It’s December first. November is done. National Novel Writing Month is over.
Twas brillig, and the slythy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe….
(That’s been in my head a lot this month, despite not having anything to do with it since I played a tree in the drama production when I was 12).
Ahem. Where was I? Ah yes.
So my final figure for NaNoWriMo should be at least 50,000 words. I finished 80,000 words in 27 days last year, so this was easy, right?
*snort* Not exactly.
My actual wordcount is 50,344 words. And that’s a mixture of my two projects.
Kindling wordcount: 31,500
Edited Planes Shifter wordcount: 18,844
I finished, but I struggled. And compared to last year’s 80,000 words, I nearly fell apart at how difficult this year was.
Last year I was unemployed, living with my parents, alone from 7am to 5pm, with only cats for company. It was quiet, I could pace myself, and I had time. I had space to let things brew, and I had a full outline, and knew my characters/world from the first book.
This year I’m flat hunting, not able to spend every weekend getting ahead, planning a lot of massive changes to happen next year, working 9-5 plus commuter time, completing a home-study type course for work, and I was already having trouble sleeping before I began cutting into that time with writing.
Last weekend (while 9k behind), I started to fall apart. I started to give up on meeting that goal. I decided perhaps it wasn’t right for me to push forward anyway, and write a bunch of rubbish. Because I know that I will go back and finish that story one day – but that I wasn’t in the right place to finish it now.
I’m not someone who never finishes drafts (yes, I have lots of unfinished drafts, but I also have four finished drafts, so there!) I’m not someone who struggles to make time for my writing. I’ve no shortage of ideas, and no shortage of ways to make those ideas come to life in my unique voice.
So the idea of pushing myself to write 19,000 words of crud just to meet some number deadline is definitely counter-productive for me. And that makes me sad, because I’ve been wondering if NaNo has taught me all that I need to know about how I write at this point in my life. Since that weekend, I’ve only written 1,500 more words of that story, and that was reluctantly.
I’ve talked before about how NaNo only teaches me things about that particular story or about how things are right now. And I was clear about this year’s project being a bit of an experiment across my two stories.
The message that NaNo gave me in return was that I’m not ready for this story to be finished, and that I’m not in the right place to be writing it. Maybe next week, or next month… but not right now.
So I switched over to editing.
NaNoWriMo is all about shutting down the inner editor, pushing forward and writing even if it’s crap.
Editing is about making that crap shine. It’s about taking your time, checking the plot is intact and (at this stage) mostly proof-reading with the odd tweak.
It feels incongruent to mix those two; but it did keep me editing past the point I’d normally stop. I just skipped forward to the next bit that excited me, and began to read. The tweaking happened without too much thought, and I must have cut around 15 scenes completely, and I’ve removed a character.
I’m looking forward to tomorrow: I feel like I know where I need to tweak my outline – removing those scenes, that character’s involvement and maybe one new scene to fill a gap that removing all that ^ has created.
But I’m on track to have a complete edited draft by the end of January.
And actually, perhaps that’s what NaNoWriMo really is: continued steps forward.