How’s the writing going?

I’m so glad you asked!  I have so much to tell you.  On November 1st an email arrived in my box from Nanowrimo.  I was first introduced to Nanowrimo in July when I joined Campnanowrimo.  The goal in July was to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  I wrote 5,000 that month.   Feeling a bit discouraged, I thought I would finish it on my own – the next month I wrote another 5,000.  Then life hit and I set it aside.

So, when the email arrived from Nanowrimo I wondered if I could finish my rough draft in the month of November.  On a whim I signed up.  I needed to write 1667 words a day to finish on time.  I wrote on day 1 and day 2.  On day 11 I realized I hadn’t written in over a week.

Feeling like somewhat of a failure, again, I wasn’t sure what to do.  I kept making goals and not hitting them.  Poking around on the NaNoWriMo website I came across this pep talk Pep Talk from Stephanie Perkins. Her simple but profound words changed me.

Novels aren’t written by muses who come down through the ceiling and shoot magic through your fingers and out onto your laptop’s keyboard. Before NaNoWriMo, some teensy part of me still believed that because writing is a creative act, it should feel easy. But fairies don’t write novels. They’re written with one simple equation:

Time + Work = Novel

I hadn’t had much success before NaNoWriMo, because I hadn’t been putting in enough time or work.

The light bulb clicked and I realized wishing, wanting and dreaming would never get my book written.  To write I had to show up and do it.  I let a few house cleaning balls drop to the floor, got off Facebook and in one day typed 5000 words.  Then the motivation kicked in and I did another 5000 words the next day.  Soon I was caught up and on schedule to finish November 30th.

And somewhere between the first 5 thousand and the last 5 thousand something magical happened.  The story went from being absolutely positively terrible to not quite so awful.  The first 20 pages of writing felt like an act of torture.  Each new scene in my fictional story sounded like a real life experience with the names changed.  One afternoon sitting in Macaroni Grill, I shared with my husband that I was going to finish this just for the experience I’d get by doing it, but I’d read enough in my life to know it was awful.

Then, literally that evening, when I was doing a #nanowrimosprint on twitter, the characters started taking over the keyboard and I watched as the story began to unfold on computer screen.  It felt like I was reading a book and as my eyes read the page the words magically appeared where the story was blank minutes before.  Each character has so much to say and when I sit down to write I have no idea what they would do or where the story would take me.

I surprised myself when I finished my first rough draft of my 50,000 word Novel two days early on November 28th.  Print

One take away from the process is that all those failed goals were part of the process.  If I hadn’t tried in July, if I hadn’t tried November 1st – I wouldn’t have finished.  Goals – even goals not reached put us one step closer to the end, and that makes them good.

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