It’s only been a few months since I started writing my first adult novel. When I wrote the words “Chapter One” on the blank page, I have to admit, I seriously doubted I could reach the adult-length word count. I had only ever written middle-grades, and the thought of doubling my longest novel scared the living shit out of me.
I had so much doubt about whether I could do it or not but I didn’t let it stop me. And unlike before, I also didn’t try to write in any of the ways that I hear suggested by other authors. I stayed true to my creative process. Fast forward a few months and I’m nearing my target word count with no fear of not getting there.
The best part…I’ve had fun writing again. I haven’t struggled (much). Writing in a way that’s right for me (flying by the seat of my pants) and setting my doubts to the side has proven to be a winning combo.
So, lessons learned.
1) Don’t listen to anyone on HOW to write. Trust your intuition.
2) Believe that you can do it. (And if you don’t believe, just pretend you believe and get started)
I did, and now I’m a #NanoWinner2017 with less than 20,000 words to go to reach my word count goal.
Back in April, I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, and I feverishly wrote every day and finished a novel in record time. So when Nanowrimo came along, I thought, “Sure, I can do this!”
Boy, was I wrong!
I stalled out at 10,000 words. I tried to make myself write every day, but it just got harder. The more I tried to force it, the harder it got. And worst of all–I wasn’t enjoying myself like I did during Camp NaNoWriMo.
So what was the difference? Well, I think the only difference was that during Camp NaNoWriMo I had a story beating at the back of my head–begging to be written. During NaNoWriMo, I had a story idea that I didn’t let wait long enough for it to start begging me. I was trying too hard to be like other writers–to take the advice to “write every day.” That just doesn’t work for me. You’d think I’d know by now that I’m not the same as everyone else so why would I think that all the writing advice I read should apply to me. Sure, I have more in common with these people than most other people on the planet, but I’m still me. And I’m going to learn to trust my own advice because I know what actually works for me.
I’m not really a Nanowrimo failure. I tried and what’s ever wrong with that? I learned a little more about me and my writing style. I got to cheer on friends who sailed through Nanowrimo like Rocky Balboa running up those glorious steps. (Yeah, I know Rocky didn’t win at the end of the movie, but he won that training montage!).