Tuesday, 7 November 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017, Day 7: Some Random Thoughts

I seem to have reached the point in the month where it's easier to write the story than to think of anything to say about what I'm doing. There's only so many times you can say 'wrote more words today' before you just can't face it again. *scrolls back* Um... four times, apparently. I can probably do better than that.

So, thoughts after a week of NaNoWriMo:

1. "You just sort of do it" is still the only way I can describe how pantsing a novel works. I could go on about mental pictures of what a novel should look like and the need to have some kind of deep understanding of how stories and storytelling work, but it doesn't matter, because you don't need to consciously think about those things while writing. It's general writer knowledge, not pantsing-specific knowledge. So basically I can't explain what I'm doing and I think I need to be okay with that.

2. Screen brightness makes a huge difference to how well I can write -- to the point where I basically can't write at all on my desktop, and can only write on my laptop if I run it on battery (which lowers the brightness beyond the plugged-in minimum.

3. If this is the kind of character I want to write right now, it totally makes sense that none of the older projects I was looking at in October were 'the one'. The things I need have changed too much for me to easily slip back into an old story.

So, that's my first week done. Onwards! or something.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017, Day 2: Tough Questions

The for/against thing seems to be battering against me constantly. NaNo is a great way to establish a writing habit. NaNo is a terrible way to establish a writing habit. NaNo will help me write my first draft. The first draft won't be worth looking at. It all ties into my own self-sabotage, too. I'm pretty sure I can write 50k this month. Six out of seven of my previous NaNoWriMo attempts tell me that.

But, seven out of seven of my previous NaNoWriMo attempts tell me that the likelihood of me ever doing anything with this story again is slim to none. I'll get something written, sure. It's just that by the end of the month I'll almost certainly hate it too much to ever be able to do anything with it. NaNoWriMo has proven multiple times that it can produce words, but it's also proven multiple times that it produces words I don't like

So, my choice is this:

  1. Keep living with the gloomy knowledge that I could have written and didn't (my state for most of this year)
  2. Write something for NaNo and face the strong possibility that I'm going to feel worse about my writing afterwards.
I want a third option. I want there to be a way to get myself writing regularly, but also writing things I can enjoy and go on with. I don't know how to do that, so today when I sit down to start talking myself into writing, I'll be wondering if I'm helping myself or making things worse.

NaNoWriMo 2017, Day 1: Why am I even here?

This is probably just another stage of writing-related negativity. I find myself looking at my progress for today (1855 words) and thinking, "I could have done that any time. I should have been doing this already."

I don't know how to respond to that other than to just remind myself that I'm doing it now. That should be enough. I should be able to celebrate 1855 words as an achievement, not attack myself for not having done it yesterday and the day before. I'm doing it now. And, I'm putting this quote from Daniel José Older's 2016 pep talk somewhere right in my eye-line as I'm sitting at the computer:

"Writing begins with forgiveness. Let go of the shame about how long it’s been since you last wrote, the clenching fear that you’re not a good enough writer, the doubts over whether or not you can get it done. Sure, the nagging demons will come creeping back, but set them aside anyway, and then set them aside again when they do. Concoct a hot beverage, play a beautiful song, look inward, and then begin."

I have my coffee, I have a couple of Ne Obliviscaris albums to listen to, and I have a story waiting to be continued. Inwards and upwards? That sounds weird and vaguely unpleasant. But, yes. Today I need to forgive myself for the past and set aside my demons. Today I've written. Tomorrow, I'll write again. That's enough for now.