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Posts Tagged ‘NaNoWriMo’

All things considered, I probably should not have done NaNoWriMo this year. I have just not had my head in the game as far as writing is concerned this year, and while my depression is usually in a tauntingly close holding pattern, it likes to swoop down on me when I least expect it. I was not in any fit state to write fifty thousand words of any story, but some pig-headed part of me insisted that I had to. This was my tenth outing; I had won every year previous to this, every year since I’d found out about NaNo and decided to join in. I had to do this. One more time if nothing else. For old time’s sake.

I wrote about my whole struggle to decide on here, as you may recall. I settled on a story–a rehash/rewrite of my 2008 novel, Luna, which I rechristened as Daughter of the Sun–and on November 1, I wrote…

…nothing.

This was actually pretty much how I sloped through the month. I would slack off, try to catch up and fail miserably, and then spend the next several days moping about how behind I was and how I was never going to catch up. If you look at my profile on the NaNo site, you will see that my word count rises in fits and starts, and only when I really wanted it to. (You will note that, in the end, I REALLY wanted it to.)

Looking back, I can’t even say what I actually doing with that time. I know I spent the vast majority of it in bed, either fooling around on the internet or sleeping or just laying there and feeling bad about everything I possibly could. This is what depression does, especially when you give yourself another thing to not do and to feel bad about not doing. Sometimes I opened up my novel and sort of looked at it, but I didn’t work on it. I occasionally lurked off to the library to write words in bursts of a thousand or so (by hand, even!), but as the end of the month drew nearer, I was stalled somewhere around 15k.

I don’t know what finally lit the fire under my ass. It was probably the floating spectre of FAILURE hanging over my head like the nasty sign it’s been to me since middle school. I have done my level best to avoid being A Failure for years, and I wasn’t going to let 15k be the best I could muster for my tenth NaNoWriMo.

So I wrote. And then I didn’t write for a couple of days.

And then I did that exact thing over again, and just for funsies I had a huge, depressing cryfest that didn’t help anything, because there’s just nothing like trying to write and not being able to because your body feels weird and the words aren’t coming, and the words that do come don’t fit together and your fingers won’t obey your thoughts. And so on. (Getting yelled at also doesn’t help.)

I wrote a lot the day before Thanksgiving, then nothing at all on the actual day–which would make sense, except that we didn’t actually have Thanksgiving dinner until Friday. (There was a scheduling snafu. Irrelevant.) And on Friday I wrote nearly ten thousand words.

I was at 36k at midnight on November 30th, and at 11:59pm, I had reached 50k. It was, in so many words, one hell of a day. I even had an underdog-y sort of moment with just a few hours ago, after I’d accidentally had one of my trademarked Accidental Naps and felt like I couldn’t surmount the words I needed to reach that much vaunted goal. And then I did it anyway.

There was probably a better way to write this, but since I’ve stopped keeping a journal (to my own dismay, believe me), I don’t really have a detailed log of my days. Things happened, and more things happened, and against all odds and some well respected areas of reason, I won the day.

And that’s all that matters.

(202/260)

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(this has been yet another post)

I haven’t actually started planning my novel yet, so I can’t write about that. In fact, I haven’t done much of anything today except run hither, thither, and yon on various errands before finally, finally getting here at the library for some peace and quiet. And while it’s nice to be out and about, it’s less nice when you use up half of your remaining gas in the process.

I would talk about how I actually got up before noon, but it’s kind of sad that that’s the sort of thing I’m proud of nowadays. And then again, if it makes me feel nice it is nice, and it’s like super nice in light of the fact that I went to bed at around 2am and didn’t sleep into the afternoon. So maybe I’ll just sit here and be proud of it anyway.

I’m still sort of pondering what to do with my novel. I decided a few weeks back to change my main character’s ethnicity because why not, and I’m still trying to figure out if that was a good idea or not, and in what ways it should affect how I write her, and so on. And it probably is and it probably shouldn’t, and I should just carry on with it. I know my basic plot, and it shouldn’t totally fall apart if I add a few more competent adults who weren’t there before. Which is to say, I suppose, that I should just get off my ass and start writing on it, there are only two weeks left before the 1st and I should like to be at least a little prepared when I set my fingers to keys.

And I should probably stop whinging about my problems about my problems here and just get to freaking work.

(193/260)

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Decision Point.

(It’s still today until I go to bed or sunrise, whichever comes first.)

I think I have resigned myself to the fact that I am doing NaNoWriMo. I can’t actually imagine what I would do with my November otherwise, and writing something, anything, will make a nice change from whatever what-have-you I get up to usually. (i.e., all that Internet video game nonsense.) No, I don’t actually have a set and concrete plan, but I’ve started most of my Novembers like that, so there’s no reason why this one should be any different.

