One week of NaNoWriMo is over already! I’ve been disciplining myself to write every day, and as of yesterday, I am entirely caught up with the recommended word count in order to win NaNo, which if you don’t remember, is achieving 50,000 words.
I tipped over 11,000 words yesterday and these are some of the things I’ve been working on.
I’ve heavily edited the first 4 pages of my Tamerna novel and those pages are far and away better than the first draft. People might actually want to read it now! I’ve lightly made edits through page 26 or so, but as I learn more about writing from listening to a writing podcast, I find myself drifting back to the earlier pages to edit more.
This is an area I need to be more disciplined to move forward instead of editing the same pages over and over again. When I talk about my editing process, I mention that I edit in stages, so I need to stay faithful to that process. It’s easy to want to implement everything I learn right away, but if I only work on the first 10 pages, the other 200 pages will still be terrible!
I’ve added a few hundred words to the novel, over 800 actually, in my editing, so I’m happy about that progress. The downside to trying to edit for NaNo is that the word counting in editing is painfully slow. At only 800 words, I’d only be half a day in, so I necessarily need to do other things in order to build the word count.
In my word counting, I have a category that is simply labeled Other and my world building and other non-novel and non-blog related writing there. I probably should have broken that up into World Building and other, but I didn’t. As it is, I have a number of columns that I’m tracking word count because tracking progress on spreadsheets is a delightful thing for me.
That said, some things I’ve been working on for my world building includes starting an encyclopedia of flora and fauna in this world. I’ve got six or seven pages dedicated to describing plants and animals so that I can reference them later and know what in the world I was talking about. I tried to leave myself (and the reader) some clues in the text, but I’m not certain that it’s obvious, so I will need to do some considering regarding how I’ll help the reader to understand the animals.
I’m also part of a NaNo support group and everyday, another writing prompt is introduced to help us with world building and inspiration for getting words onto the page.
Yesterday, we were asked about religions and gods on our world. I’m sure it’s no secret to you that I’m a Christian and that it’s an important part of my life, so when I sit down to world build religions, I struggle with anything that isn’t either explicitly or metaphorically Christian. I know my world is fake and that nothing is real, but it’s still a mental block I have.
One of my writer friends gave me some brilliant insight which jump started my religious world building. I started with the actual story of how the world came to be and as I wrote and processed through, this world wouldn’t be that unlike our world – that as time goes further and further away from the actual beginning, different stories and legends of the world and how it began would start popping up in different races and areas. Just because they aren’t true to the actual events doesn’t negate the truth. I’ve only manage to worldbuild religion for one of my races, the Veru (of which Tamerna is one), but I have some ideas for the other two races that currently exist. There will be other races introduced at some point, but I don’t know what they are or what they will look like. For now, I will continue to world build with what I have.
I’ve been working on other short stories and poems as well. Last Friday’s story was one of them and I have a fun poem that I’ll be sharing this Friday that I wrote in response to a prompt in my writing group. The prompt is to write a poem with the theme “Lost at Sea”. If you have something you want to write, I’d love to see it!
When I visited Willow Creek Church in Chicago, which is a mega church that believes in using the arts to bring glory to God, a poetic rendition of Luke (This is Jesus) was shared and it moved me. I was breathless by the end, it was so good. I also know another power poet in my writing group and between these two individuals, I’ve been inspired to try my own hand at power poetry. I don’t know if that’s actually a thing, but that’s what I call it.
I’ve been trying to get back into journaling and reading my Bible, so I’m combining the two. I’ll read a chapter or two and then journal about it, how I want to apply it to my life or major themes.
I wrote a poem about Isaiah 6:8, which is still much too rough to share, but I will get that edited and shared on here in the next few weeks. I also wanted to write another about Ezekiel 2-3. Did you know that Ezekiel 2 is 8 or 9 verses long and it uses the word rebel or rebellious SEVEN times in those verses?? I’ve been told that repetition in the Bible is an important thing to pay attention to, so that kind of repetition is definitely something to pay attention to.
I’ve been getting more out of my reading now that I’m doing this extra journaling and, as a bonus, I’m getting more words.
Honestly, while NaNo talks mostly about Your Novel, the real goal is to develop discipline to write daily. Participating in NaNo last year changed my approach to writing. I learned to just write, to keep going, to push through, to get even the bad ideas down, to get to the end of the novel. That lesson has helped me ever since to just push through and finish – whether it’s a novel, a poem, a short story, or a blog post – I push through to the end. I can fix anything with editing, but stalling writing to edit only gives me a well-written unfinished draft.
I’ll give you some new updates on my NaNo progress next week. I’m hoping to have some more worldbuilding completed and to be further than page 26 in my editing! Hopefully some extra poetry as well. In other words, I just want a lot more words in my future!