Last week I talked about being in need of a rest because I was so tired from working hard on my NaNoWriMo project and my editing project. Well, this week I passed the 50,000 word mark on the NaNo project! That is the word count that everyone aims for when they start at the beginning of the month and I passed it at the end of week 3.
The day after my day of rest I returned to my laptop full of enthusiasm and full of life to get into it again. So if your body tells you that you need a break, listen to it. It may help you because after that rest you may find you are all the better for it afterwards as I was.
On Friday I had 4,000 words between me and the NaNo finish so I buckled down and I completed them. I have never written so many words before, but I could taste the end and I wanted to cross that finish line so badly. Plus I am determined to write the whole thing not just the NaNo target.
I started the week at 40,000 words and I had to hope I had enough story in my vague outline to get me through to the 50,000 word mark. And I did.
But now, well, I’m struggling. It’s as though I have finishing stage fright. I’m on 61,000 words and I’m starting to seize up. My books are never very long, between 72-79,000 words long, so I don’t have much left to go and I hope to finish soon, maybe a couple of days into December. But I really am getting the fear. My minimal outline did me well up until this point, but finishing, the blank page is terrifying me again. The words are seizing up. The story has stopped flowing. I don’t know what to do or where to go. I hate endings.
I don’t usually like first drafts full stop. The blank page is a terrifying creature. I much prefer to edit when you have the scaffolding there with which to work with. But the blank page, it’s nothing and you’re expected to make something of it. I was surprised I managed to write story up to the 50,000 word point and I had really enjoyed it. I feel like I typing words for the sake of it and it doesn’t feel like the beginning of the story felt. I’m going to have to stop soon and read it through, feel how the novel reads and see where it starts to go awry or maybe it’s on track and it’s just me. But I do need to figure that out and the only way to do that is by reading what I have done so far.
The editing project is still coming along. I don’t know whether I told you but the feedback was quite vague that I’m working from, but I’m still plugging away at the manuscript anyway and I have found a couple of areas where I think changing them will make it better. I’ve taken a slight reveal of a character’s personality out of earlier chapters because I think it comes in too soon, but a big scene has now come up and I haven’t yet foreshadowed it, so I have to move some scenes around and add some small scenes in so it’s not such a surprise. I’m hoping that this will be completed in about two weeks. I would say both projects will probably complete about the same time and then I can get them both off my desk, have a couple of days off then get on with the next project. I will, of course, keep writing this weekly post and keep you up to date with what my writing life is like. I never sit and not write for long periods of time – unless of course, I’m really ill and even then I manage to do a little work. It will be interesting for me to log those weeks when they happen.
One of the things I have noticed while I have been so focused on my writing is that my to-do list is falling by the wayside. I have a to-do app on my phone and every day I usually cross a couple of items off the list. I’m so engrossed with work that I am not progressing much else. Nothing is getting crossed off. I might be being productive in my writing, but it’s at the detriment of the rest of my working life. Other things that need doing.
Let me know what your writing life or reading life has been like this week.
Margot Kinberg says
I’m very happy for you, Rebecca, that you made so much progress! And I couldn’t possibly agree more that it’s important to listen when your body says to rest. I’m looking forward to reading what you’ve created.
Clare Chase says
Congratulations on reaching your target so quickly! For the last bit of the novel, I’m sure you’re right and re-reading what you’ve drafted so far will help. A similar thing happened to me with my current WIP and a re-read plus a few days just mulling over options before trying to write got me to the finishing point. (Mind you, I’m not at all sure about the end result! Back to the laptop…)