Dear NaNo – It’s Not You, It’s Me

EXCITING THINGS are happening tomorrow!

First – the cover and synopsis for STAR CURSED have been floating around the internet for a few weeks, but I’ve been mum about it because it wasn’t final. The official, final cover will be released tomorrow morning on Mundie Moms – along with the entire first chapter! EEP! I will post a link and tweet my face off when it goes live! I can’t WAIT to hear what you all think!

Second – YA Scavenger Hunt kicks off tomorrow, where you can win a bazillion awesome books and get special sneak peeks at things! I’ve written a short Cahill Christmas story featuring Cate, Finn, and Maura. It was SUPER fun and I can’t wait to share it with you! (And in a few weeks, I’ll be sharing the same story – but from Finn’s pov!)

NOW. I have a confession to make.

I quit NaNoWriMo.

I’ve been feeling kind of guilty about this. I was so excited about NaNo! So determined to try a new way of writing, to shed my perfectionist tendencies and become A Fast Drafter! I really admire those of you who buckled down and wrote 50,000 words this month (or 40,000 or 30,000). I am jealous as hell when I read about how you wrote 1300 words in half an hour during your word wars, or 5000 words last Sunday, or whatever other amazing feat you accomplished! You are awesome!

But the fact is, I am slow. I mean, I can draft a book in three or four months – but not one.  The pressure to do so doesn’t actually help me; it just stresses me out and makes me want to poke my own eyes out with a spoon. See, I edit a lot as I go. I stop to research things, to check whether that phrase had been invented yet in 1896, to see whether Alice’s dress had a velvet sash in book two, to use the thesaurus because I’ve already employed a certain word three times in this chapter. I write at a pace of about 500 words per hour. 1000-1500 words is a great day for me. Sometimes I write 300, feel dodgy about them, realize they are wrong, delete them, and start over. I am not good at keeping on, at just getting the words out, at typos, at making my peace with a shitty first draft. It may well BE a shitty first draft – but I need to think it’s not.

So, I’ve tried NaNo, and it doesn’t work for me. I’m not even going to tell you what my wordcount was this month. It’s paltry. But you know what? I really like those words. And it’s ok if my painstaking process is not like yours – or if yours is not like mine. Any way of getting a book written is awesome, and comparing and feeling like you should be doing it differently doesn’t help.

I’m going to stop feeling guilty about my process now, I think.

6 Responses

  1. Jess, I totally understand your thoughts regarding NaNo. I am naturally a fairly quick drafter, but even still, NaNo forces me to plow on when sometimes I want to go back and edit. I've done NaNo twice now, and also "won" twice. I really don't know if I've won anything though, because I'm usually left with such a mess of a ms that I feel I almost have more work ahead of me than if I'd just taken two months to draft the thing rather than one. So yeah…it has some great perks, NaNo, and some terrible detriments. It's not for everyone.

    That said, SO EXCITED for the cover reveal 🙂

  2. Don’t feel guilty! Everyone’s different and every writer is different too. If we were all the same, life would be boring! : )

    Like you, I’m a really slow writer. I’m all too fond of writing, rewriting and then rewriting again, which means it takes me ages to get a novel written and, by the time I’m done, I usually end up a bit bored with it. But I took part in NaNoWriMo this year and it has done me the world of good. I’m so glad I joined in. I’ve learned that I can write fast, but that writing fast doesn’t have to mean writing badly. Just not obsessing over every word or detail, which I have a tendency to do.

    I managed 46k in a month, which is easily the most I’ve ever written in such a short space of time. So although I didn’t ‘win’ NaNoWriMo, I kind of feel like I did come out of it a winner!

  3. Pingback : Act 2 is Complete! | Melody's Manuscript

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