NaNo Week 3

Whew! Another late update, but at least it’s only Friday. Ha!

I started this on Wednesday, but clearly never finished. That’s how NaNo goes sometimes.

I’m now just over 35k, which means I have just UNDER 15k to go to win and the days just keep screaming by.

Over this past week, I’ve managed to add two more stories to my children’s story series thing – I’m not really sure what to call it. Those two alone garnered me over 5,000 words, which is always fun. I think that’s probably my favorite thing about working on this children’s story during NaNo – each story ends up around 2,500 words – awesome for word counting.

I’ve also been working on Tamerna again, too. I felt stuck once again, so I switched POVs and had some interesting things happen, of course none of which I actually expected. So now I have to try to tie in this new development to the direction the story needs to take. I don’t want things to be happening just for the sake of happening, but I know that when things move along too easily for too long, that’s not a good thing, so wrenches have to happen.

I think the hardest part of working on this novel is not really knowing the direction I’m going. It’s one of those things that makes me question my pantsing stance. Perhaps it would be easier to write if I knew roughly where I wanted to go?

Of course, every time I try to plan ahead and plot it out, the story takes it own turn anyway.

I think that it just reinforces the point that writing is difficult. It’s hard to sit down and keep a story going forward. It’s EASY to quit, to give up, to say it’s not going to happen. The great thing about something like NaNo is that the drive to hit the 50k forces a writer to keep going anyway. As much as I’d love to just stick this book in a drawer for a while and see what percolates, I can’t do it. I just have to push through, write a BUNCH of crap that I may end up tossing in order to pull the story forward.

Sometimes the stories flow and sometimes the writing is easy, but there are other times it’s really hard and I feel stuck and I don’t know how things are going move and work together. I just have to keep going, though. I have to keep exploring, to keep moving forward, developing my characters and my world.

NaNo is hard. It really is.

I think it’s good to do hard stuff, though.

It’s good to try to push ourselves beyond what we think we can do. Sometimes. Not all the time, of course. Sometimes we need to sit in easy or relaxed. But sometimes we need to challenge ourselves to go beyond what we think or believe we can do. If we can learn from it, it’s worth the hard times. It’s worth the push. It’s worth the annoyance. It’s worth all of it.

I’m always a better writer after NaNo because of having to push through the hard times and force myself to write even if it feels like nothing is there.

So, week 3 – yeah. I’m caught up. I’m just above par. But I’m feeling really good about it. After 3 NaNo years, I’m finally figuring out how to balance life with a bigger push in writing. I’m not hiding away for hours at a time at the end of the month trying to push through to make it. I’m also not taking hours a day to get in my word counts. On a fairly regular basis, I’m finding that I can churn out 2600 words an hour (when things aren’t stuck in slog mode). That means I can write 1k OVER the daily suggested NaNo amount in JUST an hour.

That revelation is HUGE for me. So, even if I can only dedicate one hour a day to writing, that’s north of 15k words a WEEK – that’s an INCREDIBLE amount of content in a very short time span. So, really, after this year’s NaNo, I think I’m going to have to adjust my thinking to look for just one hour I can use to write. To write anything at all. Putting out that many words would push forward all my writing projects at an incredible pace and maybe, just maybe, I could find an agent/publisher within just a year or two instead of five (of course, writing has to be placed on hold while editing and editing placed on hold while writing – I still have a busy life outside this). Even so, this level of productivity is far beyond what I’ve EVER been able to produce and it’s a really cool thing. It’s concrete evidence that I CAN pursue writing along with the other things I’m trying to do.

I like to listen to leadership podcasts and one I’ve been listening to a lot this week is Lead to Win. I’m way behind, but one of the episodes I listened to this week talked about Defining the Win in different spheres of life.

I need to be able to define the win around my kids and family, define the win with writing or running, and other areas. So if I can figure out what winning looks like, I can actually really move forward with my goals and schedule things in a way that is compatible with my life. If I can get all the important stuff in during the week, the rest doesn’t matter.

So, I still have some work to do to figure out these wins and what’s important to me, but I think that, at least for writing, just moving forward and getting SOMETHING done isn’t quite enough. It doesn’t give enough direction to push me to work. NaNo? I get a defined direction and push through this month to work toward, so now I need to figure out how to harness all of this creative energy and potential and lead myself to accomplishing the goals I want to accomplish.

So, anyway, that’s my LENGTHY week 3 update. I didn’t mean for it to get so long, but I guess I was feeling a bit philosophical. Sometimes we just have to go where the words take us.

If you live in America, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving yesterday. If not, I hope you had a great Thursday. Christmas is around the corner and writing isn’t my only creative pursuit. If you need some gifts for those around you, maybe you’ll check out a few things I’ve crafted and see if any of them are your thing. No pressure. I just wanted to share it.