My First Week of #NaNoWriMo – Ever

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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!

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My goal: 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?
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40 thoughts on “My First Week of #NaNoWriMo – Ever

  1. INTERRACIAL FRIENDSHIP!!! INTERRACIAL ROMANCE!!! Even hearing the words makes me shiver with pleasure because that is a story that absolutely must be told. Gooooood luck with NaNo, obviously you’ll kill it no matter how many words you write ☺️

    • BECCA! ❤

      I know right?! I realized that, while there are some out there, I want more. I don’t think I’ve seen me and my partner’s story out there – so I want it out there!

      Thank you so much, my darling. You’re such a sweet person. ❤❤

  2. Please write ALL of those stories because I NEED them! They all sound so amazing and necessary and we absolutely care about what you have to say! I’m doing NaNo too, and I think what you said about focusing on the process of being creative is really important for remembering (on the bad days especially) why you’re doing it at all. Good luck with your writing, and getting rid of that block! 😄

    • Hi Emma!

      Oh my, that’s very motivating – thank you! 😊 And thank you. T_T That means a lot to me. Generally I’m like “YES I’M GOING TO DO IT” but in the wee hours of the morning, I’ll do a 180 and be like “why, why am I doing this”.

      How is your story/project going? What are you writing about? ❤

      And thank you! All the best to you too, and I hope you achieve your own goals. ❤

  3. An interracial friendship that turns into a romance huh. That sounds like a pretty exciting book to write! I’m not doing NaNo but I’m taking this time to plot a YA fantasy based on Indian and Hindu myths. I totally agree with you about the site, Helping Writers Become Authors! I’ve been using it to help me flesh out my outline. I feel like a combination of shaming me and encouraging me motivates me to write. I personally like to shame myself because I hate feeling unproductive..but I love reading all the words of wisdom and encouragement writers are sharing online in honor of NaNo. As for my goal for this month, I just want to finish my outline. I’m planning on outlining almost every chapter and fleshing out my characters *before* I write because it’s always easier to fix plot holes/etc. in the planning stages. I’m hoping this will prevent me from writing myself into a corner haha.

    – Rachana @ Spun

    • Hi Rachana!

      Hehe, I hope so! It’s on the side of fluffy contemporary romance, but we’ll see!

      Ooh how is your plotting going? I really admire you for writing all throughout the year. It’s incredible. ❤

      That sounds like a good and realistic goal! I think I’m like you – I like to outline everything and write with my eyes wide open. When I was younger I could pants 150+ pages. XD

      All the best, Rachana! May November be a good writing month for you! ❤

      • Aw thank you! I just find it easier to write over longer periods of time because when I try to do it all at once, I get a mess and usually I don’t want to deal with that mess.

        Thanks for all the good wishes! <3 Tbh I've been flip-flopping between poetry and outlining so progress hasn't been amazing. But I have a good feeling about this book and I'm going to keep trying.

        PS. I *love* fluffy contemp romance!!

  4. I’m doing NaNoWriMo for the first time this year too! My novel is a high fantasy about a kingdom inhabited by three types of individual – those with no powers, those with powers that can be stolen, and those with powers that cannot. I don’t have a title yet, and sometimes when I’m writing I worry that the plot is jumbled, or it doesn’t make sense, but I’m really enjoying participating so far. I’d also forgotten how much fun planning plot ideas and designing characters is so it was wonderful to rediscover this on the run up to 1st November.

    At the moment I’m slightly behind, but hopefully I’ll be able to write a little more each day to get back on target. And I often feel the same doubt you’ve described! Some days I worry that my novel isn’t any good or that it doesn’t make sense/won’t be interesting to read, but it’s all about pushing forward and reminding yourself that these insecurities are normal, and that you’re producing something amazing. Also totally agree that the NaNoWriMo twitter is amazing! Good luck throughout the rest of the month! :)

    • Hi Kate!

      Ahhh yay! We’re first-timer buddies. ❤

      UHM WOW. Your idea sounds… AMAZING? Please continue to write this and bring this story to life. I think, even if you’re unsure about plot, just write! It’ll be a first(?) draft after all, and it’ll give way to even more ideas.

      Ahh I’m glad you’ve rediscovered the fun! I was terrible and didn’t plan at all – I intended to pants it, but I realized that I’m an old fart now who needs structure, so I’ve been using a lot of time to plan!

