When My NaNoWriMo 2012 Took a Detour

So sometime around twenty give to thirty thousand words, something happened to me. I was writing the story I had planned to write, but I was bored. I hated the story, the characters, everything, and even though I was about halfway done, I just didn’t have enough passion for the story to keep going. And I thought, why do I have to keep doing this? Why do I have to keep writing a story I know will never be worked on or seen again after December 1st?

Then I realized, nothing was tying me to that story, and while my characters were interesting in some ways, I knew they didn’t fit and could be used elsewhere.

And that’s when things started to get weird. My writing took a detour.

I started adding characters from different times and places. I broke all the rules I had established for my world. And I completely changed the focus of my story, instead working toward a daily writing habit rather than a cohesive (or coherent) story.

And as you might have guessed, this is not an easy thing to sustain. It was, in fact, harder to write whatever came to mind. Being limitless in what could happen was too much freedom within the confines of the page. I needed structure and didn’t have any.

Which is when things changed again.

Once it became about word count, it was no longer about a story and I had nothing to make me want to show up and write. There was no next scene coming up I was excited to write because I had no idea what would happen next. While this can be great if you’re in one story moving toward a goal but a little stuck, it just isn’t something that can sustain a writing habit – and once again, my motivation waned.

But still I push on (and am very close to the end!)

However, there are positives here. What pleases me the most is how when I sit down to knock out the word count for the day, I feel really positive. There is less pressure to push forward, only to show up, and I now feel as though I can show up and write each day. My main goal during this month was to cultivate a daily writing habit. While there were times when I worried I was making myself resent writing, rather than enjoy it, the good feelings when I show up to the screen tells me otherwise.

One difference however, after this month is over, is that I will definitely be writing more by hand. I’m sick of writing on the computer. It’s easier for word count, but it just sucks the creativity out of me. I feel like I’m writing a school paper rather than a creative story, and I admit I am just the worst when it comes to getting distracted.

I just need to make sure I finish the stories rather than leave them hanging and don’t misplace all of my notebooks like I did all though college. And one of these days, I need to go back and edit my college work and start submitting stories to literary magazines. I think I have maybe one or two that could work, and I’m finally beginning to understand what a short story should be. Somehow the concept eluded me in college, but now, after some time spent living and reading on my own, it makes a lot more sense.

With only one week left of NaNoWriMo 2012, I want to wish everyone a burst of energy and luck! Stick with it, only about two thousand words left for me, and whether you’re way ahead or way behind, as long as you keep showing up you are a winner in your own right.

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