Tips for the Mid-Month, Downhill Nano Slide

Oh NaNo, we always start off so well don’t we and then you go your way and I go, well …

Here’s the truth. I wrote more than 10,000 words this month on my manuscript. Not all of it got recorded on my NaNoWriMo account but I know because every morning I’ll rework a little section from the day before and tweak words or descriptions, which doesn’t “add” to my word count goal of the day.

So yay me write … uh, right?

Well, yes and no. We are at the point in both the story and NaNoWriMo where everything becomes that much harder. If you are participating, you are probably stretched way too thin, have been having too much caffeine to give yourself a boost to get through just another 500 words and, because you can’t resist, you just read what you’ve been writing all this time only to discover that it is just … ugh!!!

Or maybe that’s just me. Could be it’s just me.

Hopefully, your writing is going a lot better and you’ve just spent 18 days writing sheer perfection. That would be nice, I think.

But, in case you are like me, I’m going to share some advice I gave to a writing group I belong to. Take what you need from it, ignore the rest, and know that works for me, may not work for you and vice-versa:

Writing isn’t supposed to be easy, it’s actually really hard work. If you stop every time it gets hard, usually just as you start the middle part of the novel–which is the main, slogging section that stretches on for pages when you have no idea how to get from point A to point B–you will not learn the art of finishing a novel.

There will always be another new shiny story to tell. I know my brain is full of them, especially when I’m bogged down because I can’t figure out what my characters need to do or should do or what will make my story not be so blah. 

Some days you do simply need to walk away and give your mind a rest, especially when you are working at a writing rate that you are not used to. Yes, I know, it’s one month of crazy writing, but this year especially, even one month of writing like crazy may be a bit much. Take a breather. Get some fresh air. Close your laptop. Doodle. Knit. Read. Bake. Or simply close your eyes and let your mind wander. Try and come back to the story after you’ve done that.

As for my NaNoWriMo novel, it’s unlike any of my other stories, which is good because I need to try new things and grow as a writer. This particular story is in a new-to-me genre, historical fiction, and features a boy protagonist. My work is also barely a first draft.

I have tons of holes and missing scenes, etc. (which is how I generally work) that need to be fleshed out, but I have no idea how to fix what’s already there. Do I throw it all out? Do I start from scratch? Does any of it get salvaged?

Here’s what I can tell you … I am NOT done with this story. I will slog my way through it and try and figure out how to make it the best it can be.

I participated in a writing workshop last week and several of the authors mentioned making lists or notes as they are working, I may try that to see if I can jump start my creativity that way.  

Will I finish my novel this month? Nope, not happening. One day maybe I will finish NaNoWriMo with a completed manuscript … or not, and I’m fine with that. 

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