      Yes, I agree! We must persevere and keep doing our best. And YES, what we’re writing is important and amazing. The world needs our stories.

      Good luck to you too!! ❤

      • Aww thank you so much, you’re too kind! :3 Yeah, it’s a first draft and I know it’s going to be messy and rubbish at first, but I’m really enjoying creating this world and giving these characters abilities and adventures. Ahaha I thought about pantsing too, but I was exactly the same – my brain went ‘No! You need structure!’ – so I planned things out. Honestly, reading your comment made me feel so uplifted and inspired to carry on, which is just another reminder of how important encouragement is, so I want to return the favour! No matter if you feel worried about the direction the plot is going in or have fears that it’s not good enough, please keep writing and adding to your exciting creation. There’s a good chance that someone out there needs to read your novel. They may be inspired to do amazing things, or simply reassured about their own worries by reading it, so keep plugging away and bringing it into the world! You never know who it will touch once it’s done :) <3

  5. I love all of your ideas, and I hope you’ll get around to writing all of them someday. Also, I hope even MORE that you’ll feel comfortable enough maybe to share some snippets? I am way too curious, sorry, haha. Also, best of luck for everything, the important when you’re doing NaNo is to be able to write. I have no idea how you manage to do it, even a little bit, while working full time. I wanted to participate but I found that I have absolutely no time haha. BEST OF LUCK! <3

    • Hi Marie! ❤

      Oh wow, thank you so much. I hope to one day too. I know it’s a slim chance, but hey, you never know!

      If I ever feel confident enough, I will – I promise! Or if I don’t feel confident enough by the end, I’ll DM them to you on Twitter. 😊

      Thank you! Tbh I am barely managing! I’m using any time I have to write. Tbh, if I even get to 5k, I’ll be a very happy writer.

      THANK YOU! ❤❤

  6. Your story idea sounds fantastic (actually all of them do)!!! I’m not participating in NaNo myself (unless you count the essays I have to turn in :P ) because it’s so daunting so I wish you the best of luck this november!! ❤

    • Hi Brigitte!

      Thank you so so much! ;_; ❤
      Argh, essays! I remember those days. Well, I wish you ALL the best for your writing – essay or otherwise!

      I hope you can participate one day! It’s scary but once you get into it, it’s so much fun and I’ve learned so much from the process already!

      But thank you! I need the luck, hehe. ❤

      • I thought of going for it last year actually but I’m always afraid that I just won’t have enough material to write, like I’ll get bored with a story or something like that. See what I mean? I hope you’re still going strong! I’m definitely rooting for you! :D

  7. All of your NaNo ideas are everything <3 Would read them all. I also understand the feeling of not being quite ready to write certain stories that are too close to you at the moment. On the bright side, I'm glad you're working on a story you're emotionally invested in at the moment! I've been reflecting a lot on what really resonates with me and what do I question in the world and hopefully, I'll return to being creative someday soon too.

  8. It’s my first time too and time is also a vital factor for me, so I am not aiming for 50k as well but I am trying my best. I participated in Camp this year and one thing that I love about NaNo is that it helps keep myself super motivated to get the words out. I’m writing a fantasy this time and I hope it turns out the way I want it too! It’s a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs retelling. All the very best for your writing journey, your novel sounds super awesome and I hope you enjoy NaNo!

  9. Omg your ideas are so great I’d love to read them!! Be it fantasy, contemporary and dystopie *o* I guess anything you wrote would interest me!
    Good luck with the writing!! :)

      • If they turn into novels and you get published one day I trust you’ll announce it here or on your twitter :D
        I don’t, I’m not much of a writer, only a reader! But I’m encouraging everyone I see participating because I hope all these great ideas and effort will become great books one day :D

        • Haha, I will – I promise! I’ll probably tell the whole world because it’d be a miracle.

          Ahh fair enough! I’m not much of a writer too but… I want to be! I hope to be, anyway.

          Aw, your encouragement is REALLY appreciated! Thank you so much. ❤ You are absolutely wonderful.

  10. Best of luck for NaNoWriMo! I really loved all of your ideas, and your thesis sounds amazing! I would love to read it one day :) I don’t join NaNoWriMo because I never much of a writer and I’m still adapting with the college life, so hopefully next month I would join!

