NaNoWriMo, week 3 – Pushing On

keep calm and just do it When I started writing in week one I knew there would come a day when my enthusiasm will eventually die, just like I know that after a high comes the terrible low. That is why I was so determined to write more than the average amount of words required to finish my novel on time. Well, that day came during week three, but truth be told it was more like days. I got to know the characters and they had no surprises left to reveal. The story moved forward but it happened slowly. Writing was not swimming in the sweet waters of inspiration anymore but more like fighting the currents while trying to catch fish with my bare hands. It got difficult. Just the thought that I had to sit down and fill the screen with words made me nervous. Suddenly, there were more interesting things to do, like checking email and Twitter and see what photos my Facebook friends had posted since last time I checked which was ten minutes ago. And time began to slip away, which made me even more aware of how much more work I had left to do.

Word races became a necessary routine. I showed up at the 10 p.m. sessions and began to type away. It felt great to work knowing that other people were doing the exact same thing at the same time. I even raced by myself one night when no one else was around on Skype. It did me good.
And even though most of these times I just showed up and began to type without the slightest idea of where I was going, one night I managed to write a scene that scared me so badly I had trouble going to sleep and kept looking at the bedroom door and imagining things. I have no idea how that scene got there but it’s one of my favorite parts of the whole story.

In an attempt to get more ideas I looked back on what I had written. And there, on printed pages I had typed just a few days ago was an entire section I had just written. That made me panic, so I put the pages away in a drawer and vowed not to look at them again until all this was over.

Read, read, read, and I say it three times just to show how important this is for me. From Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman (borrowed from a friend) to The House of Doctor Dee by Peter Ackroyd (picked up at a second hand book sale), to blogs and online newspapers. Without reading it would be difficult to write. I look for inspiration, for ideas that can help me dislodge that big boulder which stands in the way of my story.

I took up running again, something I’ve been doing on and off for years. But this year something was different, because my determination to write 50k by the end of the month had began to seep into other aspects of my life. This time I did not stop when I felt like I had no air. I slowed down a bit and kept going. All I could see was someone holding a big banner with 50,000 written in big red letters on it. And I pushed on and on and did not stop for 30 minutes. It may not be a lot for many people but it was something I hadn’t done in years and felt so good I almost cried.
The story is never far from my mind. I knew how to start it and the characters that would play a crucial role in the story, but now that the end is getting closer, things got a little murky. I have no idea how to end it so I keep writing. I began to add more details and I’m constantly thinking of new ways to make the story more gripping. I want to write the kind of book that would make readers say I didn’t see that coming, and turn the next page and the one after that because they just have to see what happens next. Will the woman with a secret get her wish? Will she have to die for it in the end? Is there hope at the end of it all, maybe a happily ever after, or will everything end in a bloodbath? I guess I’ll have to keep typing to find out.

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8 Responses to NaNoWriMo, week 3 – Pushing On

  1. Good for you, Delia! It’s interesting what you say about the resolve spilling over into the exercise too. I find that as well. When I do what I’m supposed to do in one area, it’s easier in other areas. When I take the easy option on food or exercise or chores, I’m more likely to skip writing. Glad to know you’re on track, and hope you have a good celebration planned for when you hit 50,000. You deserve it 🙂

    • Delia says:

      Thanks for the support, Andrew. It really means a lot.
      I think it’s easier to get things done once you’re in a determined mood for whatever reason. That’s why when these moments come I grab onto them with both hands. I took a break from writing for a few months so I guess now it was about time things changed. It comes and goes in waves.

      My story is a bit all over the place now but hopefully it will get into some sort of shape in the coming months. When I’m done I’ll probably just walk around with a silly grin on my face. 🙂

  2. Vishy says:

    It looks like the third week was tough, but glad to know that you are battling it out, Delia. You are a warrior, you can do it! 48000+ words is very impressive! Congratulations! I loved this sentence from your post – “Writing was not swimming in the sweet waters of inspiration anymore but more like fighting the currents while trying to catch fish with my bare hands.” I am dreaming that maybe it will get into your novel somehow. Would love to read that again. Hope the ending flows interestingly and smoothly from your pen and it surprises you and makes you happy. You know they say that after a while a story takes a life of its own and moves in directions that the author doesn’t even anticipate 🙂

    Have a wonderful fourth week! Looking forward to cheering your across the finishing line. Happy writing!

    • Delia says:

      Hi Vishy

      The story definitely went to places I never knew it could get to and this is one thing I love about writing – being surprised. It is truly a wonderful feeling. I can feel the end getting closer, even though I’m not sure exactly how to get there yet.
      That sentence you mentioned was my favorite – I am going to write it down for safekeeping, you never know when I might need it. 🙂

      • Vishy says:

        Wonderful to know that the story took you to surprising places, Delia!

        I just saw that you have crossed 50564 words! This is so awesome, Delia! Congratulations! So proud of you and admire you so much!

  3. Brian Joseph says:

    I think that success in these big endeavors really depends on pushing through when days are bad, especially when one bad day follows another. It is extremely impressive that you have stuck with this and are continuing on!

    Your allusions to the plot have made me very curious about the end result!

    • Delia says:

      Hi Brian,

      I am so close to the end of this experience I can almost see the finish line. The past few days haven’t been easy but I forced myself to sit down and write and I have to say, I’m never disappointed. Somehow the words always make their way out.
      I think someone has to die in the end, just because I need that bit of drama, but then, who knows, a lot of things could happen…

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