This REALLY applies to writing, because writing takes a LONG time. Even for the most prolific of writers, going from idea to novel takes YEARS. A lot of years. It took me two years to finish the #WhoIsTalyaNightingale manuscript to the point where I decided that it was ready to start looking for an agent to represent it.
And even now, I still know that it needs work. There’s a chance (a very likely one at that), that I’m going to go in and take another hard look at the manuscript soon (after NaNoWriMo, obviously), and even that’s going to take a couple months of working and reworking.
And there will still be MORE reworking after that.
It’s a process, and sometimes there are days when you won’t be interested in writing. For sure, I have days where I’m not interested in writing, but I still know that I have to write SOMETHING. It doesn’t have to be the current manuscript I’m working on, but I always like to be writing or thinking about something that I want to write.
You just have to keep going. There’s no reason to give up, and it’s DEFINITELY never to late to get started.
As always, here’s to a productive week of NaNo-ing or just writing, whatever you’re doing. Don’t forget to sign up for the #MondayMotivation Newsletter by clicking HERE. Taking a break on the newsletter this week, so look forward to the next edition landing in your inbox in December.
Like what you read? Want to see more?
-Kathryn, the Fake Redhead
“We’re going to lose the war.” “Wars don’t have winners.” Emmerson sighs, “You know what I mean,” she says. “I have a plan though, but it doesn’t work without you. Or-“
Excerpt from this week’s #GroundhogOne efforts (who is Emmerson? Good question), and proof that I DID actually write this week.
I’m not going to lie and say that my NaNoWriMo efforts are going swimmingly, because they’re really not. Writing is difficult, and there’s a chance I’ve gotten stuck. Oh well, shit happens. That doesn’t mean I’m giving up on this story, because I’m not, but it’s going to take a little longer than I thought to get it to where I want it to be.
Going into this year’s NaNoWriMo, I knew that there was a chance something like this would happen, because this really is an ambitious project, and it’s a kind of story I’ve never tried to write before (okay, scratch that, not never, but it’s been a VERY long time and the thing that I did write that would be considered ‘similar’ is…also not similar at all. I digress).
My initial plan going into this was to write this story in order.
Let’s just say that that went out the window, but here’s why it’s a GOOD thing that it did.
What I realized this week (aka the span of time between last Thursday’s post and this one) is that there’s no reason for me NOT to write certain scenes that I’ve already thought up. There really isn’t. Why would or should I STOP myself from writing something that’s going to be in the story ANYWAY?
So, I went ahead and created a ‘Misc’ document in the Scrivener file (don’t know what Scrivener is? It’s like Word, but awesome. Use it. 10/10 would recommend) and started writing all the scenes that happen AFTER the last scene I left off on, which yes, includes the end. I’ve mentioned before in my Writing Tips posts, that knowing in advance how and where your story is going to end is critically important to finishing your story. If you don’t know how it’s supposed to end, how are you going to get TO the ending? I know most people aren’t like me and don’t know how EXACTLY it’s going to go down, but all you need is a vague idea, a vague endpoint, and drive your story in that general direction. It may change, it probably will change, but as long as you have a direction, you’ll be set.
Now, I may be about 10,000 words behind where I should be for NaNoWriMo standards, but that doesn’t mean I’m giving up on #GroundhogOne, even if things are getting a little crazy at work and the holidays are starting up. Like I did with the #WhoIsTalyaNightingale novel, I’m going to write when I have time, whenever I can. It may be a little at a time, but a little at a time is not the same as NOT writing. We can’t all sit down and bang out 5,000 words or more a day. That’s always the goal, but even for people who are full-time writers, that doesn’t happen for every.single.writing.session. Temper your expectations and understand that writing is as challenging as any other art. You’re creating a world that ONLY exists in your head. Only you can do that. It may take longer than others, but you can and will accomplish your goal as you keep working at it.
