A Tale of Two NaNoWriMo Experiences

Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 7.49.13 AMAlissa

HAS FAILED. Seriously. I’ve failed. I did try, I got to nearly 6k and then the world went to shit with elections, work and weddings. I’m now so far behind it’s not even funny. And for whatever reason, my ability to jump back into the story has died.

I’m not sure where it went or how it went away, but it’s just gone. And honestly, I’m feeling pretty shitty about it. I write for a living, I’m a journalist, so you’d think that writing almost 2k a day is cake for me. And generally it is. I write over 2k every day I work, but you put me down in front of my computer and tell me to write fiction or a book type thing, and every single writing instinct I have disappears.

And yet, for some reason I put myself through the trials and tribulations that is NaNo every year. I really do try! Last year I made it up to 20k! Which is impressive for me. But perhaps it’s time for me to admit to myself that I’m not meant to be a writer of that nature. I like the idea of writing a novel and one day I hope to do it, but it doesn’t seem to be in the cards today. This month. Or maybe ever.

But where I lack faith in my own fiction abilities, I know I can write thousands of words on other topics. So maybe thats where I should focus for next year. Can one do a non-fiction project for NaNo? Is that allowed? I haven’t even ever checked.

Here’s hoping. I’ve relegated myself to cheerleading from the sidelines for everyone who is pushing forward and persevering!

You go guys!!

25,000 words. That’s where I have to be by the end of today and I’m pretty sure I’m going to get there. I can honestly say I didn’t think I’d make it past 2,000 words, let alone continue past the first week. Now, we’re halfway through and, for some reason, my story is still going strong in my head and I’m still pounding away on the keyboard almost every night.
I have this issue when I write stories where, as soon as I get the slightest bit discouraged, I give up. The whole reason I decided to try NaNoWriMo this year is to see if I can push past that and continue a story. By day five of the month, I had lost all my drive to write. I started hating my characters and everything about my story so far. That’s the point where I usually put my laptop down and put the file in some random folder on my desktop, never to be opened again. (You should see that folder too. It’s like a story graveyard with little Word icons as the gravestones. Here lies GhostStory.doc. I don’t remember what you were about, but I’m sorry I killed you off so early.)
But I pushed through and kept writing. By day seven, I was in love with my characters again and even had a new one pop up out of nowhere (and he’s my favorite character now).
I know that this is not the next great American novel. It’s crap right now. It needs more plot and action. It needs more character development.  It needs… quite a few things. But it’s a good backbone to build the rest of my story on.
So far, NaNoWriMo has been a pretty good experience for me. It’s shown me that I actually can work past the stuff that’s bothering me about a story and keep going with it. It’s shown me that I should keep writing, even when I feel like I should stop.
I’ve wanted to be a writer since third grade, when I wrote a story about shark “invested” waters for a state test. (Yes, I know sharks don’t invest in water. I’ve got that now, thanks. My parents still bring that story up occasionally. The point is, I loved writing that story, even if my spelling mistake made it a running gag in my family.) I’ve known for years that I always feel less stressed after writing, but with the way things have been going, I haven’t been able to write as much as I want to or the ideas don’t flow when I need them to. For the past two weeks, I should have been ridiculously stressed out, but I’m not feeling it because I’ve been writing so often.
I’m really hoping I can reach the 50,000-word goal by the end of the month. If I can do that, then I’m making a promise to myself to finish the story and then go back, fix the story up and possibly get it published someday.
We’ll see.

Well, it’s that time again.

It is time for NaNoWriMo. And both Sara and Alissa will be participating in it, both with official NaNo accounts – so you should find them and nag at us to make sure we’re keeping up with our writing numbers!

But it’s a difficult month for people who are participating in NaNo. Mostly because there are a good two days that NO ONE is Imagedoing anything during – Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Thats around 4k of words that most people don’t get done. Or at least, that Alissa doesn’t get done. 

Regardless, this is an excellent time for writers around the world to participate in something that is just for us. We don’t actually have to share it with anyone, which is all ten kinds of lovely and fun. 

So, here is our wish to all of you participating in NaNoWriMo – GOOD LUCK. 

Everyone deserves a cheer squad behind them as they write their book, so just think of us as your cheer squad even as we write our own. 

Lots of love and support sent your way this NaNoWriMo

Alissa and Sara