Hands up who has learned this lesson the hard way?
I should have known better, especially as I lost 2000 words at the beginning of 2011’s NaNoWriMo attempt.
That obviously wasn’t enough to teach me a lesson so despite my convoluted “copy everything to everywhere” solution (which I had been far too
lazy busy to keep on top of) I managed to drop behind by two days when my WordPress host failed.
I was lucky. I had the webpage open and was able to recover the most recent chunks but by then I was so disheartened I was unable to continue with them.
I’m still on track though, having pushed through a few hard days. My poor characters have lost their shine and are starting to wonder why I’m writing about the mundane things in their lives. I’m desperate to be in the last 10k.
Keep pushing. Keep going. Not far now.
I hope she won’t mind me slightly stealing her style for the title of this post, but that’s what happens when you reach e-fame.
One if my nearest and dearest friends and author of the brilliant novella Survival of the Ginnest Aimee Horton had her blog post When I’m Tired hit the right note with Mums everywhere.
Aimee was awarded Tots100 Good reads and the Netmums blog of the week for her honest post about what annoys her (and most of the rest of us) about life when we’re living on limited sleep.
Why is this relevant?
Because we’re halfway through NaNoWriMo. The sleep deprivation is catching up with us and things are pissing us off. The characters are living and breathing. They’re haunting us. Our inner editor wants to read what we’ve written so far under the guise of celebration of the halfway point. Your partner/cat/dog is getting fed up of being ignored.
Tell the characters you need your rest or you’ll kill them off in the next chapter. That should keep them quiet. Unless they’re ragey. If they have rage, they’re likely to scream at you until morning.
Your inner editor is wrong. Do not read those words. You are halfway. You have done half the work. Now is not the time to get wrapped up in the bits you wrote at three am with your eyes shut.
There are two weeks left. Make sure your partner/cat/dog is fed and watered and has the option to sit next to you while you frantically up the word count and get those fingers tapping at those keys. Just two more weeks.
We are at the pinnacle. There’s only another 15 days of madness to go and only another 25k words.
Keel pumping the caffeine in, keep being annoyed, keep scribbling in the wee hours because we’re nearly there.
Late last night I posted about day 11. I could feel it breathing down my neck with hot, rancid breath.
I was trying to stave off the worst of its effects and clinging to the knowledge that this is entirely normal. Day 11 is a bitch. Week 2 is the hardest.
Thing is, I’m still suffering. I’ve prepared everything I need to write the next chunks but my mind is drawing blanks and my heart feels like it’s breaking because all I’ve written so far is useless, worthless rubbish.
Day 11 is a dose of negativity hanging over us like a cloud and bringing forth all of the possible paranoias about our works.
The truth about it all is that first drafts suck. All first drafts suck and day 11 is just one of the breakdowns we have on the path to the perfect novel.
I’ve done a lot of write a novel in a month challenges. By a lot, I mean six.
Six is quite a lot though.
I’ve not failed one (yet). I’ve had a baby in the middle of one. I’ve looked after small children through them all and I’ve had a relationship breakdown while writing about everything that’s wrong with social media – that’s a lot of stuff to throw at a person.
These things were not the hardest moments.
The hardest moments came as we entered day 11.
Day 11 with its doubts, day 11 with its sudden hatred of every single word penned (typed) so far, day 11 with its “You’re not even 20k in, you could start again…”
Day 11 is the most debilitating feeling, as if everything you’ve completed thus far is crap and must be deleted and forgotten, post haste.
I’m there now. I’m looking at my “novel” and hating my characters. I’m wondering how they’ve managed to get so lost, how their personalities have become warped and twisted. I’m worried that the book isn’t what I thought it would be and I’m thinking about killing them all off to introduce a much cooler superhero.
The thing is, having done so many of these things, I know this is entirely normal. I know I can ignore the nagging, pull my head out of my backside and get the fudge on with it. I know I can drive this car to the 50k finish line, even if the power steering has stopped working and the clutch has worn to nothing.
Day 11, I will beat you.
I started today 2.5k behind. I’ve lost enthusiasm for the story already and I’m beginning to doubt, genuinely, for the first time ever that this can go the mileage.
It seemed pointless.
I picked up tonight where I left off yesterday, after leaving some encouraging words in our Facebook group and wrote aimlessly.
I’ll probably cut the lot, but at least I made word count.
That’s the way to do it.
I am obsessed with using this slogan.
Anyway. Here’s what is happening, folks.
I use WordPress and write in chunks of about 500 words. WordPress will handle more but I have found the wordcount function wont work if you dump 5000 words in it. Something to be aware of.
There’s an app for Android which will save drafts locally if you’re offline so you can upload them later. Also, there’s no need to have a desktop to view the word count. Just go to the WordPress site admin on your device’s browser and the word count is there as part of the edit post screen.
To be super safe, I back my chunks up in Evernote and transfer the whole document to Google Drive once it’s done
This is how I write.
Some people need visual cues, I use auditory ones. Each song is associated to an emotion I want my characters to feel.
I’ve spent time composing a playlist. If it tears me up, or brings vivid character images, it’s in. I need to feel these things as I write them. I want the reader to want as the character does. I want them to feel the conflict in him. I want them to have that bitter sweet moment when everything is right but so very wrong.
Because life is full of those moments, isn’t it? THose moments where we are so happy, but we’re happy because someone else is sad.
For each person we love, there’s a person who loved them who couldn’t have them. For every person we kiss, there’s the person who would have killed for an accidental touch. For every special moment we have, someone somewhere has the opposite memory.
Pain and pleasure are so closely bound that we must experience both in tandem to know what each one is.
I think I’m having an emotional overload.