This Is More of a Somewhat Inspiring Journal Entry Than a Post

Yesterday, I was able to write over 6,000 words on my novel for NaNoWriMo (side note: you know you've spent too much time on twitter when you unconsciously try to add a hashtag to things like NaNoWriMo on your blog). That's more words that I've ever written in one day before. It brings me up to 37K. By the time I hit midnight, I was exhausted. Which was crazy, since I had barely moved from my couch. But my brain was SO tired. 

Unfortunately, I have been unable to write AT ALL today, due partly to the fact that I slept until 11:00 am (I went to bed at 3:00 am, so it's NOT that lazy... or so I tell myself) and partly due to the fact that I spent my afternoon at Sister-In-Law's house baking for the holiday. Tomorrow, I'll post the recipe and a few progress shots for these rolls. It's a recipe that I kind of stole and then made my own. I had a great time with the girls, even if I was FREEZING. I think I've mentioned that Sister-In-Law keeps her house a chilly 65 degrees. This may or may not have affected my bread's ability to rise.

So, no NaNoWriMo today and probably not much tomorrow. I'll take the laptop to Sister-In-Law's parent's house tomorrow, but I'm not sure how much I'll get done. Likely as not, they'll make fun of me for being on my computer when I'm with company. But half of them will be napping in front of a football game, so it's not like it's rude or anything. We're all family anyway. But I'll still get made fun of, because that's how it is when you're the youngest, excluding the grandchildren. And, actually, I'm now rethinking having my laptop near the grandchildren... Hmmm...

Anyway, I'm making progress in a way I haven't managed in over a week. I reworked some of the sections and changed my timeline a bit. I did some *gasp* editing, which is a NaNo No No. But I restrained myself and only edited where I needed to add new material to keep things consistent. And even though I found myself obsessing about typos, structure, word choice, and pace, I left most of it alone. If I thought that I was typing something inconsistent, I checked and fixed what I could and highlighted the rest. There were things that made me cringe and things that made me think, "Who the heck wrote that? Because it certainly WASN'T me..." I'm feeling simultaneously optimistic and defeated.

I've been saying for weeks that I really should be aiming for about 75K-90K words, instead of the requisite 50K. And that's never more clear to me now. First of all, 50K is only 200 pages--a lot of the books I read and enjoy are more like 300-360 pages. So there's that already. And then there are many (including Stephen King, I think) who say that your second draft is just your first draft minus ten percent. And what with these DAMN PUPPIES, I think my second draft will probably look more like minus thirty percent. So maybe 100,000?

Right now, in the throes of this, I feel like the book is going nowhere. Even after finishing what I think is an excellent scene or finding JUST the right words to get my point across, I will sit back and think, "Yes, but as a whole, it sucks..." I have these great dreams of writing a story that people read and think about long after they finish it. I dream of writing a story that touches someone deep inside their soul and changes how they look at the world, if only for a few days. And every time I back up from the immediate scene, I know this book isn't even close to accomplishing those things. And that's so discouraging.

But you know what? This is my first novel. And I'm actually writing it. It might will probably never get published. It may never get a full edit, unless the many of you who offered to read it and rip it to shreds were serious. And even then, I'm not sure it will ever be good enough. But I'm writing it. I'm going to finish it. I WILL write 50,000 words by November 30th. I WILL write all the way through the final chapter, whatever that contains. Everything after that is just cake, right?

So for those of you doing NaNoWriMo along with me this month, STICK TO IT. I'm just as lost as you are. But we're doing it! And so many people have already given up and will give up before next Wednesday. But you and me? WE'RE STILL AT IT. And I am so proud of us. 

For those of you who didn't think you were up to the challenge this year, I encourage you to get writing anyway. Don't worry about 50K. Don't worry about November 30th. Just write. Because we all have words in us. We all have stories to tell. And who know what? Yours might change someone's life. It would be a shame if it never got written. 


  1. Sarah Pearson11/24/11, 3:58 AM

    I love this post for so many reasons. I'm pretty sure that you were convinced you couldn't do this when you started out, and look at you, almost there. First drafts aren't supposed to be good, they're just supposed to be finished. It's easier to edit words than fill a blank page. Do you know how many people never finish a first draft? No, me neither but it's a LOT. I'm so proud of you, and I hope you take a moment to be proud of yourself.

    Happy Thanksgiving, sweetie.

  2. Thank you, Sarah! This was very sweet and incredibly encouraging.