts and stuff posted by then, but like. . .I’m really not all that worried about it. Aha.
TALK TO ME, PEASANTS!
And I think that’s about all I’ve got for today! I know this post wasn’t anything like a pep talk, but this is supposed to be more of a NaNoWriMo update kind of thing. So. Yeah.
I’ll try to be more peppy next time, I’m sorry.
But anyway, now that I’ve sufficiently rambled your ears off for one morning, I think it’s time to switch things over to you.
How has your NaNo been thus far? Have you been crushing your writing goals, or do you feel more like your writing goals have been crushing you? (and if so, please feel free to tell me all of your woes down in the comments. I shall do my best to give you a pep talk and fling pompoms and cookies at your face) What kinds of new and interesting things have you been learning about your novel or characters this month? What kinds of new and interesting things have you been doing this month that DON’T involve writing? (a difficult thing for writing-obsessed people such as myself to discuss, I know, but if you rack your brain I bet there’s at least ONE thing you’ve been doing that isn’t related to writing. . .maybe. . .
probably not. . .) and most importantly. . .
HAVE YOU KILLED OFF ANY CHARACTERS IN YOUR MANUSCRIPT YET??? (and did you shed a tear whilst doing it, because I typically shed a tear when I blatantly murder people. aha.)
As always, until next time. . .
*flings cookies in your face and disappears*