Insecure Writer’s Support Group: NaNoWriMo Woes

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day…

I don’t think it’s mere coincidence that Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day and Day One of NaNoWriMo happen to fall on the same day this year. And to further torment me, here’s the IWSG “optional” question for November 1:

Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

Ugh! I’ve said it a million times—I can never finish any project I start, so what do you think my answer to this question is?

N-O

A big, fat z-e-r-0000000000000000000000000000000000000000

The sad thing is, I thought I was ready this time. I spent an entire month planning my novel. I wrote an outline (which I’ve since lost because of my incessant need to write everything on scrap pieces of paper), I’ve sketched characters, explored backstories, brainstormed on themes, even went to jail for an hour . . .

Ok, so research for my novel wasn’t the original reason for my visit, but while I was there I took advantage of the opportunity (especially since my prison ministry contact never came through for me).

I think what derailed my plans was Camp NaNoWriMo this past July. My goal for camp was to finish my novella, Love Poetry (ironically my first attempt to write Love Poetry came in November, 2014, for NaNoWriMo). Nothing too arduous, 30,000 words in 31 days, manageable. My hope was that finally finishing Love Poetry would give me the boast of confidence I needed going into November.

I didn’t finish. July got too busy. I had too much on my plate. I fell behind.

I’m still not finished.

And the perfectionist writer in me doesn’t want to start a new project when I haven’t finished the first. Especially since the new year is right around the corner and I really want to enter 2018 burden free.

Maybe I’ll just wait until next NaNoWriMo, or next Camp.

But then, I recently joined Simply Marquessa’s #TribeTuesdayWPChallenge: 12 new life habits to enhance your life in 12 months. And I kinda made November all about beating procrastination.

And here I am . . . again . . . about to procrastinate . . . on yet another novel.

Well, enough is enough. At this rate, my first novel will be published posthumously, and the publisher would still need to find a ghost writer who is familiar with my writing style to finish it!

So I am making a conscious effort, scary as it may be, to continue on with my original plan to write Lost Boy (renamed Wanderer—still a work-in-progress, you know I’m no good with titles) this November for NaNoWriMo. I won’t officially register for the challenge, though. I don’t want that added pressure to meet my daily word count, especially on those less than productive days that are sure to come.

Going into NaNoWriMo, I want to take a relaxed approach, which is hard for me because I overthink everything. But in her “How to Tackle NaNoWriMo” series, Candice Coates said something that really resonated with me: There’s no such thing as writer’s block. We always have something to say, we just have to allow ourselves to say it.

Well said, Candice. I’ve been silencing myself for far too long, using the excuse of writer’s block, or busyness, when truly, I’ve just been scared. Of failure? Of success? I’m not sure, but if I ever want to get that book published one day, I have to write it.

I have to write it.

So I will write it.

Right now.

—Nortina

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27 thoughts on “Insecure Writer’s Support Group: NaNoWriMo Woes

    1. 50,000 words in a month, is definitely a commitment. I think my problem is not necessarily that I can’t do it, but whenever it comes around I’m always so busy! Haha! But even if I don’t finish this year, I want to finally be able to say that I started and made a conscious effort to write SOMETHING, even if it’s not 1700 words, something every day and didn’t give up. And something close to a novel comes out at the end! 😊

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  1. Hi, Nortina! I’m making the IWSG rounds today. Just jump in and go for it with your novel! Don’t pressure yourself ~ Just do the best you can! Good luck!

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      1. 😀 fantastic! That book (Etta and I) are in a stare down match. My struggle has been the length of the tome but I have to keep reminding myself to let each story be what it is. I hope to NOT go beyond 135k with this one…but I think I am being a bit naive it may be that long and need that length to truly and fully express the story threads. Read when you have the time and do please leave your candid feedback! Thanks in advance.

