I’ve come to the conclusion that I simply cannot make any plans with regards to my writing. This week has been even worse than usual. Probably why I’ve noticed it at all.
Now before you say, “Michell, you’re already past the 30,000 word mark and the month isn’t even half over. Why are you complaining?” let me tell you the short, but sad story of my woes.
Yesterday, I was home from work because of Remembrance Day (Veteran’s Day to all you Americans out there) and I had some crazy idea that I would get a lot done. I was going to get my NaNoNovel completely plotted out and actually make some good headway on the story itself.
I ended up spending the day with my family, which is one of my favourite things to do and one I never get enough of. Therefore, the day was well spent. However, I really had to struggle to get my 1,800 words. I mean, REALLY struggle and I got none of the plotting done. I guess the struggle was largely due to the fact that I didn’t know where the story was going, but still.
So, that’s only one day, isn’t it?
Tonight, I’m at my mom’s cabin. I was hoping to do some plotting, but that is not looking likely. I was also hoping to be here a couple hours early, but events didn’t pan out for that either. Still, I am sitting and working on my laptop and I do have Internet access so all is not lost.
So maybe planning is not the way to go, especially when I have so many different things on the go all the time. Maybe what I should be doing is treating my writing the way NaNoWriMo treats it. Set a target date with a word count goal and break that big goal up into daily smaller ones. What part of the day I actually do the writing, whether I do it in one sitting or several and all the rest of that is irrelevant when all is said and done.
That would keep me from beating myself up so much too.
I’m liking this idea already.
I also had another revelation earlier today. It is a multi-part one so bear with me while I try to explain it.
- Don’t be afraid to stop writing on a story if you hate it.
- If you don’t like how a scene worked in a story, don’t be afraid to throw that scene away and do it again.
- If the POV in the story seems odd, try coming at it from a different one.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Those are three different things and I agree, but they all relate to the business of writing. It came to me as I was working on a short story. The story just isn’t clicking with me and, quite frankly, I don’t like it at all. I don’t like the characters, I don’t think it has anything to grab the reader and so on. So, I asked myself, should I keep writing and try to fix the story in edits.
In a word, NO!
If I don’t like the characters now, what can I do to make them better in editing? The same is true of the plot and the setting. Now, this is NaNoWriMo so I’m not going to be doing any editing. I am going to stop writing this version of the story and go back to the drawing board to come up with something much better. As soon as I made that decision, I suddenly had some new ideas that I think will work much better.
The second point in the revelation is in relation to the NaNoNovel I’m working on. I wrote a scene that simply didn’t resonate with me at all. So, I thought about what did and didn’t work and sat down to rewrite it. The second try didn’t go much better. Then I stumbled onto the third point. I changed the POV for the scene and viola, it worked. Problem solved.
In case you’re wondering, I don’t have a one project that I’m tackling during NaNoWriMo this year. I actually have four on the go. That wasn’t planned. It’s just how things seem to have turned out.
The projects are: my NaNoNovel, two short stories and a brand new YA novel idea that struck me while I was out at the Scouts survival camp. Will I finish them all? Not a chance. I DO hope to finish both shorts and the NaNoNovel. The YA novel idea is about 10% done and will remain so until after NaNoWriMo. I just wanted to get all the ideas from my head to the paper. They were so vivid I simply couldn’t let them pass.
So there you have it. I need to stop planning writing times and simply use goals. I’ve got more projects than I know what to do with but I have to keep pounding away so they get done AND I can’t be afraid to abandon writing that isn’t working. There are always better different ways to tell the story.
Morning word count: 0
Lunch hour word count: 0
Evening word count: 1785 words