Wednesday, October 5, 2011

IWSG post on Finishing and NaNoWriMo

It's that time again, Insecure Writer's Support Group is up and ready to talk today. The topic I've chosen is the "can I ever finish anything" insecurity that I often have since I write so many novels at one time and have nothing ready to submit after 5+ years of writing. I chose this topic because even though I did basically the same topic, there is a special portion this month because NaNoWriMo is just around the corner and is one where I've both succeeded and failed in finishing novels.

Last time I focused on finishing in order to send out, but let's pull back the reigns a little bit. Writing anything above 50,000 words can be difficult to finish and I'm so easily distracted. When I first started writing the goal for NaNoWriMo of writing 50,000 words in one month seemed daunting and in less than 15 days down right impossible. Back in 2006 I had only written poetry and a few attempts at short stories, nothing much past 1,000 words. So, the task of finishing a full length novel was hard to figure out and it showed in my few thousand total the first year. I haven't finished that story either. But what I've learned from the failed years at NaNoWriMo is simply to keep writing.

Because my third year I not only wrote 50,000 words in 30 days but I also finished the novel a couple of weeks later. I had my first finished first draft ever back in 2008 and it was awesome. I haven't edited it yet but I still love the story. And it proved to me I could finish a draft.

Then I wrote 67,000 words in March of 2010, proving to myself that with the right characters and story, I could do even more words. That novel even is finished and waiting to be edits with the highest word count I've finished in one story to this date (90,000). Woot! Sure, in 2009 I wrote basically nothing but it's okay.

Last year I managed to write 50,000+ words in 13 days. Sure, I haven't finished the novel yet but it's one that I'm writing just for me. Being an epic fantasy novel, I've still got another 50k to go and I plan to but being stalled is okay with me.

And here we are again. NaNoWriMo 2011 starts in less than a month and I will admit, the doubt is still here. Yes, after 67k in one month and 50k in 13 days, I still doubt that I'll finish. That doubt surfaces every year. I wonder if I will make the 50k goal and I wonder if I will finish the story either during the month (which I have never done before) or at least some time after.

Do you have any insecurities with finishing and NaNoWriMo?

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Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Finishing to me is just the start, because then there's the edits, edits, edits. It's knowing when you're REALLY finished (i.e. ready to submit) that is the challenge for me. I love that you've made such great progress, though! 50k in 13 days!! Holy cats. If you can do that, you can do anything. :)

Heidi Windmiller said...

I could have written this post.

I'm in the same situation--where I've been writing seriously for a little over five years now and have never queried. I've finished four rough drafts and most of them have been though critique groups and beta read, but I just never seem to get though all the editing because I lose interest and head on other things.

So I've started to make myself reopen past drafts. And I find that after a few months (or years) away, I'm excited about them again. I'm ready to get back in there.

I think some of us just have a different way of working on things--we can't just barrel though a novel using the traditional writing process circle. So, yeah, it's been five years and sometimes I feel like I have nothing to show for it--but then I realize that I'm learning and growing and that, given a long enough timeline, I will finish!

Tricia Clasen said...

Almost an identical theme for me. I'm right there with you. We can do it!

Jessica Salyer said...

Good luck to you, I hope you finish. :) I have almost 30,000 on my WIP and still going. This is the first time I have ever tried to write a novel, so I hope/will finish. There have been many times in the past though that I have "started" a book. I have about 20 first chapters. Thanks for the great blog.

S. L. Hennessy said...

Hi, new follower and fellow insecure writer. I definitely have a lot of insecurities, and also have trouble finishing what I start. every time I begin something, I get a new, better idea and want to start working on that. It's my writer's ADD. But I think if you can really sit down and focus on JUST one, it can be done. Try to use November to complete something! Great post!!


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