So here I am, on Day 29 of NaNoWriMo, sitting at barely over a third of my word count. This means in order to complete NaNoWriMo I merely need to write 32,875 words tomorrow. Time to stock up on coffee!
Seriously, though, I’m not going to finish this year (duh). And to be honest, it doesn’t bother me. It’s been a crazy, hectic month, full of change and apartment-shopping and moving and exploring a new city and meeting people, and I figure moving to a new city and completely upending your entire life is as good as reason as any not to write 50,000 words in a month.
But that’s not really the reason. If I’m honest with myself, I could have made time to do the writing. No, the real issue was the story.
NaNoWriMo is supposed to be a time of carefree writing, when quality takes a back seat to word count, when you’re willing to put all sorts of crazy stuff in your story, because hey, why not? You’re writing a novel basically for the sake of writing a novel. And I was able to start strong with that mindset, but once I had written a few scenes I began to get a much better picture of how my new writing fit with the first part of the novel– the part I had done last year.
After that I didn’t want to just bang another 50,000 words in isolation. I wanted to slot the scenes in with the already-written ones, add some more scenes to the earlier part, and really try to piece together the overall form of the first draft of the novel. But that’s not really NaNoWriMo anymore. As soon as I combine the pieces, I don’t have an isolated word count, and I certainly can’t claim (even facetiously) that I’m writing a sequel.
When I went to NaNoWriMo write-ins and tried to bang out the word count, my heart wasn’t in it, and that was when I mentally quit. Since then I’ve taken a step back, and done some of the things I’ve wanted to do– combining the two pieces into an 85,000-word manuscript, revising the outline, and trying to get a grip on the overall structure of the plot. I’ve also dabbled in some short stories (one of which still needs to be revised in time to submit for the Writers of the Future contest in December), and of course moved into a new apartment. One with a much nicer writing space than the old extended-stay hotel/apartment I was staying in, where the only space for a desk was basically a two-foot extension of the kitchen counter. (If you missed it, see it here).
I never got a single word of the novel written there. Maybe I’m just too picky. But at my new place I have a desk, with elbow room, and a window, and hopefully at some point a whiteboard on which I sketch out ideas without being restricted by a computer screen. I hope I can finally finish it, or at least the first draft.
Then next year I can start from scratch on NaNoWriMo– if it seems like the right thing to do. Who knows, I may be in the midst of my second novel by then.