Wow. I wrote a novel. A whole freakin novel. WHhhAaaa?? How is that even possible?
To be honest, I haven’t the slightest idea. I had no idea what was going on most of the time. The only thing that I did was that I kept consistent with writing every day.
You might say, “well that’s not good that you’ve basically been unconscious the whole time you’ve been writing this thing.” Someone quoted Anne Lamott to me a little while ago, saying that this was completely normal. I think she said something to the effect that, writing a novel was a bit like driving at night while it’s super foggy, and you can only see a few feet in front of you.
I think this is such a beautiful description of writing. The best thing that you can do when you’re writing is to focus on the moment that you are writing about, and write your little heart out. Things will become clearer once you continue writing, and you can always return to things that don’t make sense. Hence the mercy of editing.
I’d also like to share another bit of advice that I gleaned from the November/December issue of Writer’s Digest that I picked up before November began. The issue focuses a great deal on NaNoWriMo, and includes an article with a bit of writing inspiration for every day of the novel writing month. I want to highlight an article that Michael James Ploof wrote that’s listed for today and tomorrow’s advice. His insight into noveling is:
“Entice your muse with whatever will make the process enjoyable. Think of yourself as a conduit for your story.
In February 2014 I finished the fourth book of my Amazon bestselling series Whill of Agora. I’d been tossing around another story idea and was eager to start the project.
I wanted to try to write the book in 30 days. My plan was 2,000 words a day minimum, and February was a great month to attempt such a feat, as it can reach -20 degrees here in northern New York. I outlined my ideas (most of which never made it in–my work tends to take on a life of its own and not conform to my plans) and made myself comfortable at the kitchen table with my laptop and Bob Marley playlist.
That first week I drank 21 coffees and wrote over 26,000 words, averaging 3,800 a day. The following week I wrote another 24,000 words, averaging 3,400 a day. By now the plot was getting thick, as were my character worksheet folders. I was writing 6-10 hours a day, getting up early so I could do most of my writing while my daughter was in school. (If I work too much while family is around I feel like I’m neglecting them, even though I write full-time.) When I started to lose steam, it would keep me going to log onto the Kindle author boards’ ‘2,000 words a day club’ to find (and offer) motivation.
I finished the book in 18 days at 70,000 words–not a heavyweight, but a good size for my genre. I self-published The Windwalker Archive, Book 1, Talon, on May 7, 2014. As I write this it is No. 4 in Amazon’s Children’s Coming of Age Fantasy Books Kindle store.
My advice: Lure your muse out with some chocolate and pinot noir, grab a hold of her, and tie her to your desk until you are done. Show up every day with your goal in mind and do not leave until you’ve surpassed it. