So, I finished NaNoWriMo yesterday. You may have heard about it. I made a post formally announcing it, put it on Twitter, and just pretty much talked about nothing else yesterday.
Did I think I was going to make it? Honestly, not really. I started to hit a wall after 45,000 words. The terrible truth of the matter was that, near 35,000, I was suffering from an extreme inferiority complex on the quality of my writing, and the worthiness of my story.
I managed to break past that, and kept going. However, I wish I could say that didn’t happen again before I was through, but that would be a lie.
So, when I hit that wall, I really thought about just giving up.
The decision to carry on was almost painful.
So, here’s what I’ve chosen for next year: To most likely skip NaNo.
Am I glad I made it? Yeah, of course. But, knowing what I know now about JUST how hard this task is, I highly doubt I’ll volunteer future participation.
There are several reasons:
The pressure was intense. Even with only needing to average 1500-1800 words a day to be right on target, or even ahead, there were just plain days when even reaching 1000 was a struggle. Despite having an outline, and knowing my characters, my setting, my backstory, and what I wanted the plot to be about, some hours I just sat and stared at the screen and went, “But is this good enough?” Turning off my inner critic and just typing what came into my head was seriously hard sometimes.
My family lost some of their understanding. This will make my family sound like jerks, and that’s not my intention. But I am surrounded by non-writers/non-artistic people, and there are times when they simply don’t care that: I’m running behind my outline/this could be a plot hole if I change my plan for this character/there’s just something missing from that scene if: the dishes need to be done, or we’re out of butter, or Muffin has to be changed, again. The last couple days especially there was some friction, and I really wanted to yell at all of them to go away. Having to deal with a family that I already knew was impatient on top of the ticking time bomb of only 30 days to complete the word count meant MAJOR stress.
Non-writing life just didn’t stop. Muffin had specialist evaluations, and there was Thanksgiving, and I was trying to keep on top of White Fang’s first marking period progress… It was a lot. Especially when some days I just couldn’t concentrate on anything other than: “This dialogue should be fleshed out more/Does that little detail require so much focus?/What does it really matter if I can’t establish what they had for dinner the night before the party?”
Several of the rules were confusing. More than once, I’d have to re-read (at least once) an instruction for the next step on the NaNo website. About day 20 days, I panicked because I read the directions on how to submit your official word count, and the actual how of that was puzzling, and caused me to double check my entire word count to that point — because of course the numbers is what matters when you solely address the idea of winning. That sort of thing just added to the pressure of an already about-to-do-me-in situation.
So, anyway, now that I’ve ranted about this experience, I’d like to address the other major part of this post. After the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about my current methods for writing and reading, blogging and social media.
I’ve decided I love Twitter. It has helped bolster my community, my exposure, and continue to define who The Invisible Moth is and what sort of presence she has in this corner of the online world. Twitter works best for me because a) I can be on it as much or as little as I want, b) it can directly connect to my blog, c) it doesn’t take a lot of time to put together a message that will reach a lot of people.
When it comes to this site, I’ve decided that trying to keep up with making a post every day is simply not realistic. But I really want to stick to the topics that I enjoy writing about most. And when I first started posting book reviews, the idea was to review books that I hadn’t seen a million other bloggers post on. After being really frustrated with either trying the hyped books and not liking them (sorry, fans), or not being able to find a lot of the current big titles in my area, I’ve decided to go back to this plan:
Being one of the few around the book-blogisphere to review underrated titles. When I first discovered book blogging was such a thing, the other thing I quickly found was that, unless the book has already sold 17 zillion copies and received 9oo awards under every category of everything, book bloggers are not reading/reviewing it. Now, this is not completely true, and I certainly don’t want anyone in the community to take offense. But it is NOT just me. Recently I’ve read a few posts about this issue.
Being a little more picky about my TBR. So I will return to scouring the library stacks for titles/authors I’ve never heard of, and making it my goal to introduce others to these possible selections.
Tying in other aspects of my life to the fiction I feel passionate about. A great example is finding realistic portrayals of autism or learning disabilities in particularly juvenile/YA fiction. Since my son received his diagnosis of PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder), I’ve become painfully aware that there’s (still) a great gap between understanding and acceptance of autism in the medical/teaching community, and the population at large. Most children’s novels that I’ve found addressing discrimination against kids with disabilities really, really fall short of the mark. I want to increase my search for those that might just nail it.
I also need to change how I’ve been writing my fantasy series. I had been plotting out Volumes 1-6 simultaneously (yeah, I know). At the time, it made sense. But now I just don’t know what I was thinking. It’s one thing to have an outline for the whole series, and a decent idea of where each volume ends and the next begins. But to be trying to write all of them at once… That just makes me go JFJVKDOPJUIBNCJN, and I will be returning to my original idea of: this is Volume 2, hello Volume 2, I am going to immerse myself in you for the next several weeks until you are completed…
And so begins the next phase in the life of The Invisible Moth. Tally ho!
(Okay, yeah, I don’t know..)