Nanowrimo, and the Great Catch-Up Race

I’m struggling with the simple act of getting words on a page, and it sucks.

Every time I approach my laptop (or blank sheets of paper) my brain shorts out. I spent two hours staring at the screen last night and wrote exactly one word during that time, which I deleted before calling it a night. Every time I think of writing, I freeze.

We’re nine days into Nanowrimo, and I say “we” but I really mean “everyone else,” because I haven’t written a thing beyond an initial word sprint on the first day. My story just isn’t working for me. I’m definitely not looking for perfection, but this thing’s a hot mess. Even my pre-writing work is all over the place–the ideas are there, more or less, but they’re not put together in a way that makes even the slightest bit of sense. I’m not connecting with my characters. The story feels bland at best and moronic at worst. Writing it feels perfunctory and almost obligatory, in a way, and I am not the sort of person who enjoys feeling made to do anything, so I’ve been digging my heels in and distracting myself, rather than working.

I think I have to go back to the drawing board.

One thing that may be holding me back is the POV. I’m trying to write this in first person, but it doesn’t sound right. So, I’m thinking of taking the core of what I’ve outlined (dudes…my outline/note draft is 15 pages long) and abandoning one MC in favor of a third-person omniscient, mutli-perspective narrative. The best comparison I can make is that it’d be like ‘Salem’s Lot, only with the apocalypse instead of a vampire infestation. My MC, Camryn, would be the Ben Mears in this situation–spearheading most of the plot and acting as the primary hero, but she won’t be the story’s sole focal point. It’s probably going to be harder to write, since my lazy ass tends to default to first, but it might be what the story needs.

I’m about 16,000 words behind schedule (or I will be by tomorrow, anyway). I think I’m going to spend the rest of tonight trying to come up with a new game plan. And I’d better find my wrist splint, ’cause tomorrow’s going to be tough.

Wish me luck, y’all. Let the Great Catch-Up Race begin.

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How soon is too soon…?

To quit, that is. ‘Cause I’m already at that point, and it’s only the third of November.

My mood is shit. I’ve had four fucking job rejections in a forty-eight hour period, and that’s a special sort of demoralizing, particularly since I know I’m qualified (over-qualified, really) for all four positions. I’m down to my last $98 for the foreseeable future and I have no idea how I’m going to make more money. I tried to work on jewelry to sell, and the last piece I attempted to bake LITERALLY CAUGHT ON FIRE. I am fucked up over being such a fuck up.

So naturally, I’m not in the right headspace to write. Maybe it’s a bullshit excuse; I don’t know, and I don’t particularly care. I worked my ass off to get my concept/outline in working shape and it still sucks, and I hate it. The characters feel flat, the plot is stale, and any half-assed attempt I’ve made at actually working on the prose has been beyond awful. I can’t get the third act to make sense and I don’t even know if it can be fixed. And honestly, at this point, starting a project just feels like setting myself up for more failure. Predictable, bitter, endless fucking failure.

I really don’t feel like setting myself up to fail at yet another thing. All I do is fail. I’m tired of it.

Fuck it. Fuck it all.

Nanowrimo Prep: AHHHHHHH!!! Edition

Okay–I’m gonna keep this post short because the time crunch is real, and once again my procrastination has doomed me to finishing my prep work in less than 48 hours.

Ugh. Fucking procrastination.

Now, despite my sense of raw panic, I am not actually in terrible shape. I’ve been working off and on for the past few days on something that could technically be considered an outline, but is more like “super-detailed summary meets notes meets outline meets hot mess.” As of this morning it’s almost twelve pages long, single-spaced, and I am just now up to the third act. So, I’m not lacking ideas and plot points…the challenge is to finish plotting the third act, find and fill all the plot holes, organize this all into something that’s at least semi-linear and moderately coherent, and work on some character building stuff so that my cast feels a little less wooden and trope-y when I start to write on Thursday.

Also? NANOWRIMO STARTS ON THURSDAY. HOLY FUCK.

To add to this heady blend of chaos and anxiety, I have an interview this evening at 5. It’s for a seasonal retail position which, while hardly a “dream job” scenario, will definitely alleviate some of my financial stress if I get hired. I usually get nervous before an interview, but I’ve been so preoccupied with the novel stuff that it hasn’t set in until just now that I’m about to head out, unprepared, to talk to someone about this position. I’d freak out, but my panic dial has already been cranked up to eleven and there’s not a higher setting.

