I read an Alistair MacLean novel a long time ago. The title eludes me now, as does the story, but what I do remember is this – the protagonist is stranded in an inhospitable environment; he has been walking for days and is close to utter exhaustion. What finally gets him to habitation is the refrain that beats constantly in his head – one bloody step after the next bloody step.
Are you in a similar place writing-wise, struggling to put the next word down? If you’ll excuse the profanity, the sentiment of MacLean’s protagonist is novel-writing in a nutshell – one bloody word after the next bloody word.
Having written three novels, there are still times when I find writing hard work. For such days I have my own personal mantra in reserve (with due to apologies to The Little Engine That Could): I know I can, I know I can, I know I can. I know from past experience that once I get past this bump, I will cruise again.
As you read this, seven days have gone by. Another twenty-three to go. Whether you plod through or whizz past – it’ll all depend on your attitude.
If you’re feeling your story has already run out of steam, and it is barely Week 2, you’re not alone. Whether you are a plotter (one who works with detailed plotlines), or a pantster like me (who writes by the seat of the pants), if you find yourself deviating from the plot, give yourself permission to embrace this new path. During the writing of Tell A Thousand Lies, my main character was refusing to do what I demanded of her. So I let her be; this led to the most delicious twist in my tale.
To prepare for my very first NaNoWriMo (this is my fourth), I read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I took her advice to heart and turned off my internal editor before starting to write. I did not stop to edit. I did not pause to correct spellings. I did not slow down to fix grammar. There were days when I exceeded my goal, and boy, did that feel good! And there were days when I wasn’t able to meet the word count but, like they say, tomorrow is another day.
In Half A House, I did not have a clear idea of where I wanted the story to go. Instead of stressing on what I wasn’t able to do, I wrote mini episodes involving the main characters. Post NaNoWriMo, I stitched them together into a novel. Do you see where I’m going with this? (Hint: flexibility is the key)
So don’t let the details bog you down. You can always fix problem areas in later drafts. Get that first draft down! When you type that 50,000th word, the high has to be experienced to be believed. See you at the finish line!
As a successful self-published author, she was invited to be part of the panels in the 2013 Jaipur and Hyderabad Literary Festivals.
Read one episode of Half A House at http://www.wattpad.com/28114206-half-a-house