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  2. You are so far from alone in this struggle. The first two years that I dedicated the month of June to be my official NaNo month, I reached novel status within the 30 days, completed both novels within 3 months, and had sequels or even a trilogy before the end of three months was finished. In 2014 Etta Castle-Teague of my blog novel Ascension Graveyard was born and she has been a problem child ever since. I reached WELL beyond novel status before 3 months was over and still felt like the story was a mess. 2018 I will begin my 4th rewrite of the story…I encourage myself with knowing that each story is like a child. They may have the same parents but each one is extremely different and that includes their needs. Some stories take years to write. I’ve said it several times that Stephen King’s Under the Dome book took 40 years to write! If that doesn’t encourage you I don’t know what will. The book ended up being like 1200 pages long, BUT it also ended up being a TV series. My very first trilogy, I started writing when I was 14. That was 21 years ago…I need to rewrite because it took me a good seven years to write but it needs another polish. My point? Give yourself AND your stories the time they need as individuals. Some move like dandelion fluff on the wind, others like molasses on a cold day. We are born creators. We have stories to tell, songs to sing, art to create. Everything that is against that has to get out of our way in Jesus Name! 😉 Write on! (excuse my thesis-sized comment lol)

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    1. Don’t apologize for the length. I definitely needed this! That’s amazing that you were able to complete so many NaNo projects in so short a time. So inspiring. I know I don’t want to be that writer who keeps making excuses, who’s been writing for X amount of years and still doesn’t have a book published, or even completed yet. I think I put too much pressure on myself, on the dandelion stories and the molasses, but especially when I get stuck on my problem children (and I definitely have a 40-year-old one brewing on my computer now!)

      But what I’ve started to discover is that I am very much a pen and paper kind of writer, which is pretty ironic since I grew up in the digital world. Everything we do is on computers, but things flow so much easier when I’m writing them down rather than staring at a bright white screen that’s burning a hole in my brain. Same thing with reading—I’d rather have the physical book in my hand.

      I think that’s what I want to go back to. Carrying a writer’s journal around. Writing what comes to me. Not worrying about word counts, meeting daily goals, editing, spellcheck, format, etc. Just sitting and letting it flow. Yep, I think some time away from the computer is just what I need. Some stories need that physical nurturing. 🙂

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      1. I agree 100%! Writing by hand is something so magical and freeing. Even though I now generally write on the computer I do keep journals handy so that if an idea or a scene for a story comes to mind I can write it down. As far as publishing goes, I queried big house publishers and got some fantastic and encouraging rejection letters but it wasn’t until recently that I decided to even try the indie publishing route. In the end we need to give ourselves time but not so much time that we miss our window! I really appreciate hearing about your journey. It is refreshing and encouraging.

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      2. “fantastic and encouraging rejection letters” — I love that! 😅 I’ve looked at indie publishing. I think for bigger projects I would still try the traditional route first and if that doesn’t bite, consider self-publishing. But for smaller projects like novellas, chapbooks, etc. I’ll definitely look into indie. But the task right now is to write it. I don’t want to miss that window!

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      3. Whichever route you chose, you are right you just need to write it! And then polish it. My other ‘struggle’ is juggling several stories at once (if that can be called a struggle) and then starting a new one before polishing the others. I am currently breaking away from that habit 😉

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      4. I am all too familiar with this struggle! Haha! I can have five or six story ideas swirling in my head at the same time. My probably is I try to write them all! More power to you. I haven’t beaten that habit yet.

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      5. Ha! You are in good company as I had to talk myself down just yesterday from working on another novel. I suppose in the end having lots of story isn’t really such a bad problem to have at all 😉

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      6. And by encouraging rejection letters, the best i received was from the VP of Writer’s House where I was told that they loved my story but didn’t have the fire to push it like it deserved in order to get the best deal. I can honor that. I put my best into my stories and thus they deserve the best they can get in the world. All things happen for a purpose and timing is indeed everything.

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      7. I was truly honored. I was even given advice as to how to make the story stronger and more marketable for the future. Since I have taken that advice the one novel has been broken into 3. Because of that, I have much editing and rewriting to do…as well as finishing the last book.

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  3. I have to agree about writer’s block. I don’t believe in it. For me, sometimes ideas need a little time to gestate in my brain before I can put them down on paper, but that’s not really the same as being blocked.

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    1. Very true. Some ideas just aren’t developed enough. And for me, sometimes I’m just not motivated (feeling overwhelmed with other assignments, not getting enough sleep, hungry, etc.). But there’s always something to be said. I’m learning that now.

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