Writing Boundaries; knowing when to commit and when to sacrifice

campnanoI am three days shy of completing Camp NaNoWriMo and only 2,500 words away from my self-imposed target of 30,000 words for the month . However, I’m also about eight or nine chapters away from actually finishing the story where each chapter is a minimum of 3,000 words on average. *sigh* So it looks like I’ll still be writing That which is Found (TWiL) during the start of May.

I’ve discovered during this writing month that I’ve really missed revising That which is Left is Lost (TWiLiL). Perhaps because the two are so closely related, I’ve had ideas about the ordering of evens in TWiLiL that will hopefully make the narrative stronger and create a more suspenseful read. I’ve also reminded myself of some of the characters that appear in both novels and the developments they take across the two separate story lines. As a result, I think once I’ve finished writing TWiF I’ll be ready to go back to TWiLiL and have a much clearer idea of the impact I want it to make.

I am, at the moment, very tempted to give myself some time off from writing once Camp has officially ended, though, and sneak in some revision of TWiLiL instead of focusing on the completion of TWiF. But, I know if I do that I could lost my momentum and motivation: so one thing at a time. Of all the things I have learnt about myself during the years I have now been writing is that I really need to commit to a story otherwise the threads get lost and it becomes another unfinished piece.

I have realised I can’t actively juggle several projects at once. Perhaps a short story and a novel, but not two novels at the same time in different stages. It’s too difficult to switch between them, even if they are related: especially when they’re so related. I quite like having short stories on the go outside of my longer manuscripts, because they create a sense of accomplishment that is often lacking in a 90,000 word novel. Short stories can be written, revised, edited and polished within a fairly short time scale and it reminds me that the process is achievable.

Of course, one of the things that has gone by the wayside over the course of this year is my short story writing. I haven’t really been dedicating any time to it; instead trying to focus too much on the novels. As a result, so far this year I don’t really feel I have successful managed to complete very much. So, in May it may also be time to get back to writing short stories. However, I am not going to go mad and commit to Story a Day in May this year (as I did in 2012 & 2013), because with the Open University Free Fiction Writing course starting this week, revisions for TWiLiL to focus on and a desire to submit to some competitions, writing a whole story a day in May seems too ambitious. I would be setting myself up for a failure.

I believe it’s important to know our limitations and to understand that in order to accomplish those things that we most want to do some sacrifice is often required. Usually it’s things like the TV or that extra half hour of reading, but I think in this case, for me in May, it’s going to have to be Story a Day. As much as I enjoy participating (and I would recommend it if you want to throw around ideas for short stories for a month, because you often end up with at least a couple of gems) it isn’t a priority for me this year, so I need to put it aside and get on with other things.

OUFiction courseSo that’s the plan for me. ‘Win’ my Camp NaNo badge, finish writing the draft for That Which is Found and then move on to continuing revising That Which is Left is LostHopefully the Fiction Writing Course will allow me the opportunity to explore some potential short story ideas that will also be suitable for later submissions and also keep me working creatively on writing new material whilst I revise.


Do you find that you sometimes over-commit, or expect more of yourself than is probably possible during your writing time? How do you deal with wanting to do so many things and having to choose your priorities and, sometimes, miss out on particular opportunities?
Let me know in comments, or Tweet me.


Also, don’t forget to head over to the blogs of my three nominated writers from my Writing Process Blog Tour last week; their posts should be going live sometime today.



One response to “Writing Boundaries; knowing when to commit and when to sacrifice

  1. Pingback: Last Camp NaNoWriMo post: Snatching the Victory Flag | The Claire Violet Thorpe Express

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