Monday, November 5, 2012

I'm in a hurry, and don't know why... or how I set myself up for Nanowrimo failure

For the longest time, Alabama was just a band who sang that song about being in a hurry and not knowing why. Eventually, I recognized Alabama was also a state. And with time, I came to learn that Alabama is along the Gulf coast and NOT, as I had always suspected, up around Nebraska and Kansas. Mock me all you want, dear American readers, but until you can place New Brunswick and Nova Scotia on a map, you're only mocking yourself :D

My knowledge of geography is improving greatly, but Alabama will always come to mind first as the band who sang that song about being in a hurry and not knowing why. I've been listening to it a lot (mostly in my head, given my low tolerance level for country music) over these last few days as I mull through my problem writing my November Novel. Really, it all comes down to the fact that I rush and rush until writing's no fun.

  • I know you have to train your way into shape for a marathon when running. I failed to recognize the same idea when writing. Having not had the luxury of time to do creative, personal writing, for years, I thought Nanowrimo would be an excellent way to kick my butt into gear. Going from 0 to 50,000 words in 30 days would only prove how out of writing shape I am. 
  • My plan was to let November kick me into shape in a hard core, boot camp writing work out. Other than outlining the plot, I did no research, no intense planning. As a result, I didn't have a single name picked out. I hadn't done an ounce of research, despite the fact that I quickly realized how much research should have been done.
  • I thought I was aware of how I should pace myself - 1500 to 2000 words a day. However, the last creative writing I did was playwriting. Prior to that, it was short fiction. The longest piece I had written was a screenplay during the Christmas break of Grade 12. I flew quickly through it, basing it on the exploits of my friends. To try to write my first novel during a competition didn't account for the fact that while I may have been able to pace my words, but that I also had to pace the plot line. 
  • I didn't have a back-up plan. I found myself hating my protagonist in the first chapter. The nature of NaNoWriMo focuses more quantity than quality, so re-writes and revisions should be kept to the minimum. I couldn't come up with an idea to restructure to add some more compassion but I also didn't have the time or desire to do so. 
With that said, I don't think it's a surprise that I will setting aside the novel. Instead, I'll be reworking my NaNoWriMo plans. I took the weekend off (because writing for part of a week was so hard :D) and will instead make sure I am writing something on a daily basis. The hope will be that it will be creative writing or reflecting on creative writing, but I'll be flexible on that, as well. I won't focus on the word count. Instead, I'll focus on getting into proper writing shape. I might even go back and read some of my old writing, just to remind myself I can do it!


  1. haha yeaaa I met someone who was like you don't know where oklahoma is and I turned to her and said "can you place british columbia on the map? I don't think so!"

  2. Do you find reading your old writing like reading someone's? I always have trouble going back to something because I'm never in the same mindset. One of the hardest problems for me last year with Nano is I did all the planning, outlining, researched my characters and world building... but I felt like I'd lose the voice. Or read something I wrote 3 days prior and not feel like I wrote it.

    I should mention that I do know where Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are, but I also have friends up that way and that's influenced what I know of Canadian geography. I probably couldn't tell the difference between Nebraska and Kansas on a blank map.

  3. Writing every day without the constraints of having to work on your novel sounds like a good idea. Maybe get into the daily habit of writing first? It's a pretty big accomplishment just to write every day for a month regardless of word count. Good luck and have fun with it!


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