Last week, there were days that I just sat in front of my computer willing the words (any words) to appear on the screen. I tried squeezing coherence from my brain, pressing letterized thought through my fingertips and… I was choking on mid-story sag.
During those times, I felt like the kid who can’t leave the table until they eat their peas. Go sit at your desk and when you get 1,666 words, you can come out and socialize. Some days the whole experience took hours. Mind you, I have a day job, I have responsibilities. Some people in my house wanted to eat. (Not now! I’m NaNo-ing!)
Writing can be hard. Your little editor might be screaming about how worthless the story is, or you don’t feel anything in the direction you’ve chosen to go. In those moments, I usually back up to where I felt passionate and look for other possible directions.
I wanted to crank out two thousand words a day for several personal reasons, to be finished early (someone has to cook Thanksgiving dinner!) and because giving myself an insane cushion of time (working 4 days ahead of schedule) I start to believe I can actually finish this thing. Not just finish, I can WIN.
In my NaNoWriMo project, I’m pulling from a lifetime of experiences, what I’ve heard and read and been told from many other individuals. It gets a little dicey.
But, the NaNoWriMo first draft doesn’t have to be perfect—it’s a first draft. I could excise huge sections of this after I hit my 50k. So why do I balk? Even though running days ahead of schedule –and it’s a comfy little cushion– I can almost hear the barking dogs of failure coming for my heels. I must press on!
Maybe you need to crank out 1900 more words today. Where will they come from? Maybe you’ll grab some mood music. Something a little dreamy, a little tech-y and a little cutting edge. (Maybe a prompt book…)
My character grapples with standing on her own, walking away from a toxic relationship and a destructive past and still looks uncertainly over her shoulder—would the relationship ever recover?
Finally, after consistently showing up to the page, the muse relents.
I finally have a first draft.
I have the voice of the story.
The bones reveal themselves! It’s not pretty, but it’s done.
I’ve reached just over 50 thousand words, which means I get to have Thanksgiving with my family. I get a few days to breathe before the next challenge. I have another book in my folder.
I love NaNoWriMo.