How NaNoWriMo Inspired Me to Write Again

While writing in my traveling pocketbook during OctPoWriMo, I rediscovered my first entry I had written on December 1st, 2017 following NaNoWriMo 2017. I thought I’d share it on the first day of NaNoWriMo 2018.

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Yesterday, I finished NaNoWriMo with just two hours to spare. This was after writing 3,000+ words a day to make up for all the zero days I took.

I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it. I was up against a 10,000 word deficit a week ago and no matter how much I wrote, I would end back at the start[ing] point because the goal was always increasing by 1,667.

I had to overcome running out of ideas, lack of sleep, stiffness in my hands and elbows, my own cats, who only wanted to sit on my lap when my laptop was present.

50,000 words later I feel accomplished yet disappointed. It’s not my best writing, it’s not supposed to be, but oh wow! did I drag things out. The verbs are weak. The scenes are stagnant. There’s too much chit-chatty dialogue.

Part of me was reaching for that word count goal but deep down, I know that I actually suck at writing. Not just that but I lack the passion I once had for it.

There’s a difference between sucking but passionate and sucking [and] apathetic. You get no joy from the latter. Yes, there was that moment yesterday when I was excited, an adrenaline rush going through me when I had 2,500 words to go — 1000 words, 500 words, 100 words. Sweet relief!

But like last year’s win [2016] I found that I had created 50,000 words of filler and not a story.

I need practice. That’s the ultimate answer. NaNo is the most I write in a year and with the exception of a single poem [Paper Flowers] and scenes for my novel, I wrote nothing else.

So I decided to do this. My goal is to write something everyday — a poem, a glimpse of a story, novel scene, whatever.

On the days I miss, I will put the date on the page and nothing else. The page will remain blank.

My hope is that I can build a habit of writing and practice, expand my repertoire and write stronger stories. And empty my head of all the glimpses and glimmers of stories rattling around in there.

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I managed to keep that goal going for four days, then I dropped it faster than a New Year’s resolution.

But I was writing again. In March, I dusted off this blog and started posting what I was writing. On a whim, I signed up for the April A-to-Z Blog Challenge the day before it kicked off.

And I completed it but that’s not all.

I continued writing throughout the year and started submitting a few poems.

October was a whirlwind month. On October 1st, The Drabble accepted and posted my poem “Broken Gods”. Then Hypnopomp Literary Magazine accepted my poetry submission for their sixth issue.

The writing hasn’t always been easy. There are many areas I need to improve, but it’s progress.

Which is more than I could ever ask for.

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For those of you who’ve taken part in NaNoWriMo in the past, has it changed your writing habits? For better or for worst?

Let’s stay in touch during NaNoWriMo. Connect with me on Twitter! @sm_saves

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3 thoughts on “How NaNoWriMo Inspired Me to Write Again

  1. I think, and bear with me here, that you are a terrific writer who sometimes gets bogged down by her own perfectionism. There are times when this serves you well, where you kick my eyes in, be it in poetry or prose – but other times, you second-guess perfectly good parts and decide they aren’t cutting it. Also, NaNo isn’t a measure in that regard, mostly because you will be making choices you won’t normally make because of the time constraint.

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