At this precise moment in time I am really struggling with writing. It’s like I’m arm wrestling with it and my hand is so close to the table it’s inevitable that I will lose, but a part of me keeps on pushing, wants to win and will be damned if I’m going to give up and surrender to the loss.
I have less than 6,500 words to go before reaching the November target of 50,000 words, but I have the feeling that these words will be the hardest to write. Not because I’m so close to winning NaNoWriMo, but because I am so far away from completing the story and it seems that the NaNoWriMo milestone is almost insignificant in comparison.
I really wanted to write a novel in a month. I didn’t want to be left in the same position as last year – where I had a manuscript that took me a further 11 months to complete. I wanted to complete this story ready to edit in 2013 and feel a real sense of accomplishment. But, that isn’t going to happen this month and I’m so tired of keeping up that regular pace that I’m doubtful whether or not I can even attempt any more of it in December.
I feel disappointed.
There, that’s what it is. Disappointment. As much as it may be an extraordinary feat that I can write 50,000 words in 30 days that isn’t what I was aiming for. I am only a fifth of the way through my novel’s story which means that there is still so much to go, therefore reaching that target of 50k words suddenly seems so insignificant.
I have learnt a lot about my story in those words though. Most of them have consisted of me exploring the world I have created and getting to know my characters that little bit better – seeing them as real people rather than just words on a page. I’ve written my way through a whole lot of understanding about the ‘why’s ‘of the story and realised that my muse has now filled in a lot of the blanks that I didn’t have when I started writing. I’ve discovered facts about my characters that I could not have imagined when I invented them and they are now beginning to take charge of their own storyline, and sometimes steer it away from where I wanted it to go.
I guess my disappointment stems from the fact that this book is potential going to be just as much effort, if not more so, than the first attempt. I don’t know why I thought it would be easier. Although this year I’ve found my word count rising from between 2,000-4,000 words a day, rather than labouring over the minimum of 1,667. I’ve had no doubts that I could make it to the 50,000 word marker and still don’t, even though I’m currently struggling so much over each and every sentence. NaNoWriMo I can do. Write a full first draft in 30 days – I cannot. Not this year anyway.
So, yes, I’m disappointed. And this is getting in the way of my writing. Each time I sit down to add another scene I realise just how far away from the end I am, despite so many words already, and each one seems like it won’t get me any closer to the end given that I’m so far away from it already. The words have created an illusion of progress through their number and yet the story has not advanced enough for the number of words created.
Perhaps I need to change this. What I should do is alter my approach. A month ago I wrote a detailed plan of each chapter I wanted to write – thinking that perhaps each one would consist of around 2,000 words per chapter. This has not been true. Instead some have ended up being more than 7,000 words! This is what is holding me back from the story – those details that I am creating to pad out each chapter are drowning me in words rather than pushing me forward.
I need to push through. I need to write fewer words to tell more of the story. It sounds counter-productive but it might just work. I can go back and fill in the details later. For now, what I need is progress. And to achieve progress I need to write myself further ahead than I am. Fingers crossed. Here I go….