Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Forward, MARCH

Lots of folks are hopping on the NANO bandwagon this month, and I wish them well. The whole spirit of NANO is to write a novel (or at least a good start) during the month of November, which requires you to fire your internal editor (or at least give her a month-long vacation if she's like my internal editor and won't be fired).

I've written the first draft of a novel in a month -- a full length, 80K word novel, so I know it can be done. Frequently the best approach for me in writing IS to write in a blitzkrieg session, getting it all done down in a month. Only then do I go back and tear it apart and revise it.

This month, though, it just doesn't seem doable, so I'm standing on the wharf, waving goodbye to all those aboard the NANO ship. I wish them bon voyage, but, what with a new dayjob and getting settled into a new dayjob schedule, I've just got too much baggage to go trucking across the gangway onto Good Ship NANO this year.

Still, I highly recommend it. Even if you can't do NANO in November, with the rest of the nation, take a look at your calendar, pick the least busy month (preferably one with 31 days), and set that aside for YOUR NANO.

The thing about writing, the thing that I've experienced first hand many times, is that the process of writing a novel bears a striking resemblance to walking in thigh-deep muck. As long as you keep moving, you're fine. The going can be slow, your steps frequently inelegant, but progress is assured.

Stop, though, and you sink. What's more, the mud locks you in a body cast sometimes so tightly that not even Houdini could break free.

I experienced that with every single novel I started way back before I finished my first one. I'd get to a place where I was full of doubt about where to go next, and I'd stop -- usually about Chapter Three. There, my poor project would die a death of starvation and neglect.

I'm not saying I march through the muck all the time now. In fact, I feel that muck clinging to me just now, as I've had to stop writing to adjust schedules and routines with this new dayjob. Maybe then, I'm preaching more to me than you.

Whatever the case, I know if I'm struggling with something, at least one other writer is also battling the same demon (those demons are fantastic multi-taskers.). My faint hope? That it will be of some use to you, O Struggling Writer, that I, too, have to point a stern finger at myself on occasion and bark, "Forward, MARCH!"


Posey said...

Sigh. I'm neck high in the muck right now.

Stephanie McGee said...

I'm there. But it's not because of doubt. It's because of lack of time. Stupid school. LOL.

Good luck with finishing the book!

Patty Blount said...

Sigh. Like Posey, I'm up to my armpits in it.

I am forcing myself to plod through; I may end up deleting great big sections of this MS after NANO but it's still an intriguing exercise, seeing how far I can get just by winging it.

Matthew Rush said...

With a day job and a family to raise there is absolutely no way I could do this, at least not with my current WIP in the middle of a re-write. Still, I admire those who do and it is fun to watch my friends making progress.