  11. I like how you’re using NaNo, CW. I think it’s a great idea and I hope it helps to get those words flowing again. ^.^

    P.s. I’m a night writer, too, but a grad student who has to be in lab by 9am or earlier. *sigh* Makes it a little difficult, but sometimes that’s what weekends are used for. I wish you the best of luck with your continuing journey and hope you meet your goal, even if it’s not NaNo’s goal. ^.^

  12. Ooo this is so exciting! For uni, I used to read so many first drafts and works-in-progress by my peers, and I so miss sharing that messy, creative, vulnerable free-writing as a regular process. I totally relate to your self-judgement. It’s crippling sometimes. I’m so glad you have a great support group, though. I hope them sharing their drafts with you gets you even more fired up, it’s amazing having that relationship of feedback and development.

    I did NaNoWriMo last year and hit the halfway mark on a children’s fantasy story, but I’ve put that on the shelf this year because it doesn’t feel like the right time for me to tell it. I love each of your different ideas. There’s so much there to tap into, hopefully when the time is right, you’ll really get into them because I’d love to read them.

    Also, with plotting and structuring, your approach is awesome. There’s no wrong way to do these things. You might find using index cards which you can easily rearrange helpful for jotting down your scene/significant moment ideas on? Also, apparently the word processor Scrivener is supposed to be useful for writers who have a non-linear mind?

    Whenever you worry if anyone will like or relate to what you’re writing, remember that you and your experience is representative of at the very least a handful of people across the globe you need to hear what you have to say. <3 <3

    • Hi Paige! I’m so sorry for my late reply. ;_;

      Ooh that’s incredible. I really admire people who put themselves out there and throw themselves into creative avenues. I think it’s a special kind of bravery – one that I’ve yet to reach or attain.

      Unfortunately my progress is really… not good! I underestimated how difficult it would be to write and also be full-time. And since I’m a newb, well, I really hit a wall. I’m hoping I get a SUDDEN burst of energy towards the end of the month when I leave my job.

      Ooh will you ever pick up your story again?

      I hope to return to them too! Funnily enough, today at work I was hit by a sudden idea and I think I’ve found the direction I need for my fantasy idea. I’m so excited. ❤

      Ooh the index cards are actually an amazing idea?! I think I will do that – thank you so much! I’ve never heard of Scrivener, but it sounds like a useful tool, one that I’ll benefit from! Thank you agaaaaain! ❤

      Ah, those are such inspiring words. Thank you Paige. ❤ I’ll remember your words if I ever hit a bump – and I’m sure it will, but I’ve got something to keep me going now!

      • Woohoo that’s wonderful you have some inspiration swooping in on you unexpectedly. That feeling is incredible! Please don’t beat yourself up about your progress. For a lot of people, NaNoWriMo is just the beginning :)

  13. I want to read this story! Please.

    I get what you mean with the whole doubt thing. I minored in creative writing at university and none of my teachers were ever that into what I wrote. I veer between stubbornly doing my thing and feeling like I suck and I should quit. I don’t know why we beat ourselves up so much over this stuff.

    • Hi Lydia!

      Hehehe yes, I hope it gets written some day. I was hit by an amazing idea while I was at work today, so I feel more confident in the idea now. *fingers crossed*

      Aw Lydia, don’t quit! The teachers who read your work just weren’t the people you needed to *inspire* you, you know? And I think, if you write your book for you, you’ll also be writing it for someone out there who feels the same things. I believe in you. ❤

  14. Good luck with your writing :-) By the way love your ideas. Specially the one with the girl’s quest to find her inner power that has been taken away from her. Hope you do write that story one day.

    • Hi Elin!
      Thank you so much, and sorry that the late reply. Unfortunately I truly underestimated how difficult it would be to write while working full-time, so I’ve hardly written anything. BUT, maybe I’ll have a sudden burst of energy towards the end of the month – we’ll see I guess!
      And I hope to write that one too. ❤ One day, one day!

  15. Pingback: NaNoWriMo: My WIP, why I won, what I learned, and reflection | Read, Think, Ponder

  16. Pingback: November Recap: Foreword of the new chapter in my life, Pokemon, and celebrating diversity | Read, Think, Ponder

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