To be honest, I almost didn’t post today. I dislike negativity, failed goals, and accountability – so it would have been far too easy for me to ‘forget’ to update you all on my abysmal progress so far with Nano.
I’m officially 6,000 words behind. Granted, that means I’ve written a total of 20,000 words – which certainly isn’t anything to sneeze at. Celebrate the little successes, right?
But I hate that I haven’t been able to keep up with my word counts. It’s not like I have writer’s block – I know exactly where I’m going with the story. It’s not that I don’t have time, either. I only work 40 hours a week, and I haven’t even procrastinated with World of Warcraft much. (I think I played an hour on my day off last Wednesday.)
After reviewing my notes and tracking attempts over the past week, I’ve come to a few conclusions regarding my difficulties though.
- I caught a cold – or at least a severe cough. It’s hard to stay motivated for anything when you don’t feel well. Focusing on a computer screen when you haven’t been able to sleep (due to aforementioned cough) usually won’t end well. I should give myself a little bit of credit for trying.
- The Pomodoro method of writing is not for me. With this method, you concentrate on writing for 25 minutes, then take a five minute break to check email, get a drink, etc. It’s supposed to help people who are easily distracted to focus on the project at hand. Now, I’m easily distracted to an extent, but I’m also incredibly single-minded. Really, if I can play a video game for 4+ hours without a break, I can probably manage a similar length of time writing. In fact, I’m starting to suspect that’s how I produce results – it takes me several minutes to get going with the story, but once I’m in a groove, I can churn out 2,000 words easy. The problem with the Pomodoro method is that I’m just starting to get going when the timer goes off – and I immediately take that break, even though I could have kept going for a bit longer.
- Writing a follow up book to a series requires a lot more careful thought, fact checking, and creative problem solving than writing the first book to a series. Yes, you have a cast of familiar characters to work with – but now you have to be careful that those characters still act like the same characters they were in the first two books. Any new plot twists or developments have to be carefully weighed and checked to be sure they don’t contradict events in previous books, and you have to extremely careful that you follow the rules and histories created in those initial books, as well. In short, writing a third book to a continuing series – especially one as richly detailed and complicated as I made mine – is exhausting.
- Twitter is not my friend when I don’t have good things to say. I think I posted my word count once last week. After that, I just didn’t have the heart to post triple digit numbers. It made me feel like a failure – which I’m not, darn it!
So, what am I going to do? Am I going to give up?
Heck no. I think I have a handful of fans out there who’d hunt me down and threaten bodily harm – or negative reviews – if I didn’t finish my series in a timely manner.
No, I’m going to keep plodding along. 900 words are better than no words, after all!
I’m also going to stop with this silly 25 minute writing sprint thing. I’m going to sit down and write until I want to go to bed, or until my head hurts from thinking too hard, or until I just can’t stand looking at my laptop screen anymore.
Finally, I’m also going to let myself do a little bit of non-novel writing. In fact, I already did a bit of non-novel writing (which is how I discovered that the Pomodoro method doesn’t work and that book three is oodles more complicated than I gave it credit for).
At the request of a fellow writing buddy (who, coincidentally, is also the graphic artist that designed all of my incredible cover art and promotional items), I put together a document detailing my initial Nanowrimo journey, and the subsequent adventure in writing, revising, and publishing my first two books.
At her suggestion, I’m going to break that document up into manageable segments and post it here for other writers who might be dealing with writer’s block, insecurity, doubt, the sheer effort involved with the writing process in general, or any number of other issues that plague us author-types.
Here’s hoping it helps someone else find that inspiration or motivation they’ve been looking for. 🙂