Hello my friends! ❤
After a colourful mix of a desire to write, paralysing self-doubt, and much enabling, I decided to participate in #NaNoWriMo. For those of you who are not familiar with #NaNoWriMo, it is an abbreviation of National November Writing Month! To ‘win’ NaNoWriMo, you must write 50,000 words in November.
On each Sunday of November, I will be posting a little update about my NaNoWriMo experiences and also an update on my story. It’s my first NaNoWriMo, so I want to engage in a lot of self-reflection and concept generation. Today, I want to give a little ‘background’ information, and also share my experiences with writing thus far!
Because it’s my first NaNoWriMo, I am currently working full-time, and am very, very rusty at writing, writing 50,000 words is not my goal. My goal for this NaNoWriMo is to be creative, or, engage in the act and process of being creative. When I was much younger, I wrote all the time and every day. Scenes, imagery, characters, and imaginative fantasy-scapes came to me with ease. Now that I am older and different to who I was years ago, I feel like there is something, a ‘block’, that inhibits me when writing. I now have difficulty expressing my ideas and imagination.
My goal, therefore, is to find a way to overcome this inhibition. I want to overcome the paralysis I get when faced with writing. I want to care less about what the first draft looks like. I want to learn to allow it to be messy and incoherent, and trust myself enough that I can fix it and polish it later.
My ideas/projects and what I’m writing:
I was torn between writing a fantasy-adventure and a contemporary romance. I also have an idea for a dystopian!
On the fantasy-adventure: I had these wild aspirations for a fantasy novel, but I’ve decided to shelve the idea for now. I wanted to write a Chinese mythology inspired story about a girl’s quest to find her inner power that has been taken away from her. However, I realized when I was thinking about the minute details that I needed more time to think about it and engage with the idea. In a way, the fantasy is still very – perhaps too? – personal for me to write about now, as it stems a lot from my personal struggle with identity. I’ll write it one day – just not today! My stand-in name for it is Monsters and the Nameless.
On the contemporary romance: The contemporary romance that I’m writing, and have committed myself to for NaNoWriMo, is about an interracial friendship which blossoms into a romance. It is #ownvoices, as a lot of it will be loosely based on my own experiences with my own relationship. It will explore friendship, culture and cultural barriers (and overcoming them!), family, and identity. 😊
On the dystopian: When I was a young spring chicken and still in university, I wrote my magnum opus: a sociological thesis on happiness and how it is an ideological trap. I loved writing that paper, and I loved the ideas, theories, and arguments that I engaged with when writing it. One day, I do hope to write a dystopian novel based on that premise – that happiness can be an ideological trap. It sounds depressing as heckie, but, deep down rest-assured: I am an optimist.
How it is going so far:
In a few words: slow, but a comfortable slow. I haven’t written much yet – most of the time and work I have spent on NaNoWriMo has been planning and brainstorming. However, I did write a little bit, so my word count is currently sitting at 426 words – this excludes the brainstorming.
The first day was terrible; there was so much paralysis and I doubted myself a lot. I started to feel embarrassed by the ideas I had – what if no one cares about my story and what I have to say? If you are asking yourself the same question: your story matters and it needs to be told! SO TELL IT. 👊🏻
In relation to my goal for NaNoWriMo, I would say that I’m on track of achieving my goal. Getting started was difficult – I got daunted by the blank page, but once I started writing, it got easier. Since writing, I have become quite emotionally invested into the idea of my story. I hope to, eventually, become emotionally invested in what I have written.
I have a great support group for writing NaNoWriMo at the moment, and they’ve been amazing! It’s a very supportive environment, and more so, I feel connected to them because of our shared aspiration. There’s a wonderful balance of encouragement and honesty, and I am really liking it so far.
What I have learned this week:
- I’ve discovered that I’m not really a chronological writer. I get very attached to these scenes that I have stuck in my head, scenes that I want to be in my story because they’re either the climax of the narrative or they convey a message or idea that is inherent to the story I am telling — but maybe it’s because I’m writing an #ownvoices narrative?
- I have been finding the NaNoWriMo twitter very inspiring and motivating. There are so many nuggets of truth and wisdom there – I strongly encourage you to read their tweets if you haven’t already! I’m also in love with Helping Writers Become Authors – so much wisdom and fantastic advice there.
- I write best after 12am which is inconvenient because I sleep at 11:30pm. 😩
- I asked my NaNoWriMo support group what motivation they’d like to receive, and the answers were so different! I thought that was so interesting. For me, being non-competitive, leaving me to my own devices and constructive feedback works best.
So tell me friends:
- Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? How are you going? What is your story about?
- What are your goals for NaNoWriMo?
- What motivates you as a writer? Is it tons of encouragement, shaming you into writing, or criticism?
- Have you come across any obstacles? What are you doing to overcome them?