No fresh shipwrecks have occurred this November. No new storms blowing in on the westerly front. Except my life is still a shipwreck, that we are piecing back together, and it’s been a hard November motivation wise with that alone. It’s been a long trying year. I know I’m stronger for it, I know I have found new depths to resilience. But I also know that I’m worn out. I’m tired of shoring up.
So it’s been challenging doing NaNoWriMo for me. The most challenging part was the showing up this year. My brain would be in a fog. I wouldn’t have the energy. I wasn’t feeling the passion yet. I wanted to feel the passion and thought if I could find that the rest would follow. Or I could ride the adrenaline of the passion.
But my life has been a ticking clock of worries this past year, so those ticks didn’t stop for November. And add this thing that means so much to me, to the pile, and it all just toked louder.
I finished a WIP that had been many years in the making. It was a distraction project that should have been quick and easy. It was not. But I was determined so I plowed forth. I finished a month before NaNoWriMo started, and then started with the downward slope, of how do I do this again?
I thought I would ride a high. I would be like YASSSS!!!!! I did the thing. Now I know I can do it. Instead I was like, now I know how much work and time it was, and this was supposed to be the easy project. The next thing up is the hard project. If the easy project was this much hard, how much harder will be the hard project.
I thought I will re read my past stuff on the hard project. That will make it easier. See what I have, and play fill in the blanks. But I ran out of time, and somewhere in the back of the ticking and the toking was a murmur. It said, you have outgrown what you have already written. It said, you need to rewrite.
I didn’t understand why though till now.
Now I know, that my skills have changed. I am better. That easy project taught me a lot, and I have better tools than before. What I really needed to do, was build the foundation of my novel up again from the bottom. I had good bones, but I needed a steadier start. I had good ideas, but I needed a stronger voice.
It’s near the end of November, and I know with absolute certainty I am not going to win NaNoWriMo this year. It’s not in the cards. But this year, I’m feeling like despite my shipwrecked life, and the ticking and toking of the clock, this is the best choice for this project. To make this the best project I can, giving it the time and space it needs to be written, is the best thing I can do for it. That decision right their, bam, huge weight off my shoulders. HUGE!
I feel now like I can show up to writing and be productive but not feel the stress either. That I can set a deadline that is more of a marathon pace, than this constant sprint. I’m going to keep writing, but I’m not going to kick myself while I’m down if I miss a night. If I need to miss a night and do other things, like recharge and be with friends.
They say writing is about sacrifice. About committing and making it come first. We’ll right now I need to come first. The machine that does the writing, she needs to be taken care of.
They say that first drafts are for just for the writer, and I never truly understood that till now. While this draft is more deliberate, more clean than anything I’ve written before, it’s still clunky. There are still things in there that need to be finessed, but that is later. That is for edits when I make this book for not me. While it’s just for me, while I am setting up my chess board, I’m allowed to be obvious about it. I’m allowed to overwrite.
I wanted to be subbing to an agent by my 32nd birthday. I think that is a bit unrealistic. If I wasn’t working full time, then yes, I could do that. But working full time, I would simply burn out. My birthday is 3 months away, and I know the lifting that still needs to go into the finished WIP. It’s not ready for an agent. And I’m not sure I want that to be the book. I kind of want this one to be the book.
Their is a thing that I have bookmarked for this summer. A mentorship I want to try out for. Free. Online. But it’s like querying and auditioning, and I want to take Paris through that. That will be my new goal.
So these are my thoughts post NaNoWriMo (I know I still have a few more days). But this is what is preventing me from napping right now, and I desperately need a nap because we just finished the overnight write in, and I have plans this afternoon. My anxiety kept ticking about, and I need it to stop. If I didn’t have plans, I would sooth it with endless episodes of TV. That is the balm it demands sometimes. Distract me so I forgot, that I can’t control things and am anxious about the things I can’t control.
It’s been a challenging November, but then again that has been the theme of 2016 for me. I’ve learnt a hell of a lot, but I think next year, can we have more joyous life lessons, that don’t come with the hard nocks.
P.S. Secret name for this project is Paris Above. Or Paris for short.