For the past few months, I’ve been actively plotting my WIP. I have not been editing or writing, really, but outlining my way through draft 2.75 of my WIP.
I have never been one to extensively outline prior to writing a novel, and usually I don’t extensively outline at all. However, with past projects, I’ve run into the problem of endless edits, of never being satisfied with my plot, and of getting halfway through an edit only to realize that I have a plot point that isn’t working and I will need another, extensive, revision to make the novel work. The novel I have in mind for that one is currently on the back shelf of my brain and bookshelf. It’s a novel I will probably return to at one point, but its plot requires some work–some major outlining work.
But, for all the trouble that novel has given me, it has also been the one novel that I can’t let go of. Not because of how many hours I’ve spent writing and rewriting it, but because it is a story that I am passionate about, with characters that are probably more real to me than many acquaintances I have in real life. I know their backstories, their current stories, their futures. I know them. And I love them–even the villain. Does that mean that the characters don’t need work? No. Of course they do–they are fictional, and probably have fallen prey to my weaknesses as a writer. But they are real. And I never really outlined their stories.
My current WIP (StM, I will refer to it), has been outlined. I outlined briefly before I began, again after I finished the rough (NaNo) draft, and then began rewriting based on that adjusted outline, and then, halfway through that rewrite, realized that I had issues my outline hadn’t addressed. So now I am spending much more time on the outline, and hopefully will have all the plot issues ironed out by the time I return to StM and begin editing draft 2.75. (I’m calling it that because I made it halfway through my second draft before realizing it had issues and I needed to return to the beginning.)
However, as some of you may know, NaNoWriMo is not only run in November, but also in April and July. April and July are the Camp NaNo months, where you can set a variable goal for yourself, as low as 1000 words and (I think) as many as a million.
Up until April 1st, I was pretty undecided about whether I would attempt Camp this month or not. However, after doing a bit of quick math, I decided that I could, most likely, write 500 words a day. Those five hundred measly words every day of April add up to 15000 words by April 30th.
Now I hadn’t really devised a story by the time I began writing April 1st. In fact, I determined not to plot for Camp NaNo at all.
Normally, I really would advise having a clue about what you’re writing before sitting down to write, but I have approached this NaNo with the purposeful attempt to rediscover my joy of writing.
Since having my son just over a year ago, writing has become more chore and less fun. I still enjoy writing, and I wish I could write more, but with much less time to myself, I have had to be more purposeful about my writing and my writing time. So this month, I decided to give myself the gift of unplanned and uncensored writing.
And what have I discovered? Well, five hundred words a day is easy. No, finding the time is not always easy, finding the energy is not always easy, especially with an exhausting toddler running around the house and devising new ways of challenging me. However, five hundred words can be written in less than thirty minutes. Do I have that time? Yes. I can make that time. Even if it’s in five minute increments, I can make thirty minutes out of my day to write five hundred words.
I’ve also discovered that writing is fun. When I’m not worried about sticking to an outline, about whether someone else is going to read this (ever!), I can have fun. I can write five hundred words about the shape of a stone if I want to–if no one but me reads it, who cares? And what if, in the course of writing about that stone, I discover that it’s actually the gateway to a world more secret than Narnia?
No, what I’ve discovered is that revision is where the real work is. And I don’t plan on revising this short story right now, perhaps not ever. Instead, I’m using it to rediscover the love I have for my characters and to explore a plot with them that I won’t be using in StM.
So tell me, how do you rediscover your love of writing?