Wishing this Novel Would Finish Itself…. The Post NaNoWriMo Drag

One of those days....Or months.

One of those days….Or months.

It’s been one of those weeks when the novel I’m writing is just a struggle. I’m not sure what should happen next or how much more should happen before the final showdown with the sorcerer villain. I don’t even know how that showdown should end when it comes! In contrast to most of November, where I had my outline and things were smooth sailing, now I’m almost at the end and I feel like I’m faltering. I know I’ll get there. But day after day of only getting one page written–and no page of which I’m thrilled with–has become a super frustration when the rest of my life apart from my fiction is in a state of total flux.

Nothing Worthwhile Comes Easy

It’s moments like this in the writing process that I remind myself it’s okay to feel like I’m floundering about. It’s okay to feel unsettled with the project. I’ve written enough that I’m confident the characters will sort themselves out, and beyond that: as everyone says, “Nothing worthwhile comes easy,” or “If [INSERT TOKEN CALLING HERE] were easy, everyone would do it.”

All of that’s true. I’m glad writing has its ups and downs and its struggles, because if it didn’t, what would finishing a novel matter? What sense of accomplishment would there be? What genuine pride in knowing “This was a battle, but I persevered and I got through it, and now I can say I prevailed. And because of this struggle, I can say I’ve gained the knowledge, experience, and confidence to shape me into a person more likely to persevere and triumph in other struggles too.”

So, if you did NaNoWriMo, and you’re disappointed with your results, or you’re tempted to just throw in the towel and not complete your project: hang in there! Take it one day, one scene at a time. However long it takes. The point of NaNoWriMo is provide a jump to get you started, and whether you have half a novel or a completed novel full of holes, 16,000 or 100,000 words…. What you’ve got is potential. What I’ve got is potential, and I know that, so I’m just going to struggle through as many one-page days as it takes until I hammer out that finished first draft (how that’s for an oxymoron?).

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12 responses to “Wishing this Novel Would Finish Itself…. The Post NaNoWriMo Drag

  1. I’m taking a breather, but plan on getting back to the novel next week. It really ended up being soggy trash, but you’re right, it’s a start. It’s always easier to have material to work with, than to start from scratch.

  2. I found it helpful when stuck on scenes in my current novel to remind myself of the backstories of the characters involved, combing my backstory notes and thinking of new material to add to backstories. I could often find some forgotten nugget of info about a character’s past that would fit nicely into the current scene and help move the narrative forward. If I learned more of a character’s backstory, it often could inject new energy into not only the problem scene, but the entire story.

  3. One of my favorite pieces of advice came from the comedian Stephen Wright. He said when he gets stuck, he, turns into a five year old with adult language skills. That inner kid will illicit perspectives and wonder we’ve long forgotten.

  4. Pingback: First Draft Composition: A Focused, Directed Vision is a MUST | Creative Writing with the Crimson League

  5. projectmomentarily

    Aliens have landed and you have five minutes to explain your story to them before they decide whether or not to let you live. What would you tell them? What would you leave out? Also works for disaster settings- that tsunami’s coming and you can only take a certain amount of pages of your story with you on the life raft. Would that change the way you’d end your story?

  6. I bet if you did a survey of writers, we’d all chime in with this, and have advise…(I’ve thought of several things to comment on here, but never mind…) When you’re in that place, that’s it. I like what you wrote about “it’s okay” – that is powerful, with writing, and life. Thanks! Paulette

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