NaNoWriMo Day 15: Doubt

I don’t know how I did this last year. And I’m beginning to understand why people look at me funny when I explain that I am writing 50,000 words in 21 days. This is a crazy undertaking.

I mean, here I am, writing at 7am on a Sunday. My wife sleeps peacefully beside me, and I struggle here, laptop in lap, pillows propped behind me, a wall of notes and index cards spread out next to the bed.

With novel #1, I had a whole series of vignettes planned out. I had written them and rewritten them a thousand times in my mind before I ever thought to combine them into a novel.

This time, I had a plot and some characters. But I had no idea how I was going to get them from plot point A to B and finally to Z. I still have no idea. And I’m halfway done.

I shudder at the thought of revising the meandering prose I’ve been writing this month. I doubt there will be any sense of order and expect much chaos.

But I’m going to just keep writing.

New Cut and Color, San Francisco, November 2009

    • Eric
    • November 15th, 2009

    Welcome to the joys of NaNoWriMo. 🙂 I think the name misleads us, that we’re writing a novel. If that were the case, it would be way too easy. The idea that someone can sit down in 30 days (or 21) and just write a novel that they send of to the publisher is a bit ludicrous.

    We’re writing first drafts. First drafts are horrible for the most part. And even then, they are not easy. What we are doing is not easy and it’s not supposed to be. If this was easy, there wouldn’t be any point in setting aside a month to write fifty thousand words.

    We’re the elite. What we are talking about most people can’t even comprehend. Having doubts about our writing is not a bad thing, it’s a sign that we understand the monumental undertaking we’ve started.

    I think the key thing is to remember this is the first draft, the rough draft. Editors shouldn’t be involved with this draft at all – especially when the editor is the same person as the writer. If we’re worrying about the end product now, we can’t explore the story fully because we’ll become afraid that we’re going in the wrong direction. But what if we are going in the wrong direction? That’s the beauty of the process and doing subsequent drafts. I think that knowing what doesn’t work in a story is as important as knowing what does work and if sometime we have to write out 20,000 words that don’t work, that’s just a bigger area that we know to stay away from as we work toward the final draft, toward the novel.

    • iamMOON
    • November 16th, 2009

    There is wisdom in your words Kristy, wisdom in you struggle, a lesion in this for us all, especially those of us in crazy hurry. I appreciate you lending your self to this task because I feel like you understand me. As a writer I would want an editor who understands the agony of this brutal process. Who has had some experience to know how to guide me with my projects because of there own battle wounds. I don’t care how it turns out. It the journey that has its most value to a person like me, and how you’re sharing your steps with me in this personal way. I’m walking with you girl holding your hand! You’ve made me a believer! I am normal after all!

    • Kat
    • November 16th, 2009

    You are surviving this journey admirably my friend. And you are half way there already!

  1. Eric, you are so right, and that is a fabulous pep talk. Have you thought about writing them for your region or something? You probably already do.

    Moon, thanks so much for your kind words and for walking with me!

    Kat, thanks for pointing out that I am halfway! I am huh? Yay!

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