I will probably sit down and try to figure something out, though. It’s nice to know where you’re going, even in a most basic sense. I know who my characters are, more or less, and I have a rough idea of the plot, I just need to hash it out into a paragraph or six or something. I don’t actually know what I’m doing. I never know what I’m doing. I’m surprised I made it this far, actually, calling myself a writer, because it’s times like these that I really don’t feel like one.

Anyway, I suppose tomorrow I will start trying to work on this book. I will get things like POV and plot and extra supporting characters figured out. I will start dedicating time to writing instead of time to video games and Tumblr and TV shows. Though maybe not TV shows, you know, I missed tonight’s Sleepy Hollow and there’s a new Agents of SHIELD and I’m two episodes behind on Korra and… okay. The point is that work is going to start tomorrow and maybe I’ll post about it a little and maybe I won’t, I’m still not sure at this point.

I know this is short, but hell if I know what else to write. It’s late and I’m tired, etc. Until tomorrow. And the day after that as well.

(192/260)

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Which is to say, I want to do it, but at the same time I’m not sure how or why or if I even should. I discussed some of this in my previous entry, but there are a number of pros and cons to my staying in or bowing out. So I suppose I’ll talk about those. Which is the whole point of having a blog, isn’t it, to talk about the things I want to talk about. Right? Right.

The primary pro for me is that this is my tenth straight year doing NaNoWriMo. I have won every year. Having a ten-year streak would be a nice bragging rights thing. It would look good on my site profile. At the same time, it’s a really very superficial reason to go on with it. It means I’m more concerned with a number than with actual output or production as a writer. Granted, that’s slightly the point of NaNoWriMo, but it feels like the wrong reason. (Or maybe it’s just that some pernicious part of me wants it to be the wrong reason.)

The other pro is that this would finally be an opportunity to redraft my novel Luna (which now might be titled Daughter of the Sun), like I’ve been meaning to for literally the whole year. And then some. It would allow me to get my rear in gear and basically write a new first draft, since the one I finished almost five years ago is now so far from what I want the book to be. Even the plans I sketched out in the first part of this year aren’t matching up with what I want to write now. Which is frustrating, but I’ve still got around three weeks to get all that together if I really want to.

And of course the big question is exactly that: do I really want to?

It seems like there are a million reasons why I shouldn’t. I don’t have time, though that’s technically and actually a lie–I have plenty of time, I just waste it on other frivolities instead of taking it seriously and using it. I feel really isolated and alone, in spite of my presence of various internet homes, which did feel like home once upon a time ago. I don’t feel particularly inspired, which is honestly the worst excuse anyone can make as a writer, but I haven’t written anything substantial or interesting in yonks, so. I am afraid I’ll screw the book up if I try, even though that’s exactly the attitude NaNo is meant to combat.

And writing this all out now, I’m just as sure I should as I am that I shouldn’t. If that makes sense; it sounded neater in my head. My reasons why not are not very strong, as I demonstrated while listing them out, but at the same time, they’re all the exact reasons why I think it’s likely I’ll fail, and so shouldn’t start at all. My reasons why I should feel as sturdy as sand for all the doubts I have, but that whispering sound of glory (even if it’s private and personal) keeps the kindling flame of hope alive. And my language is perhaps getting a bit too flowery for all this.

I’m not sure if I wrote this to try and make the decision or not. I mostly wanted to put my fears down on paper, as though that would make them more transparent to me. If nothing else it puts them out in the open, and I can point people here rather than helplessly trying to explain what I myself don’t fully understand.

Or something (she said, trying to squeeze in a bit of levity for fear of sounding too serious).

(188/260)

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I don’t know what to write, which is rather typical, isn’t it? I can’t even move my hands to type the proper words. What you last saw of me was so much like an ending that I am tempted to leave it be and run away until I reach the far edge of the world. I would like to start over, to move on, to do something different. I am perilously behind, but I can catch up if I write something every day. Even something little would keep this one thing alive, so that I can say I did something.

I want to write about NaNoWriMo but I am still not sure if I’m going to do it or not. It would be my tenth year running. It seems stupid to not do it, given that it’s my tenth year running. But I don’t know what to write. I feel alone, more alone that I did in that first year, when I had to wheedle my parents to even sign up, when I was too shy to post on the forums. It was just me and the event, and I flew through the whole thing, and it felt good.

But I only feel alone, and the task seems daunting instead of fun. So maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I should give it up, even if it is my tenth year straight, and wouldn’t that be something to brag about? But I don’t have any ideas. I could do Luna or another of my all-too-plentiful ideas, but I don’t know if I’d make it through the month. It seems more likely that it would all fall apart, and what’s the point in trying, which is exactly what my depression would say to me about it, but we all know how good I am about doing the least interesting thing.

I don’t know. I’m not sure if I care.

This is another shuffling step forward, and I suppose I will do this if nothing else.

So.

(187/260)

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