F*ck You, NaNo

I’m just going to say it right now. Fuck NaNo.  
No, I know. That’s not the sunshine and rainbows you were expecting from me, and I get it. But I am really struggling this year. At first I had what I thought was a great idea for a romance. I had been sitting on this idea for months. However, I didn’t properly plan. So, while the idea was (I thought) pretty damn good for what I thought would be a good romance, it turns out that it stalled.

Why did it stall? Easy. I didn’t plan. Now, I know what you’re thinking, Todd, you’re not really a planner, so what the hell did you expect?  And you’re right. I mean, I am doing more planning now than I did a year ago. Well, I should say that I have done more planning throughout 2017 for my books than I did in 2106. But I did NOT do more planning prior to NaNo this year than I did last year.

It’s not that I got lazy, but I did get comfortable, which is pretty much the same thing, when you get right down to it.  I figured that the story idea was a lock and that when I sat down to write, the words would just flow like hot melted butter or whatever that movie theater shit is that they drizzle on your popcorn.

So, there I was on Nov. 1 with a great story idea. And I started writing. Then it hit me. The reality of the situation. I didn’t have a good story idea. What I had was a good literary construct. I had a plot device that served to drive the narrative in a specific direction. But I had no idea where that direction was. I sat down write. The first couple of times I got to the plot device too soon. Or rather, I wrote with the express purpose of leading the reader directly to the plot devce.

Then I changed my POV midstream–rookie mistake.  So, I had to start over again. The becaseI had started over,  I needed to write more spacer. In short, I know where the story begins and I know about how and where it ends. It’s all the juicy fiddly bits in the middle that are just completely messing with me.

And then there’s the little matter of over-ambition. I average 15,000-20,000 words a month on a good run. I had a little more in September and October because I had a book due for a box set.

The word-count goal to ‘win’ National Novel Writing Month is 50,000 words.  So, what did my cocky ass do? Set and declare a personal word goal of 75,000 words. Because I had it in my head that “Oh, I only have to write 2500 words a day to hit that. And mathematically that’s a true statement. The problem is that it assumes that I’m going to write every day.  

I’m not. I haven’t been. There are about 5 or 6 days this month with 0 words.


Sure, I can catch up. I think that currently I can catch up if I do about 4000 words from now until the end of NaNo (in 5 days).  

I have come to realize that that’s not realistic.

Nor is thinking that I will have a working first draft of this romance novel by month’s end.

Neither of those things is a thing.

It sucks, but that’s the reality of it.

I have some dear friends who continue to cheerlead me and tell me that is possible. And yes, it is possible but it is not very probable at this point.

And I’m mostly OK with that.

I’m pissed at myself for not planning out this story more. I like my character now (It took me unilt 11/11 before I gave a shit about her). And she’s fun (now) to write.

If had planned and fleshed out the story and her character before November, I could have been spending the month getting her in to and out of crazy scenarios. But I didn’t. And that kind of cheeses me off.

So, what now?  Well, I’m not giving up writing for NaNo.

National Novel Writing Month is pretty much the Boston Marathon for writers. It requires dedicated year-round planning and focus.  Neither of which I am really in possession of at the moment. I mean, I should be, but you know, life man. Not to mention that I work for a retail company. And November is our busiest time of year.

Yes. I know it sounds like I’m making excuses for why I’m not going to win. And if you look at my previous blog posts this month, with the exception of the interview with Vee Gregory, you will see a similar pattern. They kind of break down like this.

I’m probably not going to win NaNo and here’s why in as many words as possible without boring the ever loving fuck out of you. Yeah, I know, too late, right?

But, thing is, if you are embarking on NaNo this year or next year or the year after that, you need to know 2 things.

  1. You may not hit the 50,000 Word Goal.
  2. And that’s OK.
While I’m pretty sure I’m not going to get any kind of workable draft for Love’s Letters, Lost by Friday, I know that the writing I’m doing on it this month are still helping me. It’s not like I’m going to shelf the book after the month is over.  I really like the story and I plan to continue it and see it through to completion. And that’s the real point of NaNo. It’s not to hit that 50K word count, it’s to write.

Just fucking write.

It’s easy to say. Just sit down and write. But if you really want to make a life out of this passion, you have to do more than say it, you have to do it.

You have to live it.

You have to make sure that wherever you are, there is something with you to capture the words. Pen, paper, recorder, napkin and tube of lipstick, your child’s crayons and a Sesame Street coloring book. Something. Anything.

The words will NOT wait for you. They will come when they are damn well ready to come. They don’t owe you anything.  You need to be ready for them. If you’re not ready for them when they show up, it has been my experience that they will go to someone who is.

I realize that this hasn’t been a typical pep talk. And that’s OK. It doesn’t need to be. I just needed something to be real and raw and express how I’m feeling about NaNo right now. I’m not in my happy place with it.

Maybe I will be in 5 days.

Maybe I won’t.

Doesn’t matter.

I can guarantee that wherever I am in 5 days, I’ll be writing.

And that’s kind of the point.

Peace out, I have some more writing to do.
And now I leave you with a bit of tongue in cheek motivation. My personal parody of those ‘sexy’ you should be writing memes.

You’re welcome,

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