November 6, 2017

Do What You Love

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NaNoWriMo has been going really well so far! I’m already 16,337 words into my new novel and am absolutely loving it. This story-line has really recaptured the initial exhilaration and love of writing which fueled me through the first draft of The End of Refuge.

However, I have a confession to make. I’ve never won NaNo before. The past two times that I participated, I kept up with the daily goals all the way until Thanksgiving and then got too busy hosting and entertaining to devote enough time to pass the 50K-words mark.

The rough draft of my first novel was around 80,000 words long and I finished drafting it in only 6 weeks. So 50,000 words in 30 days should be a piece of cake, right?

I’ve been treating my publishing as a business instead of a hobby, and I let that mindset bleed into my writing process. Last year, I blocked out two hours every day for my writing sessions—just enough time to reach the daily word goal. Unfortunately, I hadn’t accounted for any flexibility in my plan, so taking a few days off near the end of the month made it impossible to catch back up.

I had the idea for my current NaNo novel almost a year ago but put it on the back burner to focus on turning my space opera novel into a series. Again, I blocked off two-hour chunks of my days to work on a second book for the series, making sure to write at least 1,500 words each session. It turned into a real slog. I was no longer interested in the world I had created and had lost the joy I had initially felt while writing.

Torturing myself, trying to finish a book I didn’t enjoy, I made the choice to set it aside for now. It was a surprisingly hard decision to make—like giving up a cute puppy you don’t have the time to care for.

For The Other Humans, I decided to write it similar to how I wrote The End of Refuge: letting my passion for the project dictate my process. This means sneaking in writing sessions throughout my day, spontaneously hammering out chapters, and writing late into the night for particularly tense scenes and when inspiration hits. It also means I might get stuck in a couple places and have to take a day off here and there. And that’s okay.

The important thing is that I’ve recaptured the joy of writing. Also, this novel is chock-full of suspense, cyborgs, and world building which are all really fun to write!

I recommend watching this video Kim Chance recently made about failure. Sometimes we set lofty—and slightly unrealistic—goals for ourselves. It’s important to forgive yourself for your failures, and then dust yourself off and try again.

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