Friday, 18 November 2011

Is NaNoWriMo Really My Cup of Tea?

It is now Day 18 of NaNoWriMo and I'm struggling. In fact, I've been struggling all week. I have lost all enthusiasm for the novel I started writing. I can manage a few hundred words per day, but can't seem to push much above 800 words. I need to be writing just over double that amount to meet my NaNo target. 

I'm not beating myself up about it. I have had other writing projects on the go this week and have finished another short story. I have also written a detailed critique for a Yellow Room Short Story Clinic client, proofread a few Yellow Room stories ready for the typesetter and read several Yellow Room submissions. I've also made time to do some reading (short stories, magazines and a novel). 

I admit I get much more excited about writing short stories than I do about writing a novel. I also think I'm better at writing short stories, but I have had years of practice. The craft of novel writing seems to elude me. I'm not sure why. I read dozens of novels per year. Maybe I haven't found the subject matter or the characters I really care about? Maybe I just don't have enough to say?

My crime novel is still on the back burner. I need to write a synopsis. Other writers have put the fear of God into me over that particular task. I hope to enter this novel in the D├ębut Dagger Competition run by The Crime Writers Association.

One piece of good news, though. I was in the Top Three of the Write-Invite competition again this week. I think this is the fifth time now. I've managed 2nd place twice and 3rd place twice. That first prize of £50 (and the only prize in the competition :-( ) continues to elude me. One day......


Oldrightie said...

Nothing worth a candle is ever easy, Jo!

Karen said...

I don't think it would be my cup of tea. I love deadlines and challenges but it feels too artificial to me. I can see the benefits but I can't see the point if the story naturally peters out or resolves prior to the 50-60k mark. We all have to know when to stop.

Now short stories, to me, that's craft and if that's where you feel comfortable and where your writing works then huge respect to you.


Anonymous said...

It's such a tough challenge, especially when you're doing so many other writing related things, that it needs to be fun.

After all, there's no point of writing that many words in such a short time if you're not happy with them. But you could always do a collection of short stories to achieve your 50K. Nothing wrong with that.


Writer Pat Newcombe said...


Carole Anne Carr said...

Good luck with that, you've been so close you are bound to 'make it'.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, well done on your competition result. It is a result even if there was no money.

I think NaNo is very useful, whether you manage to reach the target or not. You'll have many thousands of words of raw material that you wouldn't otherwise have had. This is what happened to me last year and I've since started the refinement and editing process on that project.

This year I'm struggling again, though doing better this time. A couple of tricks I use:

* Don't be afraid to put it down for a while. Missing days and catching up is not as hard as it may seem. The break will let you think.

* If you're stuck, try writing a different scene or part of the story. You don't have to write the whole thing in chronological order.

* Switch from plotting mode to pantsing mode, and vice-versa. This can trigger new ideas.

* If you need to think things over, do it away from the screen.

Good luck with your endeavours.

Jo said...

Great tips there, Captain Black, thank you! I have had a couple of days' break and introduced some new characters, which has injected a bit of life into the thing!

Anonymous said...