NaNoWriMo and November #WriteMotivation Wrap-up

I just realised my first #Writemotivation and NaNo post for November was saved as a draft . . . and never published. This is the ultimate example of how scattered my brain has been. My great ability to start things and not finish them has reared its head this year. Well, that’s quite enough ofΒ that. If nothing else, I hereby dedicate 2013 to be the year of finishing projects/tasks/goals I start, and being able to happily point at finished products before moving on to the next thing.

To everyone who wrote *any* words during November for NaNo, WELL DONE! A lot of friends and Twitterers have said they focused more on the quality of the words they wrote this year, as opposed to just throwing whatever up there in order to “win”, and I’m wholeheartedly in this camp. I think NaNo is an awesome motivator for people to get pen to paper and fingers to keyboard. It’s rewarding to be writing alongside others, even if they’re fellow storytellers we’ll never meet, and this is never more obvious to me than during NaNo, so thank you to everyone who shared encouraging words on Twitter πŸ™‚

Writing Ahead of the Blank Wall

My goals for November #Writemotivation and NaNo were the same: add 50k to my WIP, A BREATH OF SILVER, and I succeeded. This time I tried something different though – I have the synopsis for the story down, all the pivotal story points and the ending, but it was the little details and connecting scenes that I began to struggle with halfway through the month. Some days I wrote nothing. Two weekends my husband and I were away so I got nothing down, but I secretly revelled in these excuses to take a break. Then I decided to do what someone suggested: write what I know right now. I wrote some pivotal scenes I’ve had simmering for awhile, and in doing so, on the spot I came up with details, characters, and side plots that I’ll have to explain later.

For instance, my MC–Bryn–travels from North London to Scotland in 1691. The last scene in chronological order I wrote was her arrival north of the border. Then when I blanked on what happens between her arrival in Scotland to her life at her ancestral clan’s Highland castle, I jumped several months ahead to her trying to fit in, what job she’s doing there, and what friends and rivals she’s made. That meant I immediately had to make up the peripheral characters and situations that would propel her to the next plot point: meeting a romantic interest and major character. It also means that the bits that will come in between her arrival in Scotland and her life at the castle are now sketched out, and backtracking to write these scenes will be much easier.

The point is, I think sometimes you need to move forward to fill the gap. It can be a massive chasm of unknown obstacles, characters, creatures, threats. There could be anything in there, particularly as this is first and foremost a fantasy. But when I jumped to the other side of that ravine, since I know what happens there, I can look back easier than I could look forward. I know some are totally against writing out of order, but I’m finding it really does get my creative juices flowing when I’ve reached a wall. So, you never know until you try. If you’re stuck, I recommend it! But probably only if you’ve got a solid overall synopsis constructed first.

It felt great to reach my goals this month for the first time in awhile, and special thanks to Leigh Caroline, Megan Peterson, and Andrew Patterson for encouragement, and Susan Dennard and Sarah J. Maas for their fabulous #NaNoWriMoBattle word sprints that seriously pushed me! Hope everyone enjoyed pressing forward in their goals this month, and are enjoying the holiday season!

Oh yeah, and yesterday was a year since my husband proposed to me πŸ™‚ Nice to see my ring has survived everything I’ve put it through, including climbing Helvellyn in the Lake District covered in snow, climbing the highest peak in England & Wales (Snowdon), as well as other hills, scurrying down rocks to reach a hidden cove in Cornwall, jumping off a boat into the freezing-cold Mediterranean, and many other adventures. Here’s to many more πŸ™‚ <3

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7 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo and November #WriteMotivation Wrap-up

  1. First off – LOVE LOVE LOVE what you’ve done with your blog. It looks absolutely gorgeous.

    Second – we survived NaNo!

    For the first time I ever, I jumped back and forth between scenes and chapters this year. I’ve had so many different things flying through my head for this book since February that I couldn’t keep things in chronological order in my thoughts all the time, so I did the same thing – I’d look back and what I’d already written to see what else needed to go in when I got stuck. And it got me over 50k!

    1. Congrats on the 50k+!!

      Thanks a lot, Rebekah! Much appreciated πŸ™‚ And YES – survival is the key desired result! I’m definitely thinking that if the scenes are in my head, its best to get them down sooner rather than waiting for it to be the right time chronologically. If for no other reason, for me personally, that I’m likely to forget how I originally imagined the scene if I don’t get it out of my head. I used to be so anal retentive, thinking if I skipped even a sentence to fill in later, I wasn’t doing it “properly” but I’m glad I got over that πŸ˜‰

  2. Aw, thanks for the shoutout, Chy! I really appreciated your support during NaNo as well. I’m so happy that you’re enjoying the new WIP! πŸ™‚

    1. Same to you! I’d like to get into the habit of writing EVERY day, even in the midst of other life things, so maybe that’ll be my writing goal for December πŸ™‚ I need to start that today, then, since I wrote nothing for Dec 1-2.

  3. Whoohooo on your goals! I’m still laughing at our MCs having the same name (mine might change later, though, if it gets too confusing) just spelled slightly different. For me, it so depends on the story. Most I can’t skip around in, because my brain won’t work that way.. but there are some where it’s the only way to write them. I figure, I can patch it up in edits.

    1. I’m sure there are plenty other stories out there with the same MC name. Has to be. Right?? And ours are spelled differently πŸ˜‰ But you know what they say about great minds! I’m sure they don’t have the same surname. I had to change my MC’s name in NG when I learned it was the same as an agent’s I was about to query (ha). And as for writing out of order, I think I’m just finding my brain wants to do what it’s thinking of *now* before it forgets it. Not sure if that is a great sign for old age… πŸ˜‰

  4. congrats on making through and winning nano! that must feel so great! i also learned that trick of skipping ahead in my story when i was stuck a few years ago and could have slapped myself on the forehead for not trying it sooner. it is so freeing and like you said so much easier to go back and fill in the missing bits that gave you trouble to begin with.

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