NaNoWrimo is over! (yay!)
(I’m feeling just like Mokona over there). This was my second attempt and I’m so happy to report that I actually finished this time (last time I only made it to about 16k). But this year taught me a lot. There were so many days I would sit in front of the screen, the agonizing blinking of the cursor taunting me, and that’s when I had to fight myself.
It didn’t have to be perfect the first time, I know that, but I didn’t know how to stop myself from hitting the backspace button after each sentence, deleting paragraphs, or whole sections of dialogue. Finally, I told myself to just shut up and write. This was sort of my mantra this last November and it worked (surprisingly, I never listen to myself).
Are there dreadfully written parts, parts so awful I don’t want to even look at them, to shove them in a box, chained and locked, and toss into the ocean. Of course!
Will I do that?
No, ocean pollution is bad enough without adding my refuse to the pile.
Shannon Hale said, “I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles”. That’s something I had to constantly remind myself.
So I showed up every day with my shovel and piled heap after heap. There were a few ideas that pleasantly surprised me, will they stay, who knows. My novel still isn’t done, maybe another 20k or so, but now I know what my job is. Just show up, I’ll fix it when I have all the pieces in place.
My friend asked me how it felt to finish, and I told her, yea it’s great that I wrote 50k but I’m not finished, heck I’m probably only 2/3 of the way through. I know the mess I’m making and revision is that awful cloud hanging over my head. Is anything that I’ve written even salvageable? Will I have to start from scratch again?
Revision is waiting right around the corner and it makes me cringe, there is a reason I never finished stories before. I would write something, abandon it, and that was that. I have so many stories taking up space and collecting digital cobwebs. The most intensive rewriting went into my novelette, Mine, which was funny because it started off as a short story.
My first novel (last year’s failed NaNoWriMo project) is being read by my wonderful beta, Rocio, so when I get that back, more revisions!
But I’m actually excited (only for that one). At the end of NaNoWrimo, I watched James Patterson’s video on editing, he talked about rewriting as polishing the story, finding the true heart of it. I understood that at a fundamental level, but it just clicked when he said it.
So, while my novels seem like daunting tasks, I just have to remember, rewriting isn’t about beating myself up for ugly writing or making mistakes, because this process is to bring stories to their ideal form.
To everyone, I just wanna say, we’re all in this together, let’s take each story one scene at a time and let’s not lose the joy or sight of why we write.
(now maybe I can get back to updating consistently ^_^)