Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Halfway to Salvation

Here we are, November 15th, and we're halfway through this crazy journey we call NaNoWriMo. In the first week we found ourselves excited and wanting nothing more than to write those words. Determined that this year we were going to write that amazing book that was going to get published with the first draft. We went to all of the write ins, laughed with other writers, explained what we were writing, commenting on how great it was going to be in the end, and were generally hopeful and certain that we were going to win.

The second week is the onset of the second week slump. On a rather abrupt shift from the first week, this one was dotted with our own self doubt, threatening to give up on multiple occasions, and the general acceptance that this isn't the best novel in the world. While we still laughed at write ins, when asked what we're writing, the answer usually falls between 'YA' and leaving it at that and 'absolute crap.' This is nearly always answered with a remark from a fellow writer about how you can't expect perfection on the first try, and that you have to just keep going. You can edit it later. Usually a smile and nod was given when this is said while in our minds we're wondering how we're supposed to keep going when we hate our main character, there's no plot and you're not entirely certain that your villain is a villain.

Yesterday marked the beginning of the third week, and with the halfway point hitting, we are finally pulling out of that slump and accepting the advice that was given to us then. We're pushing past the block that had us telling ourselves that we are possibly the worst writer in existence and what made us think that we could actually do this? While we accept that we probably wont get the first draft published – or even allow anyone to read it – we're not quite so certain that we will never be published. In fact, we might even be starting to plan what we're going to do when it comes time to start editing.

Today many regions will be having midway bashes. Parties that (at least in our region) don't actually include any writing. This can be great, or it can be bad. For example, I'm behind for my goal and wishing I could just go home and get some writing done. At the same time, though, I'm so excited to go and see people (or meet people for the first time) that I'm willing to give myself the pass...even though it means that I will be writing non stop over the weekend.

At the bash, we'll probably talk about all the fun stuff, like the fact that week four is quickly approached, which is filled with frantic writing, as everyone is still trying to catch up from the second week slump and the mutterings of more than one writer swearing that they're so not going to finish, and how does anybody manage to get this done every year?

While I can certainly understand wanting to just keep writing, and not being willing to go out (I've become a hermit. I'm just lucky my boyfriend is also a wrimo and understands when I veto the movie and suggest we just get together and write...) I also have to express that taking time off is just as important as writing. Go to that party and commiserate with other writers fighting the same problems that you're having. Discuss those plots that you just can't figure out and listen to the suggestions other people give you, because they could have a fresh take that will completely inspire you.

Enjoy yourself. Don't think that you have to suffer because your writing, or doing nano. Because while it is about getting those words on the page, it's also about having some fun. You've got to have fun while you're writing. Don't get overwhelmed and let yourself relax once and a while. Your writing will be all the better for it.

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