… one more to go.
“Stop!”, I hear you shout. “Camp NaNo is going on for another TWO weeks, not just one.”
Well, let me explain. And tell you about my second week of camping, while I’m at it :)
Hello once again :)
Just another little status update after the first week of Camp NaNo is over.
Hello everybody :)
What have you been up to, except for watching football (given that the European Championship is going on atm)?
Seeing that my favourite Teams (Wales and Iceland, for those interested. I always love to support the underdogs) are doing surprisingly well, I have been writing.
So, it’s time for another little status update – Second Camping Edition :)
Just a little status update, given that you haven’t heard from me in quite some time ;)
So, what have I been up to in April? (Writing-wise, of course. No one cares about the boring rest ;) )
Well, at the beginning of the month, I decided – pretty much last minute – to join the fun at Camp NaNoWriMo. Continue reading
Ladies and Gentlemen, I have an announcement to make: It’s done.
Yesterday, I got to validate incredible 50 977 words – which makes me an official NaNoWriMo Winner. Alcohol-free champaign and cookies for everyone!
An end that brings very mixed emotions:
surprise – When I set out on this adventure, I honestly never thought I’d get this far. It’s still a shock, sort of.
pride – I made it! Still can’t believe I did. And even two days early.
happiness – It was a wonderful experience, which I’m truly grateful for, and it was made even better by all the lovely supportive people around me.
sadness – Yes, there is also a bit of sadness that it’s over and now it’s back to ‘normal life’ (and to editing… oh dear).
Going into NaNoWriMo, I had a very strict goal. Quoting from my first-week-post:
“This first of November, it would be do or die. Either I’d rediscover the magic, or I’d fail miserably.”
It’s good to know that I didn’t fail. It’s even better to realise that I still have that ability of stringing words together and building a story. The magic is still there, so to say, it probably has been there all along.
Even if the story is far from done. Even if the whole thing still lacks proper structure. Even if most of those 50 000 words suck.
The NaNo experience is not about creating a perfect text. It is all about writing and letting your muses run wild (which mine did. A Lot.) and having fun.
The result still needs major editing and several rounds of revision, but for the moment being, I’m quite happy with it.
My cats for their endless support and patience and all the hours they spend sitting next to me while I was typing.
All the NaNoWriMo staff who made something great and you keep making it better and better each year.
All my friends who were supportive and kept asking about the story.
And last but not least, all my amazing Writing Buddies – especially Mika Krüger, who already finished last Tuesday but still waited for me so we could cross the finish line together, and Jery, whose supportive, smart and funny messages were better than muffins, brownies and cookies – combined.
I love you guys, more than I can ever say (or write). You are beyond amazing.
After lots of caffeine and many many hours of typing, it’s time to look back at another week before starting a new one.
On the positive side, my characters finally started to turn into real people. I was especially worried about Will, the lead character and focalizer of the novel, who seemed just too well adjusted to have any kind of real personality. Luckily, my other main character saw it pretty much the same way and made it his personal mission to cause character development. And boy oh boy, was Will developing.
But it was not just him, but also the rest of the cast. They said things I never expected them to say, did things I didn’t plan for them to do, and put their feet down several times to let me know this was how they wanted things to go.
As E.L. Doctorow said, “Writing is a socially accepted form of schizophrenia.” It’s one I fully embrace though, for it means my characters finally started to have voices and talk to me :)
On the negative side though, my inner editor came back this week, just to remind me that this sucks!!! and to question how on earth that story was ever going to make sense (I can see the HUGE logic gaps from over here!). As predicted by the end of week two, the real battle was week three. And the battle is still ongoing.
Although… I’m currently two days ahead of the schedule, at 40 000 words. I’m so close to the finish line, and every word is another step towards it. I’m not going to give up now.
And to all my fellow writers: We are almost there! I’ll meet you at the finish line. And I’m going to bring cookies!
