I’m calling this Writing Since NaNoWriMo, but to be perfectly honest there has basically been no writing since NaNoWriMo. I finished (and won!) November with 50,006 words (which was bumped up to 50,008 words by the NaNoWriMo word count verifier), and since then I managed to get my story up to 51549 words one day near the start of December, but I basically haven’t touched it since. I was hoping to have my first draft completed by Christmas, but I think that’s unlikely to happen now, as I’ve hit a bit of a brick wall.
There are a few reasons why I’m struggling, but the main one is that it’s so much harder to keep motivated when there’s not the pressure of a strict deadline and everyone’s in the same boat panicking together. Setting my own deadlines doesn’t really work in the same way for me, because I know there’ll be no real consequence if I fail to meet my goal. When I had weekly write-ins to attend and I was trying to keep up with other people’s word counts, I felt like there was more to spur me on. Everyone was super encouraging of each other, and my twitter feed was filled with organised sprints and word count shout outs of people taking part all over the world. Since that’s finished, I’ve sort of lost my competitive spirit. Having a graph with a target bar that I could chase really made such a difference, but now I don’t even know what word count I’m aiming for anymore. I just want the story to be finished, but I don’t know how long that will take or what my eventual finishing word count goal should be.
The story itself is also presenting me with a fair few issues. I’ve got plot holes big enough to drop a bus through, and I really don’t like the ways in which some of my characters have changed. Their motivation’s unbelievable and all over the place, and I’m starting to feel like the story is actually not much of a story. The plot’s stupid, and there’s no real elements of drama. I’ve been writing in third person limited from a few different viewpoints, but now I think the story will be much more effective and will have a lot more mystery and suspense if I write it solely from one character’s point of view. Unfortunately, that would mean that around half of my current draft would be unusable, as I’d have to get rid of any scene that doesn’t involve her. It would be a pretty drastic rewrite, and so I don’t know whether to just crack on with that now and try to fix the story, or to focus on finishing the story so the plot’s clear in my head and then start the rewrite after I have a rough first draft (even though this would mean that a lot of the new stuff I write to finish the draft may end up being unusable too). It’s a bit of a dilemma. Either way, I think this is probably the right viewpoint call to make, but it’s really causing me a lot of problems. I suppose if I focus on finishing the draft as it is first, it’s possible that the viewpoint change might not seem so necessary once I’ve got a whole draft to read through. Basically, I just don’t know what to do right now, so I’m stalling for time and doing absolutely nothing.
Part of me is quite looking forward to finishing a first draft so I can get on with editing/rewriting, but the other part of me is terrified about finishing it because I will then had to edit/rewrite it. I don’t have a clue how to go about editing at all, so I’ve also spent quite a lot of time delaying by reading and watching various editing how-to guides. It’s given me quite a long list of things to watch out for which I know are already a problem in my writing (excessive use of the passive voice, pacing issues, inconsistencies in characterisation and continuity etc.), but it feels a bit overwhelming too. I’m feeling a bit daunted by quite how much work is still ahead of me. I highly doubt that I’ll be able to get a first draft completed by Christmas now, but my overall aim is still to get the whole ‘novel’ finished and polished and shiny by next November, in time for me to start all over again with a new project. It’s a really intimidating thought, but quite an exciting one at the same time. We’ll see, I have a fair few stages to get through before I’m anywhere close to achieving this, and there’s going to be a lot of hard work (and probably a lot of swearing and crying) ahead of me. Do let me know if you’re still continuing with your NaNoWriMo project, and we can cheer each other on! A bit of moral support definitely made all the difference for me in November, and there’s still a long way to go yet!