Last month I decided to explore a different realm of writing besides blogging, and I joined NaNoWrimo. I was writing a novel. In one month. Yeah, I know what you are thinking.
During this one month I not only attempted to write a novel, I also did some self-analysis, self-exploration and self-beating. As usual, I multitasked.
I also re-evaluated my opinions about certain writers. My respect for those who start to write a novel and actually finish it grew exponentially. I gained huge respect for Stephanie Meyer and her nauseatingly cheesy Twilight saga. At least, she was able to produce over 100K words that formed some sort of plot line. I acquired a different point of view towards the awfully crappy and painful (in many ways) erotica by E.L.James and Fifty Shades of Grey. You know why? Because they finished their novels. It does not matter that the novels are bad or good, poorly written or masterfully crafted. “Finished” is the key word here.
The following are the discoveries that resulted from all the multitasking I did last month.
Discovery #1: No Discipline
Writing is not an easy craft as it is, but writing a novel requires a lot of discipline. I do not possess such. Even if my creativity is soaring, and I know exactly what I am going to write, in reality it does not mean that I will sit down and write. Do you have to force yourself to sit down at night and pump out a 500 word blog post? Try writing about 2000 words every single day. Not everyone is cut out for it.
Discovery #2: No Sense of Accomplishment
Sense of accomplishment is a very powerful driving force in anything I do. It is a small daily success. Maybe I simply love the finished product. Writing bits and pieces of a novel did not make me feel accomplished. I felt stuck somewhere in the middle, and I was not achieving anything. The feeling was unsettling.
Discovery #3: No Attention
Writing is a lonely art. You sit down in front of your computer, you proceed writing your story. You are alone with your words. There is no one who comes to read it (until it is written and polished to perfection) and says to you “hey, this is good stuff” or “I don’t really agree with it.” I have to admit I love to get feedback from my readers. I love to receive comments. I love emails. Ok, fine, I’ll admit that I love attention. I am not a writer who can write when no one reads them. I write the best when people read me.
Discovery # 4: No “Thank You”
Writing a novel is thankless work. No one is going to send me emails, saying “thank you for writing this post because I also have a shopping addiction problem but I cannot talk to anyone about it because I am ashamed.” These words go beyond a simple “thank you.” These words make me feel important and my writing worth something. Writing a novel? Not so much!
Discovery #5: “Can” Does Not Equal “Should”
Just because you love writing, it does not mean that you have to write a novel. Just because your grammar is better than Bob’s or your own sister’s, it does not mean you have to become a novel writer. Just because you can write, does not mean you should.
If you ever attempted or (God bless you!) wrote a novel, share your thoughts with me!
18 thoughts on “Things I Learned About Myself in November”
At least you tried!
We’re still in the middle of our Yakezie 5,000 words a week Challenge. See the blogger’s lair. Hard work, but fun and easier with a group of folks through new year
I wrote about my latest book writing experiences on Yakezie.com today. It is so worth it.
I am not sure I can produce 5K in one week. Can I do just 2K? lol
Hey Nano buddy! I got stuck on 41k but am still claiming victory with my Nano experience. Have decided to finish my first ever manuscript before 2013. Writing is a tough discipline and anyone who tries it is a success in my book. I learnt alot about myself too and, what I discovered is that….I can do it!
41K? I didn’t make pass 35K. You are so close! I hope one day to read your work. Maybe it will inspire me to finish mine.
Interesting lessons learned — it was valuable to attempt that, since you learned things you otherwise wouldn’t know!
NaNo is a special kind of beast- and one I don’t participate in because it’s a format that doesn’t work for me. However, I do want to argue with point 3. It only works that way if you let it. I am part of a writing critique group that has been meeting every other week for over 7 years now. Each of us are at different stages of publishing and at different stages of our projects. Sometimes I will read something I wrote in the hour before our group met. Others will bring draft number 10 of a scene that is near perfection, as they try to put the finishing touches on a project.
Sometimes we have days when we don’t critique, but everyone sits and writes together.
Currently, I’m working on something I expect to be novella length. It will be the longest piece I’ve ever completed (if I complete it). However, like you, sometimes I feel the need to “finish” something, so I’ll take a break and write a short story, or more likely write a piece of flash fiction (generally 1000 words or less). That gives me the sense of accomplishment and refreshes me to get back to work on the longer project.
Wow, that’s crazy. I don’t think I can pump out that kind of volume. I would need to hire a new editor to fix all my mistakes. That’s why I don’t think I can write a book right now. Maybe I’ll improve over the next few years…
i think that it is awesome that you set aside the time to even make an honest attempt, truthfully.. i can’t wait to check out the final product… let us know if you want someone’s honest opinion about what you have so far..
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Props for trying! I lack discipline myself so I know where you come from. With true motivation I work better. Completely useless for thing I don’t want to do though.
Discipline is an issue for me too. They say that inspiration is the best working factor to write. With it, some people could accomplish excellent writings in just an instant even if that amount of work usually take much longer time.
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