Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Insecure Writer and NaNoWriMo



Today is November's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.




What makes me insecure this month?
NaNoWriMo, of course.

Waking up every morning for the rest of the month and wondering if I'm going to be able to write another 1667 words before the day is over isn't something I'd wish on my worst enemy. Besides, I have far worse things planned for them anyway.

I’m happy to say I met my NaNoWriMo quota for the first five days (yay!). And I owe it all to having created the story outline in October. I've learned many lessons during the three years I’ve spent (so far) writing my first story and one of those lessons is that it’s a good idea to put together your outline before you begin writing.

When else would someone write an outline, you ask?

Afterwards, if you're me.

When I began writing three years ago, all I had were individual scenes. No plot and nothing to tie the scenes together. Yeah, I know. Total newbie. But at the time I wasn't planning on writing a story. It was more of an intellectual exercise.

Eventually I worked up a plot and began ordering the scenes, but that turned out to be more difficult than expected. Scene X would have to go before scene Y, but after scene Z, while scene W would have to after scene Y but before scene X and... Arrrg! For a while I almost gave up trying to find an order that satisfied all the scene requirements, but eventually it all worked out. But I'll never begin writing a story again without having the plotline already developed.

So it's good that I have an outline in front of me this November. Unfortunately, I also see a potential downside. What happens when I run into a scene that's tough to write? Will I just sit there and fight my way through it, or will I glance down at my outline and skip ahead to a scene that’s easier to tackle? If I do too much of the latter, I'll wind up spending the last half of November with nothing but tough writing and my NaNoWriMo word counter will come to a grinding halt.

Wish me luck!

17 comments:

  1. Tackle it as you go, then reward yourself with an easy scene after that (and chocolate of course!)

    Good luck with the rest of NaNo, it is tough getting up every day knowing you have to do those 1667 words. But don't give up! You can do it!

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    1. I probably reward myself too much already. Unfortunately, my wife doesn't let me buy much chocolate. It disappears too quickly. Thanks for the encouragement.

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  2. I think we continue to learn as we go along, so you'll be making mistakes now that you'll kick yourself for later, too. So glad you are pushing through NaNo and making the word count. Keep it up!

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    1. Of course, I didn't make any progress last night with my NaNoWriMo story, bothe because of the election and because I was working on my Insecure Writer's Post. Hve to hit the word processor extra hard tonight.

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  3. Ken...there with ya, bro. But scenes are a good place to start. It's a lot of how I'm writing my NaNo effort, since I put my inner critic to bed. I'll deal with smooth transitions and all that in the second draft.

    Add me as a nano buddy if you'd like.

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    1. I'm not even worried about trying to make them smooth. Right now, even rough transitions are boring enough to slow my writing to a crawl.

      As far as being a nano buddy...
      Done!

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  4. Sorry I'm so late getting here. I'm #192 on Alex's list. I'm also a new follower. I think you've done an excellent job for only having been at it for 3 years. Nobody enters this profession for quick results. If they do, they've either got a horseshoe up their butt, or they're delusional. You're get to the end of November and think, "Sleep!"

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    1. Not late at all. I'm surprised that you could get to me (#75) this quickly.

      I hope I think "Sleep." I'm worried that at the end of November, I'll think "What can of crap did i just write?"

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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  5. Luck wished. :-) My story had two plot lines running concurrently for the first 2/3 of the book, so getting stumped with one just made me switch. Coming back to it after a scene or two in the other plot line usually worked for me--especially if I came back to it that same day.

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    1. That sounds like a good idea. I'll have to see if that works for scenes too.

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  6. Good luck with your draft. It took me a while to figure out what method works for me. I'm one of those who skips around and then fits it together. It's not the best method, but it works for me. Keep writing ,and again, good luck!!

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    1. I tend not to be a very linear person when it comes to reading or writing. I usually read three to four books at once, choosing whichever appeals to me at the moment. And I jump around a lot when I'm writing scenes too, depending upon which scene my muse is interested in at the time.

      Thanks for stopping by.

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  7. Good luck with NaNo! I outlined last year before NaNo, but about 1/3 of the way into the story the outline went window. :) I think that's sort of the fun part -- creating on the fly!

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  8. Have you ever heard the expression "eat the frog"? It has something to do with tackling the tough stuff first and leaving the easy stuff for later. I try to eat at least one frog a day, myself. Tackle a hard scene first, then allow yourself some fun.

    I'm writing short stories and finishing the last 15k of my WIP novel for Nanowrimo this year, so I have sort of built in ways to work on tough stuff and easy stuff. Luckily, finishing my WiP is turning out to be the easy days.

    Alas, I'm still an outline later kind of girl...
    P.S. Have I mentioned that your blog header pic is totally amazing?

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  9. Okay, about that luck, it's really persistence. I will wish you all the persistence you need. And if you get stuck, write at least one hard scene for every easy scene, and if you get stuck again, email me for ideas.

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  11. Sorry! Pikes Peak Writers was me. I commented under the wrong account then deleted it. Here is my comment under the appropriate account:

    If you run into a hard scene you can always get up and take a walk! I saw below how you said you enjoy fall and the outdoors, as do I. When I go for a walk, it clears something in my mind, and by the end of it, instead of that surge of endorphins other people get, I get the story worked through.

    Good luck with NaNo!

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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