Post-NaNoWriMo Letdown

My final word count for National Novel Writing Month ended up at 59,117 words: a hair short of my personal goal of 60,000, but well over the official goal. I suffered from a precipitous drop in motivation near the end; I don’t think it’s because I passed the 50,000-word mark so much as I was losing track of where the characters were going. I mentioned in the last post that I was probably going to go back and do some editing on what I’ve written; now I feel like that’s a necessity.

During NaNoWriMo, I was sort of (sort of? how about totally) making things up as I went, and so the characterizations and setting details in particular tended to vary from scene to scene as I tried out different things. Now I want to go back and eliminate some of that, or else I don’t think I’ll be able to write the rest of the first draft, even if it is just a first draft.

I think that’s because of how I learned to write. Most of my longer stories up to this point have been fanfiction, where I would post a chapter at a time to the web, then get to work on the next chapter. So even to this day I have this overwhelming urge to make sure each chapter is in at least a readable state before I go on to the next one. Sort of like building a tower: you want to make sure that each level is secure before you move on, or the whole thing is going to collapse in a rickety mess. I know for others, a first draft is just sort of like throwing a bunch of stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks, but I don’t seem to work that way.

It’s been tough getting motivated post-NaNoWriMo, though… not sure why. I think partly it’s seasonal; December always tends to depress me. That’s partly because of the short days (I like sunny evenings), and partly the incoming holidays and New Year. (Yeah, I know, call me The Grinch. In a few years I’ll probably move to a mountain cave and spend my time plotting against the Whos.)

A messed-up sleep schedule hasn’t helped, either. My body still apparently remembers many productive writing sessions between 1 and 3 in the morning, because that’s still when my energy naturally peaks.

Oh well. For now I’m chalking up these last several days to “recharging the creative batteries.” I read the prologue of my NaNoWriMo novel to my writing group this evening, and got some good feedback, so hopefully that’ll spur me on to doing some editing.