I have written a decent amount this month. It’s NaNoWriMo and for the first time I am joining in. It is not the 14th of November and I’m at 31,000 words.
It feels good to have written so much. I’ve been working on a story close to my heart. The characters are so vivid in my head and their stories make me laugh and cry. I love this story, and for the first time in my life I feel like it was written for me. By this I mean that I haven’t been thinking about publishing or agents or anything – every day I have sat down to write, I thought about the story first.
31,000 words marks the halfway point of the book. I have written the major scenes and some of the minor ones, but I skimmed over my words yesterday and I crashed.
There is something you should never do straight after writing a draft and that’s read it. I had never followed this rule before because it never bothered me when I thought it was bad. That work was always for someone else, whether it be a university assignment or literary magazine. I’ve never really cared for anything that I’ve written.
This book, however, I care about a lot. And it’s terrible. I have about 30,000 words remaining to complete the first draft. Scenes need extending and new scenes need writing. I know that there is a lot of restructuring to do – there is a lot to do! There is a part of me that is excited for the first draft to be done so that I can dive into the second draft and bring the novel together into a concise, ordered, and more coherent manuscript.
I just can’t bring myself to do it though, as much as I really want to. I know this might sound odd. I think it’s odd too, hence this blog post. I need a way to explore my thoughts.
The idea of going back to the story to add scenes and write new ones, knowing that I’m only adding to a draft that I am really not happy with, is daunting. Yesterday, I allowed that feeling to overwhelm me so I only wrote 74 words. I spent the rest of the day doing other work. I tried to start a new story to take a break from the other one, but I didn’t have the energy or inspiration for it.
Today, I have thought of a way to move past my insecurities and anxiety about the draft. It will probably mean that I won’t technically complete my NaNoWriMo goal, but at the end of that day, my writing is more important than a goal set by someone else. This is about me, and I have to be aware of that. My writing, my story, belongs to me.
I’m going to start the second draft now.
It sounds a little crazy when I put it like that, but here is why I think that is the best idea for now.
I have the bare bones of the story already written. I have 31,000 words that I can rewrite. I have an outline now, so I know what happens in each chapter and scene. I can pick one and work on it. I don’t have to jump back to the beginning, I can write any scene I want and come back to the beginning when I feel ready to.
To prepare for the redrafting of my story, I have around 6 A4 pages of notes on which I have organised the scenes into a more coherent structure. When I look at them, I can see the incredible possibility of my novel being complete. Finally.
Yes, after I have finished the second draft I will need to write a third, but I know that this draft is the hardest, because I have to pick apart a story I love to make it the novel I would want to read.
Writing this blog post has been so wonderfully therapeutic that I think I will write more updates on my writing in the future. Instead of letting the thoughts swirl around in my head, spiraling out of control and not allowing me to write, I will come here and find a way out of the void.
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