It's IWSG day....thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for hosting this once-a-month blog hop where writers can blog about their writerly insecurities. Since NaNoWriMo just passed, I thought it would be fair to share in further detail about how things were going for me last month. Although I had technically "won" NaNoWriMo, churning out 50,000 words in one month didn't come without challenges and reasons for me to feel insecure.
For anyone who wants to do NaNoWriMo in the future, here are some general tips on how I got past the road blocks:
Don't quit. NaNoWriMo got off to a rocky start for me because I didn't begin writing at 12 a.m. on November 1st, as many NaNoWriMo enthusiasts do. I was still busy plotting and organizing and outlining after I came home from taking my kids out trick-or-treating. I'd thought skipping one night wasn't going to be a huge deal, but the delay in beginning my novel really set me back for the rest of the month. For roughly 50% of November, I was behind on the word count requirement to complete my novel by November 30. There were even days when the stats panel showed me, at the rate I was going, I wasn't going to finish my novel until December 3rd. For a couple of days here and there, I was super behind. But I kept working it like the Energizer Bunny wound up really really tight and then released into the wild to do its THUMP THUMP THUMP on the keyboard drums until I caught up.
Avoid re-reading what you'd written. Sometimes I'd cringe when I look back on something I'd written the day before. My spidey sense tells me I'm not going to win the Pulitzer Prize for the first draft of my WIP. Though I'm big on going back to edit things, eventually, I created a self-imposed policy of allowing myself to go back to edit content only if I intend to beef things up with further details for the sake of boosting word count.
Take breaks. I'm all about BIC writing sessions. At the same time, the world is bigger than my goal to write 50,000 words in 30 days and I need to keep reminding myself that. I don't subscribe to the notion that I need to block everyone out during NaNoWriMo. During my down time (and yes, it's okay to have down time during NaNoWriMo), I did other stuff. I watched TV with my husband. I responded to friends' emails. I went out. Earlier this week when I was about 10,000 words away from my goal, I still made it a point to meet up with a friend for tea.
Be flexible. Writing, like life, won't always go according to the way you'd expect. I rolled with it when my plot and characters took on a life of their own. I rolled with it when I needed to write about a topic I hadn't researched thoroughly yet. And I rolled with it when, being at 25,000 words, I could see I was not yet close to the half-way mark I had planned for my novel. So I knew that even if I got to 50,000 words by the end of November, I'd still need to continue writing into part of December to get to the end of my novel....and this takes me to my last point...
...Consider life after NaNoWriMo. When I had writers' block or a dipping word count and I was mentally whipping myself to GET MOVING AND WRITE WRITE WRITE JUST DO IT DO IT DO IT, I would comfort myself with the notion that the month of November won't be breathing down my back forever. At the end of the month, I'd either reach my goal, or I won't. Either way, I'll move on.
What challenges have you encountered while writing under pressure and how did you work through them?