#IWSG An Insecure Writer Talking (NaNoWriMo Post)

Today I posted on a sticky post, an update for the seventh day of the torture that is called NaNoWriMo which read:-

I did a wordsprint in-world at a write-in first thing this morning my time. The event wasn’t very busy, only two of us doing a 20 minute sprint. At just over 400 words, I was pipped by the other writer by a 100 words difference. I don’t know how, but I somehow mucked around. Since then, I’ve been busy finishing off that one new chapter. 4500 words later, it’s finished, too long, and pretty crap with it.

Oh. I’ve hit that middle section of NaNo, and how. My writing makes me unhappy, and both wrists are now arching from the typing.

This post, dedicated to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, is about my NaNo efforts, and in recognition that it’s all par for the course.

So let’s start that again, with more detail this time.

It’s the 7th day for NaNoWriMo for me.

I’m writing a novel, and word-count wise, I’m doing really well. I usually do really well. Wordcount is my fortay. Getting rid of it is a future problem.

This morning, due to several moons and planets falling into line, I managed to make a full write-in with fellow WriMos also. Granted, it was virtually, and for all the other people who bothered to show up – it was the day before. Being in Australia is both a curse and an opportunity time-wise. My wordcount is always a day ahead of the game, making me falsely look better off than the rest in my writing group.

As I write this, America goes into ‘Election Day’ which puts a different slant on my futuristic living. Nobody will care about my NaNo efforts with presidents to think about.

My day started off well, but juddered slightly with the wordsprint. It wasn’t that I’d lost – who cares about that – but I looked back at those twenty minutes, and realised I was suffering from mid-NaNo blues (I’m sure there’s a song about that out there somewhere). Goodness knows where the twenty minutes had been spent – over the keyboard in some respect, but in the clouds pondering why I was going over the same chapter, circling it like a carrion crow looking for anything tasty, anything at all – for most of it.

The other writers in the group in second life, including the person who won the sprint against me, had already stated that they were stuggling with their own writing efforts.

Seemed I picked up the general atmosphere, infused it, and ran with it. All the way home. (Mixed metaphors intended but not totally witty, although I like the piggy one…).

In another group I’m in, with a half dozen reasonably experienced suspense writers, the same sort of thing has been happening. For the first few days everyone was reporting their wordcounts in with glee, proud that they’d written. Group daily challenges were participated in, forum posts were being commented on.

This morning I looked the group up to finish off my own reporting (again, a day into their future), to find that two or three of them have been resoundingly missing over the last day, with no signs of life at all overnight. The forum was bare. I felt naked in it. Life, their week,  all that…it got in the way.

I’ve sped past and doubled my word count against two writing buddies on the NaNo forums also. One of them has gone really quiet. I don’t want to interupt her, I tried the IM well-done thing when she was just ahead of me, now she’s way below. The etiquette of contact is difficult in itself, when dealing with somebody you can’t really see, and know little about. Perhaps she lost power? Maybe she lost hope? Maybe she’s just taken a day off from posting up results of her writing, deciding to put them all up as a surprise.

Maybe…I’m being either overly paranoid or overly well-mannered.

Maybe I’ve got NaNo-itis.

Knowing I’m one of those annoying people who does push out far-too-high wordcount, I try to avoid discussing my own day’s writing, and not focus on that one obvious evidence. What I do notice, and what demotivates me during the mid-point times where everyone struggles, is not that they’re not getting words out, it’s more obvious than that – it’s when people just stop writing. Go quiet. Start not turning up.

The silence is much more limiting than the noise at the start.

It’s only Day 7, but WriMos are already doing that – disappearing, perhaps because they can’t write during the weekdays, perhaps because, like me – they are hitting the rough middle section of their novel, the section that’s always the toughest to maintain motivation, and visualization on.

Perhaps because they think they are failing, and don’t want to see people like me, seemingly succeeding. Rubbing it in, even, with that darn ol’ bar graph. Perhaps because they’re stealth-writers really, and will suddenly pop up three weeks in, with a huge wordcount, and talk of a contract offering, and the fact they have started work on the next in series.

Maybe they’ve just got arching arms and shoulders like me.

Dunno.

Only 14% of WriMos make it through the month to success. 50,000 words, 42,ooo people out of this year’s 300,000 who start the event.

Not great odds, but not a gamble either. If you want to talk about gambling, let me tell you about the Melbourne Cup yesterday, and the AUS$100Million jackpot lottery on the same day. The chances of winning that lottery ticket were 1 in 45 Million, people. 45 million! Yet not only did one person win it, but four did. Four people had the same numbers. There’s only 90Million people here, so…lucky buggers.

Meh.

The lottery – and the Cup, I did not win. But unlike the random yearly pundit, NaNoWriMo is up to me, and me alone. As much as I am enjoying the social aspects of the writing marathon this year, it has it’s darker side too – I get to watch as people start lurching their way into the 86 percentile. And cross my finger for myself that I’m not in there with them, and that some find a new wind this early in the game.

What I wanted to say with this post is that it is rough – real life, and bad mojo do get in the way.

I’ve hit bottom myself today. I may have spat out another 4500 words, but crikey – they are crap. Really really bad. I daren’t read back over them, because I know I’ll want to go and rewrite most of them, add in some more important storylines I completely missed out, all of that.

I spent nearly five hours creating one chapter which never went anywhere, and certainly diverted from what I envisioned it doing.

I, too, am having problems. I may look shiny on the outside, but don’t even go near the underneath.

And it’s all normal. Blah. All normal.

As an insecure WriMo, I have to keep reminding myself – this is all normal.

Echo…echo…echo…normal…all…normal…normal…normal…

And just carry on.

Be one of the 14 percent.

And share with some of these other Insecure Writers here.

3 thoughts on “#IWSG An Insecure Writer Talking (NaNoWriMo Post)

  1. First of all, I love your name. Secondly, you’re actually doing very well. To think you tortured yourself for good reason! I’m also impressed with how many books you’ve read. 24, awesome.

    Hunter, you’re going to be okay. Writing anything is never a waste of time. With every word you grow as a writer. You just have to step back in December and I’m positive you’ll see that.

    Cheering for you.

  2. I look at NaNo as being more about the practice of writing than actually creating a masterpiece. Just remember the words of Anne Lamott: Everyone writes shi**y first drafts. Even the greats. You’re doing what you need to do just by sitting down and writing. Most days even that’s too much for me and I find other hobbies that are “easier.” I’ve written chapters and scenes of my novels three or four times (from scrap) before I finally catch the mood I’m after. The hours I spend writing the first, completely discarded version aren’t wasted because I wouldn’t have gotten it right if I’d never gotten it wrong in the first place.

    Keep it up. All of us fellow writers-in-suffering are rooting for ya!

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