The Aftermath

Day 13 was the last day I posted an update to this blog as it was also the last day I actually did anything with NaNoWriMo.

I have a lot of regret that I didn’t meet my goal, but I learned quite a bit along the way as well. I’m hoping that these lessons may help me next year and help others when November comes around again.

  • Life Preparation: It’s really easy to pick up a pad of paper or open an editor on November 1st and think “I’ve got this!”. The problem is that you have a month to write 50,000 words and you have to come up with a game plan before November 1st. You have to do everything you can to make sure your schedule is clear and that others who depend on you are aware of your limited availability. You need to put a structure in place, because things get hectic without one.
  • Story PreparationThis is the one thing I actually did, but I didn’t do it enough. The idea is to write the novel in a month, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start doing some outlines and coming up with ideas before November. I had come up with ideas, but I also put off a lot of brainstorming and research until the contest kicked off. My story required a great deal of research to make it more factual and entertaining, which chewed up a lot of my writing time. It’s also hard to write after you’ve spent several hours reading research material.
  • Flexible Goals: This could go with the first bullet, but the idea is to set smaller goals. I did this to a degree, using the suggested 1,667 words per day. The problem this made is that any idea where I didn’t meet my daily goal, I felt depressed and inadequate. Yes, that’s my own mental issues playing a role in my failure, but it made me feel like I had lost the contest on the first day I didn’t do what I had expected to do. Next year, I will outline word goals for specific days of the month. I will keep the 1,667 as something I’d like to reach, but my bigger target will be the larger number at the end of each week.
  • Mental Road Blocks: This isn’t a lesson that I’ve learned as much as it’s something I’m now painfully aware of. I’ve yet to figure out how to solve this problem, but I’m more aware of it now than before. My self-esteem and self-doubt played a huge role in my failure this month. I just didn’t “feel” like writing sometimes, and each time I drilled down to find that I didn’t feel like it would’ve made any difference. I do suffer from depression, though I don’t show it much in person. It’s there though and it seems to lash out from the depths I keep it and sabotage my goals. I plan on enlisting some professional help to deal with it, so maybe that will be the solution.

All in all, what I do have is a partially-written story. I might make it available under license for everyone to read, but not yet. The failure of this year’s NaNoWriMo is affecting me, and it’s still too soon to allow for criticism.

Thanks again for all the support, and I hope to see everyone back here in November 2013.

Day 13: 1,420 words

Nov 13 - 16,001 words

Nov 13 – 16,001 words

I may have missed my target count today, but I think it’s rather awesome that I’ve reached 16,001 words overall. I have plenty of time to catch up, so I’m not overly worried about the lagging word count. I did have the most fun yet in writing a particular scene, which is always exciting. You know, when you get to that point where your imagination is flowing directly to your fingers and out into a document. Where you’re feeling and experiencing exactly what your character is as it’s happening. That’s the sort of magic that I love about writing.

The hard truth is I really am behind. I will be 7,337 words behind as of tomorrow. With the holidays coming, I was hoping to be at a bit of a surplus of words than a deficit. I still have the rest of this week and the coming weekend to make things right and to get on top though, so that’s where my mind is focused!

I’m off for some much needed sleep though. Sorry if this post is hard to follow… lack of sleep does that to ya.

Day 12, Part 2: 1,832 words

I clearly had way too much fun writing since I made my original post for Day 12. Technically, this is Day 13 but seeing as I haven’t been to sleep yet I’m going to call it a victory for Day 12. 1,832 words of plot-thickening goodness! Sadly, I have to leave this part of the story behind shortly and get back to the main characters, but I’ve had so much fun setting up all of the deceit and deception going on behind the scenes that I hope I can make a story out of just that in the future!

I did find one challenge I hadn’t expected: When describing non-human creatures, how okay is it to use human parallels? For instance, I don’t think demons would have blood like a human does… however I wanted them to “bleed”. I did take the time to make sure the reader knew it was a parallel though, but was that going too far? We’ll see I guess.

Time for bed though… Good night, everyone!

Day 12: Sick!

