Friday, November 30, 2012

NaNoWriMo round-up... in which I confess my epic fail

In one and a half hours, NaNoWriMo finished in my time-zone. My wordcount? 16,563. Pathetic, I know. I knew this year would be way, way harder than last year. I'm taking about 3 times as many credit points' worth of university courses, and as always I work two jobs. Plus I'm teaching a Textual Analysis (Literature 101) tutorial, which I didn't do last year. Let's not even talk about the hours of work that go into blogging and reading. All of that leaves much less time to write.

However... if I'm perfectly honest with myself I know that I could have written more if I had simply made time. If I had felt the call of the story, if I had poured my heart and soul into the work. If I had caught fire as I did last year, when I finished at a proud 66k. I expected that. I was looking forward to the rush, the feeling of being part of something bigger, those little moments when story and characters reveal themselves to you and you feel the magic. Only very little of that happened. Part of that was second-book anxiety. The first book is still so unstable and draft-y. How do you build on somehting that might change shape significantly as you go back and revise/edit? I was scared. I already had so much material. But where did I go from there? Finding my way back into those characters after a year was surprisingly hard. I started questioning everything.

Nevertheless, there were times whenI felt I was getting at something, parts where I felt the writing and it flowed. But they were rare. I felt tired and worn-out and most of the time just not like writing at all. I didn't remember the drafting to be so HARD. Because of my newly discovered dislike for rewriting, I must have idealized the drafting part and forgot just how difficult it can be.

Also, I was a lot less social than last year. I didn't go to meet-ups, I didn't post on the forum, I didn't do twitter word sprints. Again, no time. No motivation. Boo. Then, about a week ago, I wanted to at least make it to 25 or 30k... but I had to discard that idea when my family got a piece of very sad (though not entirely unexpected) news.

At the moment, my brain is just not in a creative state. I feel blocked, scared of writing anything. Scared of writing reviews. Scared of writing the two papers I have to hand in in two weeks. I really need to pull myself together but at the moment I'm just paralyzed and have no confidence in my analytical and writing skills. I just want the semester to be over.

I just realized that this is an extremely whiney post. Sorry 'bout that. Anyhow, I'm not ready to throw the towel just yet. NaNo may have been a fail, but November is just one month out of twelve. I have a head-start on my second novel, and once I have to first one in a more secure state I will definitely get back to it. I also got ideas for some short stories this month so that's good.

For those others of you who did NaNoWriMo, I hope your experience was a more positive one! I hope you caught fire. I hope you felt like you were doing what you were made for. I hope characters and worlds unfolded under your fingertips as you typed or scribbled. Whether you finished your novel around 50k or have a longer project that you're pulling on into December, I hope you enjoy it! And even if you didn't finish, I hope you had fun with however many words you managed to write! I wish you the best of luck and tons of courage to carry on with your work and see your story through to the end :)

Did any of you participate on NaNo? How did it go for you? If you made a round-up post, feel free to leave your link in the comments too :)


  1. Oh, darling. You captured my feelings in your post. I made it to 32K, but then graduation came, and I didn't have time to write for the last ten days. But the part about fear-I totally get it! I blocked halfway, feeling like this is the worst thing I've ever written. Like I completely forgot HOW to write. And just like that, the passion for my story was gone :(

    Anyway, as you said, another month starts tomorrow. Don't lose your confidence. I'll keep my fingers crossed for all your projects :)

    1. Yeah, I made it in a little bit and then I started to doubt everything. What direction did I want to go, was I even telling this from the right POV? Should I change my narrator? Are any of the characters' emotions believable? Where is my plot?
      We just have to keep going and hope that we can get back into our projects with fresh energy and ideas at a later point :)
      Congrats on graduating! And thanks for leaving a comment <3