Tag Archives: #NaNoWriMo

Let’s not talk about the novel

Ah, the novel…

A lovely blogging friend  commented on my absence from blogging/twitter etc. last month, saying that I was ‘probably busy writing.’ I wish that were true. Well, I suppose I was writing a bit, but I’ve barely touched the novel in over a month.

Friends have asked about it and I’ve started to say ‘let’s not talk about it,’ because, well, there’s nothing new to tell – not really. However, I promised to update you and haven’t done since December so it’s about time I came clean…

Since December, I have barely added to the 10,000 words I had written during NaNoWriMo. Yes, I’m disappointed with myself. I had intended to write a certain amount of words every week and it fell by the wayside. I’ve been taking on a little too much lately (not all of it necessary, perhaps I was diverting my attention deliberately…) and something had to give. The novel was the first thing I stopped. It was stalling anyway, I was starting to wonder what my characters were doing and feeling a little distant from them. I thought that taking a break from the story might help. I’m still not sure whether it has.

After about a month, I returned to my initial draft and re-read it. The first couple of thousand words are ok, I think. Then the story seems to wander off, away from what I originally wanted it to say. I’m not sure whether I’m writing two novels or if I’ve just lost sight of what the novel is supposed to be about. I still will write it, but what I have here isn’t it. On the advice of a friend, I won’t trash it, just in case. I will, however, take the first part – the part I’m happy with – and start the story again from here. Continuing where I left off is a bad idea, I feel, as it would be too easy to meander back into the irrelevant story and get frustrated with where it’s going.

So – that’s where I’m at. Starting over. I will be revisiting and reviewing my original plot outline to make into something tighter, more likely to help me stay on track, and then I’ll start over. I don’t know how much I’ll write each week but I will definitely take a blogging break again as soon as I find my ‘flow,’ to make sure I don’t lose the momentum this time. I’ll be sure to let you know how it’s going as soon as there is anything to report! In the meantime, let’s just not talk about it 😉

Are any of you working on a big project at the moment? If so, how’s it going? What do you do when you find it stalls or goes in a direction you’re not happy with? Please share your advice and experiences below!

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!