AND, as another bonus to saying ‘screw it’ to writing #GroundhogOne in order is that I now know some other things that are going to happen in the story, which I wouldn’t have figured out if I pressed on with my original plan of writing in order. There’s going to be space fights, arguments, an attempt at infiltrating a prison that’s going to go SUPER wrong, like, wronger than the other attempts at infiltrating said prison (and even as I think about this, an attempt that’s going to go SUPER WRONGER than any of the other times I’ve planned on writing. Here’s another short tangent: talk it out. Sometimes, if you get stuck, if you talk about what you’re working on, you’ll go in ways you never imagined if you just talk to someone or write it out. Try it.), and a realization about birthdays.
Remember friends, in space, no one can hear you if you never finish your book. So, don’t be like space.
Also, maybe don’t try to write your What I Wrote This Week post before the coffee’s kicked in.
The writing adventures continue, and now I need to figure out how to kill off my characters in the fun news ways that I just figured out as I was typing this post.
Need some resources? Don’t forget myWriting Tipspage, or the NaNoWriMo Writing Tips Countdown, which starts with Part One, and the rest of it is linked below this paragraph. Need prompts? Well, I have hundreds in the Prompt Library, or the exclusive Prompt eBooks in the Shop. Don’t forget that 100 Original Writing Prompts by TFRis on sale of 99 cents, all NaNoWriMo long. Or head on over to the NaNoWriMo forums for advice and inspiration of any and all kinds.
I’m never going to tell you that you have to love EVERY little thing about EVERY thing you write, but you should want to love what you do. If you don’t, then why are you writing that story?
A lot of advice being thrown around regarding writing, especially during NaNoWriMo, is centered around writing YOUR story, the story that makes you happy. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy–see: #GroundhogOne is a story I love, but it’s really difficult to write, y’all. But the sense of pride you feel after accomplishing something or figuring out the trick that makes the story work or realizing what your writing is the ultimate of ultimate plot twists is the GREATEST feeling.
But you don’t get those feelings if you don’t persevere.
You must persevere, you must keep going and writing, or you’re never going to grow as a writer, and you’re probably not going to love what you’re doing as much as you should. A great majority of us are NOT full-time writers. That’s a really difficult goal to reach (not impossible, but difficult), and if you don’t love what you’ve chosen as your hobby (or second job, or whatever it is you want writing to be), then why do it? If it’s just as trying as your day job that you may or may not like, then you’re not giving yourself something to do that lets you express yourself and be free to enjoy your craft.
Enjoyment is massively important, especially in the creative pursuits.
And if you find yourself not enjoying what you’re doing, then you need to take a step back and figure out what went wrong. And that means that you must understand that you must look at your work critically. Only someone who can critique their own works can make their work great, and determine what needs to be cut or changed in order to put the story back on track. It takes time and it’s not easy. And that’s not to say that you have to cut hundreds and thousands of words or scenes or content. Content can ALWAYS be reused and repurposes (NEVER DELETE YOUR WORK PEOPLE). Pick and choose what does and doesn’t work, and go from there. Take your time. You have all the time in the world to make the story what you want it to be.
Also, never delete your work. I accidentally deleted the first draft of the #WhoIsTalyaNightingale novel, and the realization was DEVASTATING. And it was still devastating, even though I already decided that the way I was writing the story was going to change, and change drastically. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t pieces from that original incarnation that I could take and put into what became the #WhoIsTalyaNightingale novel. No one likes to start a project from scratch (which is why I’m struggling a bit through NaNoWriMo at the moment, but we’ll talk about that on Thursday during What I Wrote This Week), and there were probably scenes and pieces of dialogue that I missed from my accidental press of the Delete button. Obviously, I got through it and make it work (two years and 94,000 words later), but that doesn’t mean that that night wasn’t one of the WORST.
As always, here’s to a productive week of NaNo-ing or just writing, whatever you’re doing. Don’t forget to sign up for the #MondayMotivation Newsletter by clicking HERE. The next newsletter is slated to land in your inbox next week, featuring even more bits of my NaNoWriMo project that I neither can’t nor want to shut up about, #GroundhogOne.
Like what you read? Want to see more?
-Kathryn, the Fake Redhead