* Week Two, The Grind *
So we’re two weeks into the National Novel Writing Month, halfway there, and “everyone” said that this would probably be the hardest week. The shine and enthusiasm of beginning would have worn off, the flush of excitement at tackling a dream would have given way to the grind of not stopping. “Don’t worry!” they say, “You’ll hit your groove! Just Keep Going!”
For me, they were partially right. I did indeed lose the sheer joy of realizing that I was actually writing, but I didn’t lose my momentum. As of Sunday, November 15, I was at 36,325 words, well beyond the 25,000 halfway mark. And even though I scaled back over the weekend, I didn’t stop writing, not out of sense of obligation, but because I didn’t want to.
However, last week I did have moments where I lost faith.
Last Monday, I shared that one of the best things I’ve discovered during NaNoWriMo was how much I wanted to write the first stab at this story for myself. Giving myself permission to write a very rambling, indulgent first draft felt danged good. And I remain enamored of that, and would urge anyone who’s wanted to write something solely for themselves to go for it.
But last week, my resolve began to falter. I found I was getting so lost in expressing everything that came to mind that I was boring even myself. The story was still there, but it was losing momentum to all the detail and back story and environment that I was spending time on rather than just telling the dang tale. So I had to rein myself in. But that set off what almost felt like panic because when I looked beyond the “I’ll just say what comes to mind” technique I had been using, I realized how thin the story really was, and how many gaping holes there were in it, how much of it could prove to be ridiculous if research (that I haven’t done yet and don’t plan to in this first sloppy draft) disproves what I’m banking on…. which were exactly the same excuses that had always stopped me in my tracks before NaNoWriMo.
But the difference this time, thanks to NaNoWriMo, is that even if it’s “gonna suck”, you don’t stop. You Just Keep Going. After all, NaNoWriMo is not about writing a good novel. It’s about writing the first draft of a novel, even if that first draft sucks big time.
So I just kept going. I moved the story forward when it felt stuck even if that felt uncomfortable. And wouldn’t you know? After a few hours of blundering around, I wandered into a scene that I had never envisioned before but felt downright wonderful. Pert near perfect. It allowed for some meandering (which I love to do), it required some backstory (which I feel I do well) but also crystallized the moment and allowed the reader to glimpse what was to come. Plus, it answered a big ambiguous question I had backed myself into, and gave me an opportunity to introduce something I wanted to work in earlier, but couldn’t figure out how.
To be honest, I didn’t even know I had this scene in me. I certainly had no clue it was there, and having it just happen like it did was magical. Hopefully, if it makes it to a final draft, it will be magical.
So Week Two? Yeah, there were a few anxious moments, for sure, but it all worked out, better than expected.
So bring on Week Three! I’m ready and rarin’ to go.