I’m just getting to writing now, so the words will count for tomorrow instead of today. That said, I finally got hit with the cold that’s been going around the house. For me, a large man with sleep apnea, that means sleep isn’t easy. Lack of sleep tends to stifle creativity. On the other hand, I did some research and I think I know how to make my CPAP machine work in my favor tonight. :)

I also had a nice long talk with a new and good friend about self-doubt. That’s really what I’ve been battling for the last several days, and it’s been winning as my word counts have shown. To my amazement, I found out that he suffers from it as well. He also pointed out that it’s likely from fear, and if I care so much about this project to be afraid of failing, then it’s obviously important enough to me to keep going at it! I never thought of it that way, and I certainly will from now on. I need to turn this into motivation, just as much as I need to focus less on how many words I’m writing and more on the quality of the story. On November 30th, I want something I’m proud, not just a fancy badge for a blog that says “Winner”. Though, winning NaNoWriMo would be awesome too, obviously. :)

I also did some soul searching myself, and I realized that all this self-doubt is rather silly. No, I’m not a skilled writer. I’ve never written anything longer than an article or a short story, so I can’t really claim that I’m the best novel writer around. Of course there will be mistakes, but that’s what this is all about. I have to start somewhere, and the very fact that I can come up with enough of a story to keep writing tells me that I have enough talent to pull this off. Every time I go back to my Google Docs to pick up where I left off, another facet of the story emerges. Every time I think about it, I find something new I can add that brings other elements closer together and makes everything feel more complete. That should tell me something, right?

So back to the docs for me! The way I see it, I have a few hours to write before I should get some sleep. :)

Day 11: 2,321

Nov 11 - 12,749 words

Nov 11 – 12,749 words

The missing posts tell a story of someone who lost his will to write. I’m not sure what else to call it, only that it is a self-defeating thing that I have to work so very hard to overcome. I’m not one to hear voices in my head, but I can tell you what they would say if the feeling were to speak: “Give up, this is pointless.” “You’re not a real author.” “What are you really trying to prove?” “You’re just wasting your time.”

I’m not out of the woods yet, but I did start writing again today. I feel better for it, but I know I have a lot of catching up to do. As of tomorrow, I’ll need 7,255 words to bring me current with the daily goal. That’s not impossible, but I know I can’t push myself to do all that in one day. Instead I’m adjusting my daily goal to compensate for what I have to make up. I just hope I can continue to write, or else I’ve lost this already.

The story itself has morphed into something larger than I thought it would be. I had some issues describing certain points, so I had to create a fair amount of back story and future plot in order to make things right. The result is that I have a lot more material to work with, but I fear my writing might be hard to read and follow.

Anyway, that’s all for now.

Day 8: Holding Pattern

When I write, I find myself in my own little world sometimes and today that world was overwhelmed by stress from outside it.

To cut to the chase, I had to take pets down and sign them over as we are unable to keep them anymore. I won’t go into details, but it hit me rather hard. On top of that, the stress level around here has been on the rise with no relief in sight. Sprinkle a crazy day at work on top of all that, and my mind is pretty blown right now.

I hope to get back into things tomorrow as I don’t want to fall too far behind.

Day 7: 1,760 words, breaking the 10k mark

Nov 7 - 10,428 Words

Nov 7 – 10,428 Words

First of all, I want to thank everyone who has been reading this blog. I am up to twenty likes, which is amazing since I’ve not done much to advertise this. I plan on making time to check all of your blogs as well, though you can forgive me if I’m a little distracted, right? :)

Today I did 1,760 words in just over an hour. I didn’t even know I could write that fast, but I realized it wasn’t really writing that I was doing. I was simply transcribing a story from one media to another tonight as the characters played on in my mind. Why did I stop if I was on such a good roll? The story stopped, for now. My day job has me driving and spending a lot of time thinking, so tomorrow I plan on using that time to consider where to take things now. I still have the general arc in my mind, and I can always short-cut my way past this part of the story and jump right into the fast-paced climax and ending, but I’d rather not.

I’m still 1,241 words behind from my weekend of not writing, but that isn’t eroding at my enthusiasm, not when I realize that I am now at 10,428 words. That’s right! I’ve officially finished a fifth of NaNoWriMo! I also find myself telling everyone about what I’m doing, with the feedback being generally mixed. Most give support and think that what I’m doing is awesome. They wish me luck and leave it at that. Others seem to not care, which is fine too. I still care, which is all that really matters, right?

I don’t know if I mentioned this earlier, but I did make up my mind about sharing what I’ve written so far. I’ve decided to not share it as the nature of NaNoWriMo isn’t perfection and I really want to be able to review everything at the end and edit it appropriately. Releasing it now would ruin the story, since some bits are incomplete and others are out of order. I will say that I don’t plan on giving up, not after coming this far. :)