What a week this has been… there was a Friday the 13th, which is a day I love (I never had any bad luck on that supposedly unlucky day), and a meeting with fellow WriMos at Starbuck’s in Winterthur (if you are reading this, hi to everyone! It was an absolute pleasure to meet you).
It was also the second week of NaNoWriMo.
And surprise, here I am, still writing and still going strong.
That does of course not mean I didn’t have any of those doubts and setbacks that week two is famous for. In fact, I’m scared I’ll have more of those coming up in week three. But so far, I managed to fight through it, and yesterday, I breached the important halfway-line.25 000 words. Wow. Never even thought I’d get that far…
That calls for another massive THANK YOU to the amazing NaNo Community in general, and to my absolutely awesome Writing Buddies in particular.
And now, onto the next half!
I managed to write 12 714 word so far, and even though this is only slightly above the recommended word count (which is 11 666 for day 7), I’m so happy that I’m close to tears. Yes, I’m not even kidding.
Going into this, I expected everything. I expected to not even find the courage to start. I expected to be unable to write every day (I have a job that can be demanding and tiring, after all). I expected to get stuck without the words or the will to carry on. I expected my inner critic to set in and convince me it was no use anyway.
What I didn’t expect though was to be able to meet my goal of 1 6667 words pretty much every single day (sometimes I went over, and only once I went under). I didn’t expect to sit down and be able to type for two hours straight, then look up and wonder where the time went. I didn’t expect to get this sweet feeling of “writer’s high” (better than drugs, I swear) after a particularly successful writing session. And I didn’t expect my story to grow and develop so well.
Pretty low expections, you might say. Well, let me explain. The short version, at least.
The experience of NaNoWriMo has often been compared to slaying a dragon – or trying to, at least. For me, it is exactly that. But the dragon is not the challenge. The dragon is something within me.
Once, I used to be able to write for hours, to create worlds and stories with ease. I used to be able to novel.
But then things of a personal nature happened, and I was unable to separate them from the writing. In the wake of this, I had to abandon an unfinished, ongoing story (something I had never done before), and that just added to it.
Every time I wanted to write, I had to fight those bad memories as well as feelings of guilt and incapability. My inner critic grew stronger and stronger. I had always been a perfectionist, but this was beyond perfectionism.
Yes, I was still writing. Yes, I was still plotting. But I was plotting to infinity, feeling stuck and unable to ever turn those plots into words. And I was more or less just writing short stories. Good ones, yes, but what I really wanted to do was writing novels.
I managed to develop four projects that were all dear to my heart. I was longing to write them. But my heart was not into writing.
And then, this October, I was reminded of NaNoWriMo. I had wanted to participate for years, but every year in November, something else came up. Last year, I had my exam lessons for my teacher’s degree to get through, and back then I promised myself that next year, I would do it.
However, given my ‘writing trauma’, should I even try?
At this point, I decided that I had nothing to lose. This first of November, it would be do or die. Either I’d rediscover the magic, or I’d fail miserably. It was that easy. Yet I freely admit that I was scared.
Choosing a project turned out to be hard, but doable. Out of my four ‘works in progress’, one was already too developed (I had several chapters already written) and one was not developed enough (the rough plot was there, but there were still too many holes in it). And between the two remaining ones, I finally chose the less refined one. I also didn’t plot much – I had the beginning, the end, several ideas for the middle and a rough version of the main characters. And tons of details to fit in somewhere, of course.
The planner and the perfectionist in me were both terrified, but I felt I had to be this way.
And strangely enough, it seems to have worked so far.
What I’m already taking away from my NaNo experience is that I really need less pefectionism and more time to ‘just write’. Oh, and that statistics are surprinsingly motiviating. Every day, I’m looking forward to the moment when I enter my word count and watch the bars grow.
And I rediscovered not only my personal long-lost magic of writing, but also the fact that it helps so much to surround yourself with supportive people.
To all my writing buddies and all my non-writing-friends – I love you more than I can say, and I’m blessed and grateful to have you.
To all NaNoWriMo participants: Keep writing. Word after word after word.
Onto another week of magic!