"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Friday, October 23, 2020

When you need a little motivation

 I'm currently writing the sequel to my fantasy that's already been written and edited and is being queried to agents far and wide. I've been writing this sequel for a long time--it seriously seems like I started it sometime in the Jurassic Age. I'll spare you the horrid details of starting, stopping, outlining, throwing out the outlining, making copious notes, yadda yadda and just say this:

You can't edit a blank page.


I decided to treat it like the first book, the one that I sat down and made up and followed wherever it took me. By August, I had a decent chunk of it. And then I had an idea...


November is NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. Seriously, it has its own website and gift shop. You sign up and promise to write 50,000 words in 30 days. You are encouraged to buddy up with other writers and keep each other pumped up and full throttle forward. Kind of like AA. 

"Hi, I'm Gayle and I'm a write-aholic."

I tried NaNoWriMo once before. Let's just say I did not finish and do not want to look back. But this time is different! This time I'm going to keep my promise! It feels like the only way to finish this book, so I'm motivated.

In preparation, I've been writing several days a week, to get my book into enough shape to get to "The End" by November 30th. I've been managing a little over 6,000 words per week so far, although November will require about 12,000 words in the same time frame. By the way, please send Advil and Aspercreme. 

I'm almost at the halfway point in the book (I did plan for about 100,000 words) and although the story is progressing and the writing is trotting forward, I feel like it doesn't look like I'm almost at the halfway point. It looks like I could either finish the story within two chapters, or write about 200,000 more words and still be wrapping things up.

This worried me A. LOT. Am I spending too much time in the mundane? Is this too simplistic? Should I toss it and start over?


Today I had a head-slapping realization: the story is fine, it's just not the story I thought I was telling. The characters are on the journey I put them on, but they are on their own path. My job is to keep up.


I'm both committed to and excited by NaNoWriMo. I'll have something at the end of November. I'll let you know what it is.

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