Monday, November 14, 2011

Mandywrimo Update - Waffling, but not for the typical reason.

It's day 14 of Mandywrimo/Nanowrimo, and I am definitely avoiding my story. This is unusual for me. I tend to set challenges for myself, and push like crazy to get them done. Then if I stumble somewhere along the way, I step back and reevaluate--only to set brand new goals, and push like crazy to get those done. I tend to self-evaluate endlessly. So realizing that I've been avoiding this hasn't been an issue for me--it's wondering why I'm avoiding this.

I know I blabbed about my reasons for joining Nanowrimo in my last post, so forgive me, but I need to go over them again.

It's been a long time since I've written on a schedule and made that part of my daily life. I did the 6AM Editing Challenge, but that was a temporary thing. When I was writing Mirrorpass, I did it on the weekends, in these huge releases of creativity. That is not the same as sitting down every day with a requirement to write. Editing every day isn't even the same as writing every day.

It's been a long time, and I know I'm rusty. This is the first time in my college life that I've had a schedule where I could write every day, and keep it up for months, for years.

So that was one reason to take the plunge. This month is supposed to act as my test run. Also, I wanted to see how out of practice I really am. Will I have trouble getting started each day? Or will I struggle with finding inspiration? Will my real problem me coming up with scenes, or will me real problem be nailing the voice? I thought before diving into The Eternity Shift as my new WIP, I should figure out what areas I've gotten weak in.

And finally, I knew it was time to dedicate myself to something new. Mirrorpass still isn't finished (although, yippee, the end is in sight.) But writing a first draft has a driven sense of purpose that editing lacks. I know I need that forward motion. And although I've been writing bits and pieces of ETShift, I had so many possibly storylines in mind that I really needed to sit down with one direction in mind and just hash it out on paper. Nanowrimo sounded like a great way to do that.

Those are my reasons. And at first, everything went really well. Remember that my goal was to write between 800 and 1,000 words each day? Well, just look at my stats for the first week, starting Monday November 1st:

Day 1 -- 1,179
Day 2 -- 1,180
Day 3 -- 1,171
Day 4 -- 1,209
Day 5 -- didn't write
Day 6 -- didn't write

The days I was writing, I was consistently over my goals. I timed myself, too, and each day I spent (almost exactly) and hour and a half to get these words out.

Statistically, I was on fire. It was almost too easy. I had no excuse not to write each day. How pathetic would that be, refusing to write even though I knew I could churn out my wordcount in less than two hours?

By the weekend, I was pretty grumpy. I just didn't want to write. This was very lame and childish of me, which made me more grumpy. So I didn't write Saturday or Sunday. I didn't do homework, and I didn't do chores. I read books and moped and thought about how pathetic I was.

Monday, I took a deep breath and decided to start fresh. And boy, did I make up for things on Monday.

Day 7 -- 2,656

I wrote twice! It was awesome. I felt proud of myself. The next day went well, too:

Day 8 -- 1,641

But then the day after, I had some financial aid issues, and missed my short writing window between classes. That triggered something. It had been an accident, but I realized I didn't mind. It wasn't that I couldn't write, or that I was too lazy to write. It was that I simply wasn't interested enough. I had other important things going on. I had books to read, my apartment to clean, a job interview to prepare for, not to mention a ton of other exciting creative projects to work on.

Writing just wasn't that important at the moment.

Day 9 -- didn't write
Day 10 -- didn't write
Day 11 -- didn't write
Day 12 -- didn't write
Day 13 -- didn't write

Which brings me to now. Day 14. I've had my break and decided I needed to write again, but again, I'm just not that interested. More than that: I'm having my doubts.

Years ago, I realized that occasionally, I go through these periods where I'm not so sure if writing is my future for whatever reason or another. I've learned it's important to not freak out at this point, but to turn the doubt over, to consider it, and allow this to be a possibility. I don't want regrets, you know? I don't want to be so darn determined to be a writer that I block out whatever God is trying to do with me.

Right now, I'm at a bit of a crossroads. I have a novel that could go on submission if I ever finish editing it. I've worked in web design, and now I'm trying to get a job as a videographer. I have so many creative paths to choose from, so many things I want to do, and I'm realizing I might not be able to have them all--they compliment each other marvelously, but one is always a little more interesting than the others.

Now, if I'd been writing steadily, if I had the discipline of writing daily from the past few years, I bet this wouldn't be a problem right now. I know some of this is just because I've been out of it for so long. Part of what I'm realizing, though, is how out of it I truly am. And part of it is the apathy of ETShift--this novel doesn't have the "it factor" that hooks me on a story, and until I find it, I know it will be a struggle to write, anyway.

Lack of it factor + out of practice + wondering if I should focus on this now, anyway = the ultimate question: Am I really dedicated to writing at this point in my life?

Day 14 – open to the possibilities

This is a no-judge zone, so feel free to comment with how your Nanowrimo (or PerWriMo/Personal Writing Month – thanks Ryan!) goals are going. Are you flagging as we head into week three? Did you get back your wind after the awfulness of week two? Or like me, have you discovered a whole different kind of problem in your way?

Truly and always,

-Creative A


Erin Michelle said...

Well, I thought I'd be doing better, that's for sure. Here I am at day 15 with about 6500 words, give or take. Granted, the reason I've barely been writing is that here in Australia everyone's finishing school, and November is the month to hand in the gazillion college assignments for the end of the semester. I finish in two days, so maybe I can catch up a bit after that... but writing just for the sake of meeting the word count isn't quite why I signed up for NaNo... *sigh* We shall see how it goes. Good luck!

Ryan Sullivan said...

Yeah, I haven't really been writing for the past week or so, unfortunately. I'm currently sitting on a little over 2,000 words. I think after my exams and auditions are over, I could probably write another couple thousand words just to pass 60,000 words and feel like I'm getting somewhere.
I'm still feeling pretty optimistic about it all. :D

Toyin O. said...

Great post.

Creative A said...

Hey guys! Yay, thanks for the comments. I got completely zoned out and lost track of the blogosphere. From your comments though, it sounds like you struggled with some of the same problems...

How did the rest Nano turn out? Erin? Were you able to catch up?

Ryan, you were optimistic--did you ever make it?

Cheers, guys!
-Creative A

Ryan Sullivan said...

Salut encore, Mandy!

Last month I only ended up with about 3,500 words.

However, this month I've managed to pass 60,000 words -- I'm just about to hit 63,000. I should be able to finish my first draft this month!

Creative A said...

Ryan, dude! That's amazing! Really awesome to hear. Hurrah for December and fresh progress.


Ryan Sullivan said...

Hurrah for December!

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