nanowrimo, Writing

NaNoWriMo 2021 – On Par for Week 3

I’m, like, just hanging on, ya know? Mentally, I mean, about everything. It’s been a rough week in a lot of ways, but surprisingly not in a writing capacity sorta way. In fact, two days ago I had a computer crash that lost a couple days of work (some of which I was able to restore, but not all!), and so much else has happened since that that I actually FOROGT ABOUT THAT as I was writing up this blog. The worst thing that can happen to an author happened, and I FORGOT while I was writing a weekly synopsis of my work. Wild.

If I had less other things to do, I’d have more energy/time for writing, but when I do sit down to work, I’m not necessarily struggling, so that’s something for which to be thankful. I am, however, writing VERY LOW QUALITY words right now. Like, lower than typical first draft stuff. I’m talking expanded outline nonsense. But that sort of proves NaNo was the right choice for the fuckery that’s been my November–I could absolutely not be doing major edits or rewrites to something right now. Sorry, The Willful Inheritor, but you’ll be better for it, I promise!

Today’s words haven’t been recorded or even finished yet, but as of 11/19 I’m at 32,390, and I should be at 31,673, so I’m riiiight there, just keeping myself ahead, a true testament to front loading.

I love that happy face letting me know I felt great working on this goal. It feels a little like mockery because, in general, I do NOT feel great, but when I’m writing, I actually do. Even when I’m like, “Oh, geez, that sentence fucking blows,” I’m still pretty pleased overall. This story is so much fun and so good-stupid that I just adore working on it.

Problems I’m running into:

  • Microsoft Word’s Read Aloud function can’t pronounce the name “Ama.” I thought it was pretty normal. Like “Ah-mah,” right? Nope, Word insists on saying “A. M. A.” every time. I like listening to things back, including my outline/chapter synopses, right before I dig into a writing session, and having one of my main character’s names not pronounceable is grating.
  • Town sizes/locations are weird. I love a good quest. Send these people who don’t belong together on an adventure, and they’ll become a family. Easiest and oldest story in the world. But damn if I don’t get tripped up by how long it should take to get from A to B and how big B should be when they get there. But, like, that doesn’t matter to character development, so I can fix all that later, right?
  • This book might be longer than I expected. I’m getting an extra chapter or two out of every mini arc. I haven’t reached the midpoint yet, and I’m 50k words into the novel as a whole. I do think the “midpoint” for this story doesn’t end up coming until after the halfway mark words-wise (which, yeah, I know, that makes no sense, but beats, like rules, exist to be broken), so it may not be a true issue, but I really intended this standalone to be sub 100k, and it just might be that I’m incapable of writing like that anymore. Oh, well! More time with some of my favorite idiots!

Problems I’m not running into:

  • Boredom. I’m still intrigued by this story, and there’s still a lot to discover. Sure, the story is planned, but a lot of fun details are missing, and they’ll be coming out in future rewrites and edits as well as this draft. And this relationship is still complex to navigate despite knowing where it will go. How the things these two say and do to one another affect their futures throws challenges at me I wasn’t expecting. It’s not as simple as “they hate each other for a while and then love each other later,” but it DOES have to sort of feel that way in the end. That’s the trope!
  • Reaching the word goal. It’s pretty easy. I’m better at not self-editing than ever, and I’m more forgiving, and if I don’t like the way a scene is going, I’ll just throw a couple returns onto the page and start over. That isn’t to say much of my word count is made up of two of the same scene, it’s rare, I’m just not afraid to do it. I trust Future Ashley as much as I feel for her. She’ll make the right decision, and she won’t agonize over it in the way she might have done before.

I really thought this blog would be about the TERRIBLE THING that happened with my computer crash and word loss, but ya know what? I don’t have the emotional currency to spend reliving that. Here’s my tip: back everything up after every session, and shut everything down when you’re done for the day. I had like 95% of my stuff backed up both on OneDrive and on my desktop in Word files compiled from Scrivener–and I took the time to compile not just the text but the synopses and notes too (though I forgot all the extras like the character planning and the research stuff, but thankfully those weren’t lost), and though it was a huge pain to recover and set up in a new Scrivener project (I lost like a whole day because I had to upgrade to Scrivener 3 from 1.19, and coupled with getting my period, that nearly killed me), I only ended up losing a small amount of words. Back your shit up, and keep on writing.

Only 11 more days to go. If you haven’t started yet, that’s only 4,546 words per day, so, ya know, get on it.

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