It's November 6th, and I am thoroughly overwhelmed. November, in case you haven't heard, is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), wherein writers -- who might have gotten hit in the head one too many times -- decide to take on the momentous task of writing a novel-ish in one month. The ultimate goal of the month is to write a whopping 50,000 words in 31 days. (November has 31 days, right? Right. I think that's right.) That breaks down to 1,667 words every day, which at first blush doesn't necessarily seem like a lot. I mean, I write by the chapter, and my chapters typically run between 2-4,000 words. So I got 1,667 words easy!
Except not really. Writing is a task that gets easier* with habit. *Easier as in, the act of writing comes more naturally. Not the words, necessarily. See Surviving First Drafts for more on that.
I've been a bad writer over the last few months. I did just about everything except for sit down and write. Really, I did want to start getting back into my full-time-writing-routine, but I couldn't find the motivation to sit down. Part of that was depression/anxiety induced procrastination, and part of it was just don't feel like it procrastination.
I love writing. I always forget this, but really, I love writing. But I've spent so much time away from it that every time I sit down to get something written, it feels a little like I'm forcing myself. If I'm being completely honest, I'll tell you that I almost decided to not do NaNoWriMo this year. I have a new (exhausting) job. I've been having longer periods of increased anxiety -- it feels like I'm constantly living in this elevated anxious mode every minute of every day. I have WordNerds, and next Wednesday, I'll be traveling to Charleston for the week to go to YALLFest. All of the things are happening.
The list of reasons why I shouldn't do NaNoWriMo was long and growing longer the more stress that popped into my life. (My ceiling had a leak. My ceiling had a hole. Two holes. Another leak. I needed to find a way to deal with the anxiety my job had stirred up. And so on and so forth.) The only bullet point in my reasons that I should do NaNoWriMo is that I wanted to write this book. The project I chose to work on this November is Lovely Dark & Deep, which according to my notebook I started writing in July. Yuuuuuuup. Bad writer Erica. The first draft of LD&D should really have been finished by now. In fact, it should have been published by now, but... Well, see reasons above for why that didn't happen. And I was starting to feel really shitty about the fact that I wasn't publishing a book yet. It was beginning to feel like it's been too long since my last book came out. Which, for the record, was September 29th, so I need to chill -- but that was a nonfiction book. My last fiction book to come out was Infinite, the final installment in the Ignite series, and that came out mid-June.
So I'm writing. Every day. Because NaNoWriMo. It's going well, and I'm starting to fall back into step with the story. I was able to pick up where I left the story off without too much difficulty, thanks to the copious notes I've made myself. So many of these notes are of little use to the plot of the piece, but they help inform on character, world building, and the magic of the story that made me fall in love with the concept.
In case you haven't heard of Lovely Dark & Deep, it's a new adult dark fantasy romance that takes the concept of sirens and puts them in the woods -- so instead of luring sailors to their death, these sirens (or silvirn) lure hunters to their death, thus restoring the balance of nature and offering payment to the woods that protect them. That's my elevator pitch. Read more about it on GoodReads. As of tonight, the stats for LD&D are: 2,131 words written today; 16,804 counted toward NaNoWriMo and 36,867 total. Here are a few excerpts...
“Men go to war over many stupid things.”
These streets will run with their blood before they spill a drop of ours.
No one who lives in Valmead is innocent.
“What do you want to hear? I’ll tell you anything.” “That’s the problem, solider. I don’t want to hear just anything.”
“Do you enjoy the taste of their bones?” [...] “It’s more pleasurable than the finest wine anyone could ever bottle."
November is a lot already with just NaNoWriMo to consider, but on top of that, the WordNerds are partnering with NaNoWriMo to help produce content, and (as I mentioned above), I'm going to Charleston next weel for YALLFest! I'm very, very excited about the trip -- I'll finally get to meet all the WordNerds in person -- but I'm also hella, crazy nervous. Because flying. Because new place. Because we're sharing a house while we're down there and I'm a weirdo who gets anxious about that kind of thing. Oddly enough, there's also a small part of myself that worries that I won't live up to who I am online when they meet me in person because I am a lot more lowkey (i.e., less SUPER MEGA HAPPY AND EXCITED ALL THE TIME) than I am online. And even though all of this makes my anxiety cry, I'm doing it anyway because I want to. And I won't let anxiety hold me back from doing anything because it's my life, goddammit, and I'll do what I want!
Let me know in the comments if you're going to YALLFest or if you are also working on a project for NaNoWriMo! I'd love to hear from more people who are as busy/stressed/excited as I am!