On Tuesday I started my next novel, as part of Camp NaNoWriMo. In concept, Camp NaNo is similar in most ways to NaNoWriMo, which takes place in November. In execution, however, I am finding it to be a completely different experience, at least so far.
When I did NaNo in November, my story was mostly formed, being based on a dream I’d had. I’d signed up at the last minute and dove in with excitement. Words flowed freely, and I met my 50,000 word goal well in advance of the final day.
This time around, I’d known for at least a month or two that I was going to participate, and had thought out the plot and direction I wanted to go. Because of my subject matter, I knew from the start it would be more difficult, I did not realize just how difficult.
Despite having a fair idea of all the key plot points and characters, I had to force myself to sit down to write, and when I did I had a hard time even starting. In November, I hammered out over 10,000 words in the first three days. As of right now, at the end of day 5, I am just shy of 4,500 words. I’ve missed 2 days of writing already, and feel behind. I have some ground to make up if I’m to reach my goal. So far, each day, I’ve almost dreaded sitting down to write (to the point of even doing my least favorite chores in order to procrastinate), which is completely opposite of how I felt in November.
In some ways, my November novel was practice. I had sufficient notes to just take it and run with it. While it is a decent story, and I’m still toying with the idea of revising it to the point of being publishable and getting it out there, the point of writing it in November was just to write it. To write, and, at the end of the month, know that I could finish a novel-length work. That objective has been achieved.
But this time around, I’m actually trying to write a “keeper” and while I’ve always avoided deliberately trying to make my stories “mean” something, this one does. Or will, I hope. I went into it knowing I had something specific I wanted to tackle. To avoid spoilers, all I can say at this point is that this story is going to be deeply personal. It isn’t auto-biographical, by any stretch, but it is probably the closest to it I will ever get. As a result, writing this story means digging up and writing about (if indirectly) some tough stuff. Stuff I try not to dwell on, much less talk or write about. This makes it a challenge to even get myself to sit down and write at all, and while I’m writing I can’t let myself be engrossed in another world and someone else’s story, but have to be all wrapped up in my own. Part of the challenge of that is believing that my own story and experiences are worth telling, and interesting enough to be part of a novel. All of this adds up to a little bit of dread at the prospect of writing each day.
Despite the struggles I’m having in getting started, I am looking forward to the process of writing. I can’t wait until I can get past this part, which is mostly exposition, and move on to the fun stuff. I am excited to see how the story will turn out.