On Writing

NaNoWriMo Day 18-21 – Word Count – Who’s Counting Anyway?

So I’ve had a bit of a mind melt on my NaNoWriMo attempt.

Over the past few days, I’ve realized that putting pressure on myself to hit the 50,000 word mark at this point in my life is making me feel unhappy and exhausted, and like I’m losing focus on why I’m writing.

The first time I participated in NaNoWriMo was in 2011. I’d had my first book Laughing Through A Second Pregnancy published that year (in April) and I was fuelled by this ‘high’ to continue writing. The kids were much younger, and somehow this enabled me to write more words more consistently. I wrote with pantser abandon and I reached the 50,000 work mark – even went over.

In 2012, I tried again but did not write 50,000.

This year, I’m close to 12,000 words but I’m not doing as much writing as I’m doing editing and revising and, well – thinking and researching and figuring stuff out. This takes up a lot of time, and as much as I love the idea of writing my little heart out – and that some of it will be useable and good – I just can’t seem to do it.

I was doing very well in the first two weeks. Waking up early and writing. Or squeezing in a few hundred words after dinner. But then it wasn’t fun anymore. And I was worrying about making time to write then not writing because I was too tired.

Honestly, this getting-darker-earlier shite is messing up my mojo. I see darkness at 5:30pm and my body feels like it’s 9pm and time to get ready for bed! I don’t want to write, I want to cuddle up on the couch and read or watch a movie.

I finished reading Reality Boy by A.S.King – and it rocked my world. I needed a few days to let it go before I started reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Now all I want to do is read it…and escape.

I’ve been meeting with my editor every week for my novel. And we’re doing serious editing and talking about plot, character development, etc. So I’m doing a lot of work but it’s not showing in word count. And this has to be okay. Right now. In fact, I’m entering the 5th Annual YA Novel Discovery Contest again so mostly what I’ve been working on is a KILLER first 250 words. The deadline for this contest is the end of the month. Last year, I was chosen not as a winner but still was able to have an agent read my manuscript – and it was an incredible experience! I learned so very much – and I’d like to maybe get to share my work with another agent (or the same one!) again.

What I guess I can tell you has happened is this: my focus on quantity has shifted. I’ve accepted the fact that there’s a very high chance I WILL NOT make the 50,000 word count for NaNoWriMo this year, HOWEVER, I am still using this month to work my ass off on my novel, and using this experience to motivate me to stay connected to and keep writing.

There is still time to write. And I know I’ll write more. In the end…there will be a number and I will be happy with whatever it is.

How is your experience going?

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