Caught in the Middle- Nanowrimo Wrap Up

Yes, I know we’re quite a bit away from November now, but I think it’s kinda fitting that I’m late with this, cos this is a post about FAILURE (ooh err, it looks much scarier in all caps). To be fair, it’s no fun to admit when you’ve failed a goal you set yourself. For all who remember, I set aside some writing goals in November… which I didn’t complete. Not even kinda close- my plan was to get to chapter 28- and I only made it to 23.

Now it would probably be easier to slink off and not say anything, because what use is it to talk of failure? Well I think more often than not there are lessons in failure as much as success– so here I am to talk about what happens when you don’t achieve your goals…

Well nothing. That’s the whole point. Not that there’s fanfare when you do succeed, but let’s be honest, you can’t exactly have an “I didn’t quite do it” party. You can just try and figure out what went wrong?

what went wrong.gif

For me, it was a combination of unforeseen life-always-manages-to-get-in-the-way stuff, being too ambitious with my goals and just not being prepared to deal with some more emotional sections of the story all in one go (I can also probably add end of year burnout to that list too 😉 ). I can pat myself on the back for setting aside time to write every single day, yet when I think of how little that could be some days, it’s hard to get super excited over that little victory.

The more important thing I’ve learnt- and something I think about every time I fall into a rut or get blocked- is that perseverance is key. Because, yes, I didn’t quite get as far along as I hoped. And yes, I’ve had months where I’ve got stuck on a story and just can’t. push. on. Yet, every single time I’ve fallen into a rut, or been disappointed with how a project turned out, or just can’t find the time, I’ve managed to find a way to pick myself up again and press on. Heck- book 2 was such hell for me to write that it took 6 months to write 2 or 3 chapters in the middle, followed by a massive overhaul. It happens.

So am I disappointed that I didn’t complete what I set out to do last month? Yes, of course. Is it going to affect how I go on? Only in that I’ve returned to my usual “weekly goals” mindset instead of monthly. And on the plus side, I’ve continued with the “writing every day” mentality.

live every day like it's nano

I did have a lot of fun while writing in Nano and said some very weird things like: “Zombies are harder to write than I thought” and “I can’t talk now I’ve got to write about a dead cow.” Although, now I think about it, the gloomy subject matter is the crux of the problem- I gotta keep promising myself that the next book will be cheerier. Somehow I just need to tell my brain to switch it up a gear– because that’s where all the grim ideas are coming from…

why so serious 2.gifAnd you know, I think that’s where I’m gonna leave this post, because it’s probably best not to take myself too seriously. Otherwise I might end up like this guy…take yourself seriouslyAnd no one wants to end up like that guy- at the very least, you don’t want that hair.

 

The Obligatory Piece Where I Talk About Doing Nanowrimo… But Not Really

nanowrimo

Okay I know we’re already a bit into November so it’s a bit late to talk about my plans for Nano, but my organisation skills are the BOMB (okay, they suck, but whatever) As you might be able to tell I’m sort of doing Nano this year… Well I’m doing what I do most years- which is to set myself an easier target and write my little heart out 😉 . This year though, I did have a bit more of an internal wrestle over whether I should try and win Nano for reelz (spoiler alert: that’s not what I decided to do 😉 ). Here’s where my thought process was at…

Reasons to do Nano:

  • What a great month to write! I mean it’s miserable out and I want to be indoors as much as possible. Plus I’m not in uni anymore so I’ve not got the excuse of deadlines as I did in previous years.
  • I’ve got a ton of writing to do– so I may as well go bananas with it. I really want to finish my damn trilogy. I first conceived of this idea *7 whole years ago*. I was writing something else at that time and had lots of mishaps in between… but now I’m finally on book 3 (yay!)
  • All of the lovely motivational people online!! There’s just so many great writing posts about during Nano that I’m being totally conformist *ahem* I’m feeling inspired.
  • It’s very satisfying to set yourself a goal and then complete it– especially when it comes to writing!

Reasons not to do Nano:

  • Buuut I edit a lot as I go (I know *shock horror*- don’t worry, I edit after as well) so 50000 words is not really doable if I’m gonna end up writing a lot of it twice.
  • I’m fairly consistent with my writing, fortunately, BUT I’ve never written more than c20000 words in a month– more than that just doesn’t seem terribly doable to me.
  • Plus I *never* use word count goals– they just don’t work for me- I tend to count chapters instead
  • It can be completely draining to write this series– honestly, my characters do shitty things and living with the consequences of their actions can be pretty exhausting (yes, I talk about them like they’re real- I’m totally sane 😉 )
  • Doing a more casual version of Nano has worked for me in the past– last year for instance I decided to edit an old novel AND I DID IT! (which brings me back to how satisfying it is to complete a goal)

So I’m compromising!

My goal is to write to chapter 28- which considering I was already at chapter 9 before the month should be both doable and a challenge (also since this is the beginning of the book, I’ve a few nice, short set up chapters that I can whizz through- don’t think I didn’t know what I was doing when I set myself this target 😉 ) Currently, I’m on 16 and to be honest right now even this target might be a little out of reach- we’ll see how this goes!

Anyhoo- are any of you participating in Nano? Do you write in general? Let me know in the comments!