If you read my posts from November, you know that I didn’t finish my novel for NaNoWriMo, I only got halfway through. You also know that my plan was to finish the second half in December. Well, that didn’t happen either. It probably would have if Christmas was the only thing in the way, because I really don’t go to a lot of parties. The big problem was that I bought a house (YAY!) which meant I had to move (BOO!). Signing papers over and over and moving took up ALL MY TIME!!!!!!!!! I’m still not fully unpacked. To be fair, though, I was never fully unpacked in my parents’ house and we lived there just over 3 years.
Anyway, the problem now is actually FINISHING THE DAMN BOOK!!!!! And I’m seriously sick of having little bits of novels scattered around various notebooks. So, with the craziness of December and school starting in January I essentially took time off from the novel for most of January.
But now we are at the end of the January and it is time to continue. I have not spent the entire month away from the book so I am still aware of what has happened. The challenge is really figuring out how to “start fresh” on the project I have so much written on and not feel anxiety about the inconsistencies I’m creating. I’ve been thinking about this for most of the month because picking up where I left off has never really been an issue for me. It’s the inconsistencies in the first draft that happen. And no matter how many times I read or hear that you are supposed to have a shitty first draft I get anxious trying to figure out “where it’s going” while I’m writing and thinking about all the things that don’t match the most recent turn.
So, I have come up with a few strategies that will, hopefully, help me to actually get it written.
1) Just Do It — as much as I’ve heard it, it still rings true that sometimes you have to just write.
2) Don’t Look Back — I am going to flip through and make sure I have all the current characters names on my master list, then I will not look more than a page back at a time until I reach the end. That should keep me from wanting to edit too much.
3) Stop Writing, Stop Thinking — when the timer goes off (or when I stop writing for whatever reason) I will not think about the novel until I am ready to write again. If I think about it I’ll plan and if I plan I’ll over plan.
4) Word Count — I have a box on my daily planner pages where I will track my word count every day.
I don’t know exactly how well these will work. Maybe not at all. Maybe they’ll need a little adjusting. Maybe I’ll even come up with some new things to try to keep me on track.
I also have a goal for the year to write 12 first drafts of novels. That is ambitious. I am fully aware that I probably will not reach that goal. But my thought is, if you reach for Pluto, surely you’ll hit the moon, right? So I’m reaching for Pluto. Who knows, maybe I’ll actually get there. That would clear up a few of the bits and pieces.