Time to Reflect
In my last post I wrote about my intentions to participate in National Novel Writing Month 2019. I also expressed doubts about my ability to complete it, so I am amazed to say that I actually did do it, I completed NaNoWriMo, and wrote an entire novel of 50,000 words.
To write those words here is quite an emotional experience for me, because I genuinely didn’t expect to reach that point. Now, let’s say something upfront: I don’t think the novel is a work of genius, it’s verbose and the plot is meandering to say the least. So I don’t think it’s something that would ever get published.
But this little experiment wasn’t about getting something published, it was about getting my creativity back and flexing my writing muscles and I definitely achieved that. For months I’d been agonising over the fact that I hadn’t written anything, and always had nothing to show at my writing group. Yet in November I managed to crank out 1667 words (at least) per day, no matter what.
And that is the biggest learning for me: that all I need to do in order to write, is find time to do it. I don’t need to wait for inspiration to strike or to feel ‘ready’. On most days I sat down with no clue what I’d have to say in order to make up the 1667 daily word count, but it turned out that the simple act of writing was enough to get my brain going. Sometimes it went off in a completely different direction to what I was writing about the day before, and sometimes it was a REAL SLOG to write all those words. But I did it. Day after day, I wrote something.
Most days I’d literally reach the word count and down tools, with a sigh of relief that I didn’t have to try and find anything else to say. But on other days I couldn’t stop my fingers from typing – I was actually enjoying the process, and that’s the stage I wanted to get to.
I’ll admit that half way through the novel I was beginning to have doubts about where it was going, and if I wasn’t doing NaNoWriMo, I would have put it to one side and allowed myself ‘time to think’ (a.k.a procrastinate and put it off forever). But because of the daily goal I just kept plugging at it and got it done. Like I mentioned above, it’s not my best writing, and I did lose a bit of faith in it along the way, but what I was more happy about than completing the novel, was the fact that I felt inspired to start another one.
In fact, I was so eager to get started on the new project, that I pushed myself to wind up my NaNoWriMo novel two days early: yep I actually hit my 50k word count on 28th November, and made the decision to conclude it earlier than I’d planned.
I have to confess that the ending, as it stands at least, is a bit of a cop out. However, I know that if I ever go back to that novel, and decide to edit and polish it up, I’ll have the opportunity to sort out the ending. But for now, it’s not important. The quality of the novel was never the main focus of this project, it was to get myself writing again, and I definitely achieved that.
Whether I’ll be able to keep it up long term, only time will tell. But I now know that all that stands in the way of me writing, is finding time for it, and that when I put my mind to it, there is plenty of time available. I’m excited to see what I, and all of you, can do with that time.
Did you also take part in NaNoWriMo this month? How did you get on? I’d love to hear your success stories, or the challenges you faced. And if you didn’t decide to do it this year, I’d still love to hear your success stories and the challenges you face in your writing.