Struggling.

To my future reader,

I’m not doing well. The purpose of this blogdiary was to inspire and encourage me to write, and it’s not. I’m not writing the blog as much as I’d like and I’m adding to my novel even less. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself, but at the rate I’m going, I wont have a final draft I’m happy with for over a year.

Two years from starting. National Novel Writing Month would have to be extended to National Novel Writing Year for me to be able to finish at my current rate. That’s if I could muster up the strength to write 100 words a day.

I don’t know what’s a good amount of words per day. I haven’t written enough to keep track over the eleven days I’ve been attempting it, I have written about 3,000 words in the past ten days. I’d have written more but I literally deleted a whole days work because it was crap. I sat down one day and forced myself to write, but I wasn’t happy with a single word I wrote so I deleted it all and called it a day. I’d written about 1,000 words that day, an NNWM best. I wasn’t writing my best because I didn’t want to be writing at all, I was just writing for the sake of it, and that’s an awful way to write. That’s the first lesson I have learnt from this experience, writing when you want to is far more productive than writing when you don’t.

I’ve read and researched other budding novellists thoughts and feelings to see if how I’m acting about it is normal, rational. A lot of what I’ve read is people who can’t wait to write, who get up and write, live for it. To mis-qouote a Fatboy Slim song, Eat. Sleep. Write. Repeat. But I can’t do that. I want to do that, but I can’t. Something built into the structure of my being is stopping me, and I know what it is.

I am chronically lazy.

People who write for a living, as a job, as a career, they have to sit down and write because if they don’t then their houses go cold and their kids go hungry. If I don’t write nothing happens, I don’t have to write. But I want to. I am a full time University Student studying one of the (I think) hardest degrees there is (probably). When I get in from lectures  I don’t want to have to go straight into my other full time “occupation.” After a day of Uni I want to sit on my arse with my housemates and play on the Xbox or watch crap on the telly, or catch up on this weeks The Walking Dead or Homeland, or have  a nap, or eat. I want to relax and unwind, go out with my flat mates, get drunk, be a typical University student. I want it, but it isn’t enough. I don’t want to be typical. I don’t want to be average. I want to be extraordinary. I want to do something that your typical University Student doesn’t do. Although I’m sure many Students are part-time novellists, I couldn’t name you any. Not any that I know personally, at least.

Being average isn’t enough for me, I have always been average. Average height, average shoe size, I’m from an average family in statistically one of the most average towns in the country. And I’m not just saying that for effect, my town is used a tester for a lot of products and ideas because, statistically, it is average. In population, size, location, racial dispersion, house prices, salary and the lot. That is enough for some people but it isn’t enough for me, I have to do something to break out of that bracket, and I am trying my hardest but I am too God damn lazy. Without sounding like a massive douche, the only thing above average about me is my intelligence, and I don’t want to waste that by not making a difference with it.

The biggest mistake I’ve made so far is stopping. That’s the second thing I’ve learned, it’s hard to get back into it once you’ve stopped. I stopped after ~23,000 words. My original plan was to just get the story down, tell the story I wanted to tell in roughly the way I wanted to tell it, and then add in all the detail to fill it out. After I’d finished the storytelling I would add the proper character and location descriptions, I’d add the character and relationship development. That was my plan. It was a bad plan.

Now, even though the story isn’t finished, when I go back to try and add any detail, I struggle. I struggle because if I want to add anything I find myself having to change what I’ve already written, if I want to introduce a character earlier, to describe them, I have to rewrite and revise when I had originally introduced them. Fortunately I hadn’t really involved many characters in the main storyline, (that’s not as bad as it sounds) so I don’t have to rewrite much. But you get the idea.

Thing #3 that I’ve learnt is something that I should already know. Plan. My English teacher would always get on my back about planning my work before I wrote it, she said it was what kept my essay’s from going from good to great. I, apparently, have a habit of rambling when I haven’t planned, and not kinda really know what I’m trying to say sort of thing if you know what I mean. (That rambling was intentional, to prove my point, for the record.) Not knowing properly where I was headed with my novel, I think, restricted it somewhat. If I had have planned my characters and my locations, and my stories and my plots and my subplots and my whatevers properly before I started writing, then I could have written a complete and whole body of work, rather than just writing the skeleton then adding the organs and the flesh later on.

So those were the three I’ve lessons learnt so far.

  1. Write when I want to write, not when I think I have to write.
  2. Starting again is as hard as starting in the first place.
  3. Failing to plan is planning to fail.

 

I’ve just realised this blog post is 1,100 words long. I’ve written over 1,000 words without realising it, and I feel like I’ve naturally come to an end. Maybe that should be my target, 1,000 per day. Either 1,000 in a novel, or 1,000 in a blog post, or 500 in each. Writing is writing and writing is good for me. Let’s see how well that goes.

James

 

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