NaNoWriMo diaries – day #13

I am admitting defeat.

Wow, that doesn’t sound so nice, does it.

I haven’t posted the last two days because the only things I could have written about are the things I’v already talked about on repeat: I am not getting into this, flow doesn’t come, writing is hard.

Today, I’ve taken a long hard look at the last two weeks, at myself, at how I feel while writing and at my story, and realised: this won’t work.

I’m not a big fan of giving up. I like to see things through, even when it gets hard. But sometimes, quitting something doesn’t equal giving up. Sometimes, it’s a viable choice.

I thought about throwing in the towel a few days ago already but told myself to hang in there, to write myself out of it. Then I realised there were quite a few hiccups in my plot. I resolved to still go on, to make time for an elaborate plotting session and start fresh, with new enthusiasm after that.

It was that plotting session that put the lid on it. I still love a lot about my story, but quite frankly, I sold myself short. It has quite a few features that are entirely uneccessary and just build to bulk it up. In quite a few points of the story, I had my eye on a future book, a second part, while I neglected to test the strength of the internal structure of the actual book I tried to write.

It showed. Many of the things I wrote feel vague. They lack focus and sharpness, and they are not what I want to write.

Another problem was the novella I wrote before that. In it, much of the political circumstances are explained. I wrote from that point of knowledge, but my reader wouldn’t know that. The story I was writing during NaNoWriMo didn’t have that information. It was lacking depth, worldbuilding and it didn’t embed what was happening into the reality of that world.

Now, you might say that those are things that can be edited in later, and I agree. I wrote remarks down in the chapter notes on Scrivener and wrote on.

But it still didn’t feel right.

I never once fully arrived in my story. My mind hasn’t wandered of to the imaginary lands of Ediria once in those last weeks unless I consciously directed it there.

I talked with a friend about how all of the plot came crumbling down on me, how some of the basic premisses I set it on didn’t add up, and how I would have to restructure most of it. Throw things out. Maybe get rid of a characer or at least change her role completely. And it all just sounded tedious. I wasn’t excited. I still am not.

I am always excited about my stories. This is new. This has never happened.

I cannot say what it is, that makes it so. Circumstances? The fact that currently, other matters take up a lot of brainspace and there is, in total, only so much of that? A lack of truly exciting features to my story?

Probably a mix of all of that.

One thing is for sure: I don’t enjoy writing at the moment, and the prospect of going to my story doesn’t fill me with joy. And it’s not the work that I am dreading, because I showed up and wrote, if only a little, every day. I produced 20k in those two weeks, despite being utterly disenchanted with the story.

So it’s not the work. It’s the love that goes into the work that is lacking, which is why I decided to pull the plug and quit NaNo at this point. I don’t mind writing being hard work sometimes, but I need to be able to embrace that prospect with a love for what is at the core of what I am doing.

Writing those words is not what I had imagined. It saddens me, because I had been looking forward to NaNo a lot (Though I have to admit that the childlike excitment I felt last year and several years before, never came. Maybe I should have payed more attention to that fact).

As much as I would love to claim otherwise, since deciding that I’ll stop writing this project right now, I feel better. It’s like a load off my shoulders. I’ll get back to it at some point and will work hard to fix it. But not today. Not this month.

It also means, I’ll have to re- calibrate my goals and general roadmap for this blog. But as we close in on the end of the year and 2017 already looms on the horizon,  it’s not the worst that can happen.

What I can say with conviction is this: this blog has already made me a better writer and a better judge of my own work. It has also made me more humble and keeps pushing me to ask more of myself and my writing.

NaNoWrimo 2016 might be over for me, but it’s onwards and upwards from here.

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2 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo diaries – day #13”

  1. I think one of the most important things we do as writers is realizing when a story just isn’t working. It happens to everyone. In fact, I just heard Stephen King say on one of his audiobooks that it happens to him. There’s comfort in knowing that sometimes it just doesn’t pan out.

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    1. I am pretty certain that I’ll let go easier when I’m on King’s level 😀 But you are right. It’s important and this one wasn’t. What was worse was, that while I was looking forward to it so much, had put so much work into it, when the actual writing was happening, I did not enjoy it. And I wasn’t prepared for that. Not at all. But in the end, while I am sad that I had to kind of abandon ship, I am okay with how things went. Sometimes, it just all goes down the drain.

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