So the first week has come and gone. I can now say from (limited) experience that this is not for the faint of heart.
I am quite literally mentally exhausted. Although I still fully believe that this will be worth it in the end (right, guys?) right now I have to be honest in that this feels like work. Hard work.
I used to write creatively or journal often, however that all fell away when I started a university career in the sciences. I still read a lot of fiction – especially compared to my cohorts – but the writing all but stopped. Looking at this as a mental exercise is a good analogy and I will tell you without a shred of doubt that my creative mind is getting its butt kicked in some cruel boot camp right about now.
Here are the main challenges I’ve come up against
1. My Inner Editor
As predicted, I am almost compulsive about re-reading what I write – often multiple times. This is quite obviously working against me in the main objective of word count.
2. Motivation (or lack thereof)
After a day at work the last thing I feel like doing is staring at my cursor while it blinks defiantly at me. I truly do believe that I will break through a wall at some point and everything will flow a lot easier. I have not made it there yet, nor do I feel I am even close.
3. Mental Exhaustion
I’ve caught myself a few times this week struggling for words in conversation. I think I used them all up.
I’m beginning to think that I painted myself into a corner almost from the beginning by choosing a multi-perspective novel. It has been very frustrating to try and write from several voices other than my own and make them sound authentic. Add to that the temptation to compare yourself to others NaNo-ers (the Ottawa-Gatineau liaison is at 53 259…on day 8) and I struggle to remain optimistic.
Through identifying these challenges I’m hoping to be able to face them head on.
My Inner Editor (a.k.a. inner critic) is a challenge I struggle against daily in my personal life. This is an exercise as much in silencing that editor as writing for me.
As far as motivation goes, I’ve built in some of my own through telling as many people as possible that I’m participating in NaNoWriMo. I know now that people will ask me about it and I want to have good answers. Additionally, @Woodsay1121 and I have scheduled a best-of-seven series of Word Wars. So far the series is tied at 1-1 and a little friendly competition never hurts.
Mental exhaustion and frustration go hand-in-hand with each other but life is nothing if you’re not challenging yourself. Life presented me a challenge with NaNoWriMo and, well – challenge, accepted.
Although I wouldn’t call Week 1 a resounding success from word count perspective, I remain committed to seeing this through. I am constantly reminding myself that even undertaking this challenge is a success in itself. As someone I love very much once said – pain is temporary, glory is forever.
Remember to comment, tweet at, and generally follow me in my journey. Any shreds of wisdom, encouragement, or brilliant plot points will be gratefully accepted.
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www.nanowrimo.org (Erin Chezick)