Last Week of NaNoWriMo

Y’all.

It’s the last week of NaNoWriMo and I’ve decided that I’m going to finish on Wednesday. I’m going to enjoy this long Thanksgiving weekend. Because, damn it, I’ve earned it.

On Saturday, I was almost in tears because I was not sure how I was still going to win this thing.

See, it was going fine the first two weeks. I’d missed three days because: life, but I quickly got back on track. I was even writing extra words each day so I could take Thanksgiving Eve and Thanksgiving off. All was right with the world.

Then the third week dawned. Oh Jesus.

Hubby brought home the junkyard dog of colds. Mean, vicious little bugger. Now, my husband barely ever gets sick. If he does, it’s usually something that slows him down for about 24hrs and after that he’s back to normal. This time? He spent two days shivering in the bed. He was better by the third day, but by then the kids and I caught it.

The good news is that it mostly passed by Sunday. The bad news is I didn’t write at all that week. All those extra words didn’t save me. I almost 20 000 words away. And Thanksgiving week was coming up. I hadn’t shopped for Thanksgiving dinner, planned the menu, washed our plague clothes, nothing.

I rationalized. I had a rough month and it was okay if I didn’t ‘win’ NaNo. That I wasn’t any less of a writer if I didn’t finish. That I could still write this novel because outside of November, that’s what other writer’s do. Shoot, Stephen King didn’t have NaNoWriMo when he was writing ‘Carrie’.

And you know what? All those things are true. But not finishing still didn’t sit well with me. Hubby did some calculations and said I could finish if I wrote about 2250 words a day. That was more than doable, with some sacrifices.

The truth though? I was tired. I wanted to be finished. Right now. I had (and still have) things to do. Food to buy and cook. A home to clean. I wanted to enjoy Thanksgiving with my family and not have to worry about getting my daily word count in.

But I didn’t want to quit. Can’t have it both ways.

So I challenged myself. If I started on Sunday, I could write 5000 words a day for 3 days and just under 3000 for the fourth day. Then I would be able to cook (because Hubby offered to do that last minute shopping and help me clean. Seriously. I love this dude.) and relax.

And I’m doing it. The past two days have been super hectic but I’ve written over 10, 000 words. It’s involved some early mornings and very little down time. But I haven’t quit.

Just two more days and I’m done. *does happy dance*

 

SAD and Writing

I’ve always struggled with depression. Some years are better than others. But when fall/winter rolls around, it gets especially bad.

I have Seasonal Affective Disorder. In a nutshell, that means I get really depressed during the colder months. Probably from the lack of sunlight and activity. I also grew up in a tropical climate, so that probably makes it worse.

This year, it got cold a lot quicker than it usual does. Where I now live, the cold snaps usually come after Thanksgiving, but for most of the month, it’s consistently been 40 degrees and below. So, I’ve started feeling the effects of SAD earlier.

I gave birth less than a year ago, and that, combined with nursing and the residual effects of Post Partum Depression, means my hormones are all over the place. When I down, I get really down and its hard to see a way out of the clouds. It’s the perfect storm of depression.

I have a family and a household to look after, so I try whatever I can to keep the depression at bay. It’s hard. Extremely hard. Some days, it’s a literal struggle to get out of bed. And once I get out of bed, it’s a struggle to resist the urge to climb back in.

How does this relate to writing? Well, for one, doing NaNoWriMo is one of the few things keeping me above water. When I get motivated to push past the depression to write, I get motivated to do other things throughout the day.

I’ve wanted to give up so many times. I still do, actually. The First Draft Blues are alive and well over here. Every day, I have to talk myself out it. I tell myself that yes, I do have something powerful to say with this book, and yes, these characters deserve to have their stories told. But really, the reason I keep writing is because I’m scared of what will happen if I stop. It’s hard to push through, but I’m afraid that if I stop, I’ll fall even deeper into depression because, in my mind, I would have failed.

There wasn’t really much point to this post. I just wanted to put that put there. Thanks for listening, loves.

NaNoWriMo Revelation

So, it’s Day 12 of NaNoWriMo. We’re almost half way through. Right now, I’m about 20,000 words in and I’m going to type more tonight. After I bake a cake.

And I realized something. As I churned those words out every night (well, I missed two days last week), something dawned on me with a vivid, piss yellow light.

I suck. Big time.

It is hypnotizing how awful these sentences are. I stare at those words and think ‘Wow. I created that.’ But instead of the snuggly pride that one feels when they look at their newborn baby, I felt vaguely nauseated.

Holy Hell.

It’s painful. I look at the words on my screen and I’m like ‘Sweet Baby Jesus in a Manger, could this be any worse?’ and then I go and defy my own expectations.

But that’s not the end.

I’ve been tempted to curl up in a fetal ball and drown in my salty tears, but that would accomplish nothing.

Just because I suck now doesn’t mean I’ll always suck.

And that’s the beautiful things about writing.

You can get better.

Me, I need to keep practicing. I need to keep writing. I need to exercise these lazy writer muscles, work them until they’re used to the effort.

And I need to read more. By beholding, you become changed. I don’t have the time really, but I’m going to have to squeeze the pulpy lemon that’s my day and keep squeezing until more juicy time comes out.

It’s not fun admitting that I’m awful at something I’ve defined myself by for over fifteen years now.

But one good thing about sucking so badly? It can only get better, right?

When Your Characters Speak to You

I swear, I’m not crazy.

But my characters speak to me. This is usually a good thing, because you want to know your character’s story and they’re the best source for information. You want to know how they view themselves, how they got to where they are and where they’re trying to go.

But sometimes it can be troublesome.

For my current WIP, I decided months ago that I was going to have one narrator. I outlined, planned the necessary scenes (because I’m too old to be a pantser–I forget stuff), researched and thought I was good to go for NaNo.

Then, I kid you not, as I tried to get to sleep on October 31st/November 1, another character started speaking to me.

So now, I have two narrators. Just like that.

This new narrator is a wild card. They were going to be introduced much later on down the line, and even then, I was still debating if they needed their own POV. So, they’re not nearly as fleshed out as my original narrator.

But this narrator has an extremely strong voice. Stronger than my first narrator. I couldn’t resist listening even if I wanted to. And I didn’t.

So now, on the one hand, I’m slightly stressed. I don’t know what’s going to happen with my new narrator this early in the story. I had some back story, but it wasn’t fully fleshed out.

It’s kind of like groping around a familiar room in the dark. I have a good idea of where everything is, but I can’t see details.

On the other hand, I’m so intrigued. My stomach is fluttering and that lets me know I’ve hit on something good. Funny enough, my story has more direction now, and I’ve been able to figure some things plot wise that were bugging me.

So, it’s more work. I also have to do some research I didn’t anticipate starting for several months. Yay.

However, I think I’m up to it. When I get the kiddos down for their nap (ha ha!), I’m going to start brainstorming some scenes for this new narrator.

It’s more work, but it’s not a waste of time. And I can say this is a good development.

Thanks for listening, loves. Until next time.