Here’s the thing about NaNoWriMo: An Update

We are a week into novel writing month and to celebrate I took a writer’s retreat. I came up to the mountains (the same mountains in which I white water rafted last week) to rest and breathe deeply (without coughing) and look at all the different shades of green and eat pizza and sleep in under a down comforter that actually has a use. Oh yeah, and write.

Approaching this year’s NaNoWriMo I was feeling a little apprehensive. Especially since I was still working on what I wrote for last year’s NaNoWriMo and it (rather, I) wasn’t moving forward as quickly as I had hoped. I even sent out a plea for help, for validation, for a magic novel writing spell, to a fellow story teller who has actually finished and sent out into the world two whole finished books. I was all, “I don’t actually feel like I want to write a novel. I just want to have written a novel.” And she was all, “Yeah, I’ve totally felt that!” She sent me practical tips and resources and encouragement and personal experience and it was really nice and helpful.

But I still felt an unease, like I wasn’t sure that finishing a novel about Grayson and then writing a novel about Hark and writing (creating out of nothing!) this whole series was what I should be doing. Was what I wanted to be doing. So I continued to work it over, to write a bit (a little bit, that is) and think about what I should be doing, if it wasn’t writing a whole series about these people living in my mind. A series sounds exhausting and long and hard and let’s be honest, I’m kind of lazy.

I was frustrated because when I write short stories I feel this spark and energy and authenticity that I would lose anytime I tried to write more than a few chapters. I wanted a whole novel’s worth of short story feel. So I thought, well, maybe I should just write a bunch of short stories and throw those together. But no, that didn’t sound right, either. I wanted to create something smart and involved, not write about a bunch of worlds existing apart from each other. Then finally, this week it came to me. The very right thing I’m supposed to do. A project I believe I can actually finish and accomplish.

I’m condensing my (lofty) idea of a series into one novel. A novel about six different young people living in the same Nation at the same time, experiencing life through the lens of their own culture, settlement, family, and personality. Then, something happens (an idea that I will forever owe credit to Kristin Buhr for) that somehow brings them all together, into each other’s worlds. I’m really pumped about it and feeling optimistic. I also am loving that this idea means I’ve basically already written Grayson’s part of the novel, which only leaves five characters’ worlds to explore and describe and live in. I’ve mapped it all out in a nice little chart and I’ve already started crossing things off as completed. I’m sharing this with you because I need accountability. I really need accountability.

I also need a deadline. I’m aiming high and shooting for August 2015. I’m going to continue writing hard during this month, aiming for that 50,000 word mark, knowing that this book will most likely require more. I’m going to send stuff as I write it to friends to check for continuity and general “makes sense” and then will send the finished first draft off to them and more for checking. I’ll read it over, work on it, and hopefully not have to write many more drafts. I’m feeling good guys, and by combining projects, I’m finally back on word count track. Yeah, I kinda cheated, but it still feels good.

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6 thoughts on “Here’s the thing about NaNoWriMo: An Update

  1. You really do just have to figure out what works for you, and it sounds like you have! An exciting project–I can’t wait to hear more about how it all comes together!

    1. I’m really excited about it! Which is good, because for a while it was feeling so stale. It could also be the beautiful mountain air filling me up with joy and optimism and beauty.

  2. What program do you use to write in? I’m about to have a lot more free time and finally want to get started on some of my own writing ideas, but want something better than Word or a standard word processor. Thoughts?

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