This month, I convinced my human writing group to participate in the April edition of Camp NaNoWriMo.
It’s been a ride. I validated, got my little winner sticker, and now I’m staring at my graph.
Lumpy, right? Lemme explain.
At the beginning of the month, I struggled to finish another revision for the YA sci-fi novel I’ve been working on. Camp WordCount: 0 out of 50,000. After that went off to my editor on the 4th, I finally started writing.
I got a whole day’s worth of writing done before I hit a snag. I got busy (with just a hint of overwhelmed) and spent a few days largely ignoring the project. See days 4-7, the first plateau. This is when I got my first hints. There’s something wrong with my Na-Novel.
Yep. No idea what though.
The next thousand words are dedicated to an unfinished short story (days 8-9). It’s still not done. I just needed a change.
The first wind came on day 10. I finally figured out the problem. My project is in the wrong tense. It couldn’t have the reflective quality that comes with past tense. It has to be present. So that first wind is rewriting everything I’d written previously, including a new set of circumstances. I introduce new characters, name a few others.
Day 15, around 22,000 words, I hit another snag, even though I’m zipping through words with only minor delays. I derailed my plot. The characters took a turn I hadn’t anticipated. They literally turned and headed in a different direction.
My plot was bare-bones to start with. I had twenty-four note cards with ideas written on them, shuffled into the most tentative of orders. But I hadn’t anticipated every move, and something that started as a background detail turned into a driving force. It was a better story. It stayed.
I wrote. I even got ahead!
On the 22nd day, I spiraled. Not the fun, confusing, writing spiral that begets weird stories and a bit of magical realism. My mood tanked. I tried to spend time with a friend, with my family, but I lost myself in hundred-yard stares and fatigue. For days, I didn’t shower. I didn’t leave my house. I played solitaire. I disgusted myself.
What an inconvenient time to sink into depression! I didn’t tell anyone. There’s a shame associated with mood disorders, though plenty of people talk about that. I clawed my way out day 25, afternoon. I got just enough energy to shower.
Passed out after. I woke up clean, and read an article on fighting depression. Just because there’s not new information, doesn’t mean it doesn’t help. I needed that reassurance. That teaspoon of willpower. I took it, and I picked up an unfinished book. I cleaned something. I wrote some words. I still couldn’t leave my house, but I ratted myself out to the sibs. Peer pressure is an effective motivator. Trying to live up to how my little brother sees me? That’s powerful.
It got a little better. I wrote a little more, went to a coffee shop on the 26th, the library on the 27th, and met with my writing group on the 28th. I finished, after five-ish hours of word sprints and friendship.
So I bought a sasquatch t-shirt.