There’s so much to do. Sooooo much. Most of which, admittedly, I should’ve done earlier. And now the clock is most definitely ticking.

Anyone else working like crazy on their novel planning in these final hours? If so, good luck and godspeed, fellow procrastinating Wrimos!

Nanowrimo Prep: The Preppening Continues…sort of. Maybe?

This week is moving quickly. Too quickly for my liking, in fact. I’m sad that October is rapidly coming to an end because it’s by far my favorite month (though I am excited about November 1st, the unofficial Discount Candy Day), and I’m not ready to leave “spooky and weird” behind in favor of “domestic and cozy.”

Oh, yeah, and I’m also freaking out because I CAN’T. STOP. PROCRASTINATING.

Yesterday was kind of a bust, word-wise. I took a few notes but otherwise I didn’t get very far. I was working on making shrink plastic jewelry to (hopefully) sell before the end of the week, but yesterday’s project went tits-up in the end stages and it threw my productivity into a tailspin. Today? Same nonsense, alas. My phone won’t stop ringing, there’s emails to answer, I <i>have</i> to work on job applications today if I plan on finding a position somewhere before all the seasonal spots are taken, and still have to work on my novel prep.

And still…I’m procrastinating. Always. I can’t get my shit together, and I have no idea why. Fear of failure, maybe? Fear of success? Fear of screwing up before I’ve even started? Fear that I will always be stuck in this same tedious routine? Maybe all of the above, if I’m being honest with myself. But it’s up to me to break that cycle and make progress, if progress is what I’m really after. No one can make me function but me, and I have to be accountable for my work or lack thereof. The universe may have a huge hand in screwing me over, but I do myself a disservice every time I let my fears screw me over, too.

So today’s goals are gonna address the fear issue, I guess. There are three things on the agenda:

  1. Finish at least one jewelry set before bed.
  2. Complete three applications this evening.
  3. Write the blurb and one-page summary for my Nano-novel.

Easy, right? Right. Now, let’s do this shit.

Nanowrimo Prep: Crunch Time

Oh, man…time flies when you’re procrastinating like crazy, huh?

In all seriousness, it’s amazing how quickly we’ve flown through October. The weather here in Alabama has been really warm until recently, and to me it’s been hard to embrace to fall vibes when it feels as though we’re still very much in summer. Luckily, the days are getting shorter and the wind is picking up; the nights are starting to get cool and the shadows are starting to creep in during the day. It may still be a bit warmer than I like, but it’s finally starting to feel like autumn and my brain is grateful for it. I feel…awake. Alert. Ready to write.

Summer SAD is a bitch, really, and I’m so glad to shake it off. And now? Writing. So much writing. Yes.

Actual picture of the author at work. Obvs.

I had every intention of writing a few #preptober posts last week but, honestly, there wasn’t much to report. I was still feeling lethargic and cranky, my brain was full of summer-sludge, and it was incredibly hard to focus. That’s not to say that my mind wasn’t on my work; on the contrary, I did a hell of a lot of thinking. I like to just relax and let my mind wander when I’m in the early stages of novel prep, and in time I start to visualize scenarios, learn a bit about my characters’ personalities, etc. At that stage, though, it’s hard to put things to words because it’s still very fragmented (generously speaking. The correct term is actually “a hot mess”). Once the ideas start to become a bit more linear and/or coherent, it’s time for notes. Those notes lead to an outline. The outline hopefully leads to a draft. Maybe. In theory. Fingers crossed.

Today I’m very much in note-taking mode. I’ve listed most of my characters–most of whom still don’t have names, because naming characters is pure fucking evil and I’ve no idea how parents do it for children when I can’t even do it for a protagonist. I’ve been exploring my MC’s conflicts, both internal and external, how they define her, and how they’ll influence the plot. I have a list of things I need to research, and a research schedule, to prevent falling into a Wiki hole. I started a new Scrivener file, and added tracks to my 400+ song playlist. I’m starting the week off right, and feeling good. I just have to ride this momentum for the rest of the month, and then it’s WRITING TIME! (Word gods, help me. Also…is there a god of writers? Not the muses. A god/gods. Asking so I know who to suck up to when I struggle. Muses are fickle.)

Anyway, all of this rambling needs to come to an end. I need coffee and a lunch break, and then it’s back to work! I’ll be blogging almost daily from now until November, and hopefully as the days progress we can see a novel start to take its shape. I’m excited to see how this goes! Scared, too. But mostly excited.

Hope everyone’s prep is going well. Happy writing!