This year I had a plan, I had character profiles and a chapter outline. And I found myself floundering after day six. Floundering so much that I find myself on day 12 having not written anything in days.
I have failed.
But I stopped writing because I wasn't feeling what I was writing. I would re-read some of my handwritten notes for the now RIP WIP (thank you blasted laptop from hell) and knew that it was good. Not Melina Marchetta or Cath Crowley "good" but it definitely kicked my NaNo piece's arse.
Truth be told, NaNo was a chore. There was no conviction in what I was writing. I am under no misplaced belief that what I write is publishable but I have always had a sense of freedom when hearing the scratch of pencil on paper or the clicking of my fingers on the keyboard. Words would fly by if I were in the moment. A conversation of sharp dialogue would be done before I realised. But I wasn't "in" it this month. So I stopped. Writing is about having fun for me and I wasn't having any. Hence the lack of content on the website. I needed a break. A break from writing and reading. I just needed to think, sleep, read good fan fiction, eat carbohydrates and be.
I've also decided that I am going to start rewriting my deceased WIP. I was passionately into that idea and I keep thinking about it. I just needed to commit to the idea, not NaNo. I was actively grieving it while writing NaNo, almost like dating someone else while still feeling the loss of a lover. Sounds weird I know. I knew I wasn't ready but I charged ahead anyway and felt the repercussions :(
Please don't feel this is a reflection on NaNo. This is a reflection of where my head is at. I started NaNo and three days in realised the book I was writing wasn't the one I planned. And I liked it more than what I planned.
Then I started writing what I planned. And it wasn't fun.
Apparently being a pantser is how I stay involved, engaged and inspired. All my efforts to be more deliberate in my storytelling robbed me of flow.
So NaNo might be over for me this year but it wasn't an empty experience. I learnt a few things:
- planning isn't something that helps me write authentically (at this point in time)
- return to father/daughter WIP asap
- the aborted 3 day novel is something I need to return to
- my planned idea has a great concept but was fundamentally empty in heart.
- if I am in a stressful environment I have no access to my creativity (what little there is)
- (also....I am becoming more and more mystified by the six months (3 years ago) in which I was writing 4k daily on my FNL fanfic....all crap but still mind blowing considering my schedule at the time. And no, I am not telling you the name of one of the many Tulie stories I wrote or where they are posted!)
I've read a few articles that dump on NaNo this past week or so and I feel that it is largely unwarranted. Sure there are people that get off on bragging about their mammoth word counts and a small percentage that feel the product is publisher ready but that's not looking at the wider scope of things. NaNo's about challenging yourself, learning about your creativity, speaking to like minded people and crafting something, anything or nothing.
While I feel a little disappointed in the result of my second NaNo, I am appreciative that it assisted me in muddling through some things. And what better way to do that than on a page - whether it be notebook or web - each word tugs us closer to a better understanding of ourselves, each other and the world around us. (And a larger word count!)