I’m Behind On NaNo

(many tears)

After powering through 4,000 words on the first day, my assault on the 50,000-word summit of NaNoWriMo has ground to an impressive halt; I’ve not written anything for two days now and, for the first time, I am below my target, putting up a paltry total of 16,083 words compared with yesterday’s goal of 16,667. And the problem is that I don’t know if I can get back into the groove, which is a terrible thing to say after a week.

The problem is not time; today I have four hours between my last lecture and the Rise Against gig I’m insanely excited about which is lots of time to write around 6,000 words, if I went for it. The problem is also not having ‘useful time’; I’ve found at uni that having a free hour is no guarantee of spending an hour being productive, if that hour comes between two lectures you’re probably going to try to nap or take a break as opposed to work, even if your timetable has a big gap in it.

The problem, and this is a first-world-problem reserved for only the most pretentious wankers out there, is that my novel is too good (or at least complex – I’m sure it still sucks). Basically, the novel I thought I’d write for NaNo – a fish-out-of-water story with necromancy chucked in – was a simple romp through one character learning about friendship and shit, with a single, linear narrative that didn’t require lots of planning and map-drawing to make sense of; my other, non-NaNo novel is much more complex and requires all that jazz, so I didn’t want to have to speed-write it in a month. However, my NaNo novel now includes three different narratives, that have tumbled befuddlingly into three genres – detective, political drama, and action/character development – that are rather difficult to balance in terms of how much to write of each, when I can switch between them, and how subtle do I have to make the links between them, to remind readers these are all pushing towards a singular goal, but without making it too obvious for the split to be totally pointless?

I suppose this is a cataclysmic byproduct of not planning the damn thing beyond the one line I gave you in the previous paragraph, that my writing style – to be creative and elaborate – and my pattern of thinking – to find every possible tangent and develop it for the Hell of it – have been let loose upon this poor novel, and now I’m writing something that probably rivals my non-NaNo novel for complexity, and therefore work on my part to write.

And I have a million other things to do this month! There are the gigs, and the art magazine I could write five times for in the next four weeks, and the dodgeball tournament, and these blogs, and God knows what else; I like writing, and I think NaNo is a great idea, but I have to prioritise the things I’m doing, or at least how well I’m doing them if I can fit them all in. And writing a novel, for no purpose other than ‘why not?’ comes rather far down on a list where winning a competition, or working towards a degree, are other end points to be worked towards.

I’ve stuck to a mantra in the past when it comes to problems, that they will continue to be problems until they will are overcome – complaining, avoiding, or even unsuccessfully confronting them will do no good. So I’m going to try to finish my 50,000-word political detective drama with action scenes and a focus on complex and meaningful characters, and if not it’ll just be another thing to do over December. So screw you, surprisingly difficult tasks, I’ll fail to complete you in a blaze of spell-checking and plot device-patching glory!


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