The novel – an honest update

Earlier this month, I announced on twitter (as a short poem on National Poetry Day) that I had started writing a novel. I then blogged about it and said that I would post updates to this blog. It’s not even been a month yet but here’s the thing… I haven’t actually done very much about it.

Oh, it started well. I had a dream, which gave me the basic idea for the story. I got very excited about it and I told my sister, who was also excited for me. Then I wrote a basic plot outline and started writing the introductory chapter (I call it this as I’m not yet sure whether it will be the prologue, chapter one, or something else…). I went away and came back to it the next day. It didn’t feel right. So I started over. I’ve done this twice now and as I write, there are still only 1,260 words on the page.

I got a bit upset, so I wrote some other stuff instead, thinking I’d ‘come back to it.’ I’ve added a word or two here and there, but it’s not enough. I keep talking about it and then actually doing very little. This is not good. I need to focus, really focus, and get some writing done.

So why am I here, blogging today? You might wonder… Well, I said I’d update you on my progress – whether or not I’ve made any! Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • I’ve become far too used to writing short stories and am out of the habit of writing for any great length of time
  • I want to edit what I’ve written about every 500 words. I keep stopping to do so and then end up starting over
  • I have very little writing time, which I need to be more possessive over
  • I am brilliant at procrastinating
  • I’m scared. It’s a big project.

And so here’s what I plan to do about it:

  • Be more possessive about my writing time. Use it primarily for writing the novel. The blog posts can wait
  • Flesh out my plot outline so that I can use it to refer back to should I get ‘stuck.’ I can always change it should the story take a different turn
  • Use the plot outline to break the novel down into manageable ‘chunks.’ Allow myself to edit a little after completing each chapter (or three, I might need to review this)
  • Embrace the fear and just get on with it.

So that’s where I’m at. Tomorrow sees the start of National Novel Writing month (NaNoWriMo) and although I won’t be officially participating (announcing that I’ll write 50,000 words in a month will just terrify me and make me watch the word count rather than what I’m writing), I am going to enter into the spirit of things by taking a blogging break and concentrating on the novel for the month (I’m sure I won’t be the only one!). Hopefully this will get things moving along.

I’ll still be around on twitter but I might be a bit quiet. Normal service will resume in December and let you know how I’ve been getting on.

Good luck to everyone who has signed up to NaNoWriMo – I look forward to hearing how you all get on!

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8 responses to “The novel – an honest update

  1. Tracey Gyateng

    This is really weird, just two minutes ago I emailed you to suggest had you heard of NaNoWriMo! Totally not interested myself, but a member of a group I belong to in facebook (Newham parents) put it up and asked whether anyone wanted to join her and my mind thought of you!

  2. Good luck, Rachael! NaNo people all tell you not to edit at all until you’ve finished the first draft. I don’t know if you want to try that. I don’t know if I’ll manage to stop myself from editing as I go along, but that’s my plan.

  3. Good luck! You can do it x

  4. I find exercising can clear the cobwebs and kickstart the creative process in a way that even “sleeping on it” can’t. You write very well, from what I see–now hit those bricks, bridge those “bellums” with cardiovascular stimulation, and get a new lease on life! 🙂 You can do it!!

    • Thanks for the cheerleading Charron! Sorry for the late reply, I really have kept off my blogs for the month and it’s paid off! I haven’t written 50,000 words but I’ve made a start (I will blog on that later)… For me the challenge isn’t so much getting the ideas going but finding the time! Giving up my blogs for a while did really help with that. Oh, and thanks for saying I write well… I hope I can keep it up for a whole novel!

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