I was excited for my first ever Nanowrimo. I prepared, outlined the book a little as well as wrote a two sentence pitch and a synopsis to make sure I got my head in the game. I did this all October 27, and I was all set… and you wouldn’t know it now. I don’t know what happened. I know that I really wanted to begin on October 31, but I was sure that was against the rules, and I wanted to participate the right way, so I held back. It is like that mistake started a domino effect, because I was so ready, my head was in the zone, but I rebuffed it and since I have had a hard time trying to get it back.
The first three days of November I didn’t write a damn thing – at least in regards to my novel. Then on the fourth day I wrote a whopping 3557 words. Sure I was still behind, but I knew if I kept on top of it, and just one more breakthrough day I would be on track. And the next day I wrote nothing. The sixth day I wrote, but less than the daily goal (the daily goal is 1667 words and I wrote 1042 words). The seventh day might as well have been nothing – only 297 words. Then on the eighth day it seemed like I was serious and somehow managed 2182 words. So my total word count before I began on the ninth day was 7078 words, which means that I was only 7925 words behind. FML.
And it’s not that I’m not trying. Granted on the days when I wrote nothing – that is totally on me – but on all the other days I devoted hours to this and would just get stuck. I would jump around to scenes that spoke to me but even skipping around was only working for me to an extent. Personally I like writing a story in order. It makes things easier later on; it helps when it comes to continuity as well as developing my characters and how they grow within the story. So jumping around messes with that, but if I didn’t skip I feel like would have only written a small fraction of what I have so far.
I guess I just feel like my head isn’t in the game and I keep trying to get it back to that place, wherever it is, but I’m not sure how to. I didn’t map the book out scene by scene – I almost never do. And when I started writing I completely changed a character because that was what the story and potential subsequent stories related to the main protagonist demanded and yet now the characters seem to lack chemistry. And maybe I am a slacker. I mean I didn’t do what I normally do in terms of figuring out my characters intimately, because this character has lived so long in my head I didn’t think it was necessary. And other supporting characters I see clearly because they’re based on actual people. But they just aren’t working.
I know it is important to write this thing with ONLY my writing hat on, but my editing hat keeps butting in. I know shitty first drafts are a part of the process – I accept this, hell I embrace it, but what is coming out just seems “extra shitty” to me and I have to think: What is wrong with me?
Here are the problems as I know them to be – that is without actually going through it, and just relying on what my head is screaming at me while I write and try to focus on JUST writing. Cliché alert! I keep dropping them left and right when I totally know better. Then there is the dialogue. I love dialogue, I know it is one of the hardest things for other writers, but for me it has always been the easiest (but it evens our since I struggle with things that may be easier to those who detest dialogue). My characters all have their own unique voices, you know who said what, even if I forget to name drop. And the dialogue sounds authentic. But with this story, everyone sounds the same to me. Not one character has found their voice, which also means I can’t say that any of them actually sound authentic or believable. And the final thing is, I don’t feel anything. Stories are supposed to make you love, hate, curious, anxious, scared – because you’re invested. And this is a thriller where people disappear, die, fall in love with a potentially dangerous stranger and yet I don’t feel anything. There is no heat where there should be, no humor, no wit. I don’t feel invested in these characters so how can I expect a reader to be? I don’t feel scared or the tension that should be there and OMG do I really suck this much!? (Oh yeah, I used the double ending punctuation – deal with it.)
I hoped to be ahead from the get go so that if I had an off day, I have a buffer already built up, but now I am just trying my best to not fall anymore behind than I already am. And I am really, REALLY behind.
I am going to my favorite (and most productive) writing place to get busy for nearly five hours of uninterrupted writing time today (Monday) and Wednesday. But I have to wonder if that can possibly be enough to get me where I need to be. Because even if I have the time, and I am stuck, where I have nothing else to do – if it doesn’t come, what can I do?