Ok, this sh*t is harder than I thought it would be. I have a huge, new found respect for Danielle Steel. I’ve heard her story was that she was a single parent trying to raise children during the day and write at night. And once she figured out her “novel formula” she was able to get book after book written and published.
Here’s what I’ve learned trying to do #nanowrimo while working full time, with a full time working husband, and two young kids.
I may have bitten off more than I can chew. To be fair, some of this is my fault. I can’t stay away from my blog, so technically – instead of being here writing this post, I should be chugging away at my chick lit novel. I’m realizing with my life commitments, and the fact that if my kids aren’t at school or daycare, I have to make arrangements to take care of them so that I can write unless they’ve gone to bed. And once they have gone to bed, I’m so mentally exhausted most days writing is just resulting in awful fluff that I’m going to have to edit (or mass delete) anyway.
Winning #nanowrimo for me is (this year) is going to be 25,000 words. Yes, I’m dropping the requirement by 50%. But that doesn’t mean I won’t write the other 50%. I just will push some of it into December. My new goal is first draft by December 31st.
It’s the most frustrating thing ever to not be able to write when the inspiration strikes. I’m sure a lot of non-parents feel this way too. It’s the most frustrating thing EVER to feel inspired and have an idea of what you want to write and where you want things to go, but you cannot go do it because… oh I don’t know… you’re changing a diaper, or you’re working on a presentation deck at work. I’ve started jotting down my thoughts to make sure I don’t forget them and then trying to push the feeling out of my head. Maybe other writers and artists feel this way too: when the passion boils, you just want to do it right then and there. But you can’t, and it sucks!
The middle of your book is the hardest to get through. I know that was the subject of today’s pep talk for #nanowrimo, and it is so very true. I feel like I’m in the meatiest section of my book. My main characters have all been introduced, they’ve all met, they are starting to interact with each other. I’ve committed them to certain things. Then I realized, oh no – something else would be a much better plot twist. But I can’t go back, so I’m trying to work in new ideas as I keep moving forward and then plan to edit the first bits when I go back. The middle is hard, it’s the bulk of your book, but it’s the stuff you have to go through to get to the end.
Writing sleep deprived, distracted or mentally exhausted isn’t always worth it. Sometimes, I could barely remember auxiliary characters names. I keep having to reread what I write. Sadly, as a full time working mom of two – sleep deprived, distracted or exhausted are mainstays in my life – I actually don’t know a time in the last 4.5 years when I wasn’t at least one of those.
When you have to work for work in the evenings it hurts your progress. I work with Asia, so on evenings I have to take calls with Asia I lose that much time to write, or unwind, or do anything persnal after work. This part really sucks for #nanowrimo. I feel like I could get past it if there wasn’t that time deadline on first draft.
My first draft is sort of, well, crap. Yes. I admit it. I think it’s coming along. But what I’m realizing is #nanowrimo is about just getting your words out. It’s sort of written vomit, if you please. Because if you don’t get something written and get past the blank page that so many would-be novelists face you’ll have nothing to edit and fix and make into something beautiful (and hopefully marketable, in my case).
Ok, rant’s over. I’ve learned. And now, I’ve got 20 minutes before I get on the phone with Asia. I should be able to crank out 300 words for my novel, right?
Have Kids, Will Work