With two days left of November, unless I get a sudden burst of energy, I can now openly admit that I utterly failed NaNoWriMo.
Well, that’s not entirely true. In my first week of NaNoWriMo, I wrote a post about my goals and what I wanted to do. Looking back on what I have written thus far (which, admittedly, is not a lot at all), I feel like I made headway in achieving those goals.
I had intended to write weekly updates, but with my semi-hiatus, I didn’t get the opportunity. So, I hope today’s post will be a good, hearty post, enough to satiate anyone’s curiosity!
What I worked on, more about my WIP!
I decided to write my contemporary romance! I talked about it in my previous NaNoWriMo post, but in a nutshell, it’s about an interracial romance that explores friendship, identity, culture and cultural differences, and family. It’s #ownvoices and based loosely on my personal experiences.
After a lot of brainstorming and concept development, I want this story to be fluffy and sweet. I want it to have positive representation while also being real and honest to the obstacles and bumps along the road. At the moment, I’ve put a lot of attention to the relationship between my two characters, but I hope to add more layers (family, friendships, protagonist’s ambitions) with more time and editing.
So, a mix of what I have written and ideas that I’ve yet to flesh out:
- A good portion of the book will be set around Chinese New Year; not only is it one of my favourite times of the year, but it’s also a time of family, being together, good food, reconnecting with my heritage, and being thankful.
- The protagonist, whom I’ve temporarily named 美惠 (Meihui, pronounced like may-hway), will prepare her friend-now-boyfriend for Chinese New Year and meeting her family as the boyfriend – which is a big big deal to Meihui.
- I want to explore, very briefly (or maybe not?), why Meihui has chosen to keep and use her Chinese name as opposed to adopting an English name.
- Meihui is really, really close to her family, and I really want to explore this. She takes filial piety (an important Chinese value) really seriously, and their opinions matter a lot to her. She has a sibling, and they’re really close too.
- I want to subvert eurocentric ideas that strong female characters have to be invulnerable to the opinions of their family, and that ‘rebelling’ against family is regarded as strength and growth.
- Something common in most Chinese families: ‘I love you’ isn’t told – it’s shown through action and gesture. I want to convey this through Meihui’s family.
- Identity will be explored! How growing up as a ‘second generation immigrant’ can be the most confusing thing ever, especially in terms of the yearning to belong, fragmented grasp of languages native to one’s parents.
- There’s a scene where my two characters go yumcha/eat dimsum! Why isn’t this a thing?!
- Meihui’s love interest will not be toned nor will he have defined biceps that she notices when he hugs her. His personality is soft, awkward but earnest, and he’s a squishy bear.
My progress and what I’ve learned
I set out to do NaNoWriMo with a few goals:
- to be creative, or, engage in the act and process of being creative
- to overcome paralysis when writing and just write
Though I haven’t written all that much, when writing, I noticed that I wrote and wrote and wrote. I didn’t dwell, like I usually did, and if I was unsure about a certain place, I marked it so I would return to it later. Perhaps I haven’t completely overcome that paralysis – do you ever fully overcome it? – but I feel like I’ve made progress in doing so. I’ve become less afraid of writing something imperfect and learning to trust in the process — that I will return to it later and trusting future-me to do it.
And though I haven’t written – I feel like I have been creative! If I’m not writing, I’m thinking, imagining, and brainstorming. This is such a big change for me. For the last few years, I hardly used my imagination, so knowing that my mind could be filled with so much colour is such a great, great feeling.
I underestimated how difficult it would be to write with a full-time job. I thought I could manage at least 500 words a day, but I didn’t account for the fact that I’m a mood-writer. My word count is sitting on 2600 words, with about 4000 words of brainstorming. And even though I was nowhere near winning, NaNoWriMo has inspired me to start something, and to tell a story I desperately want to tell.
Where now from here?
There’s a vulnerability when you’re writing #ownvoices – it’s one thing to write something that is born from your imagination, but another thing to write something that is inherently personal and emotional. It’s validating, because I’m finally writing and seeing the sort of book I’ve always wanted to read, but it’s a little scary too. But, I’m going to hold onto the hope that what I write can be meaningful to someone; having this in mind will drive me forward.
NaNoWriMo has inspired me, so I’m going to keep writing! I’m going to tell my story, even if it’s a slow, slow process, I’ll work towards it. Maybe I didn’t win NaNoWriMo, but I’ve won in other, smaller ways. For now, that’s enough for me.
I don’t know if I will blog or advertise my writing in the future. But, never say never! Who knows where writing and my story will take me? For now, I’m happy with it being my personal project, but hey, who knows!
- How did you do this NaNoWriMo?
- Did you have any goals? What did you achieve?
- Are you going to participate in NaNoWriMo next year? Has this year of NaNoWriMo inspired you to write next year?
- Did you learn anything this NaNoWriMo? If so, what did you learn? ❤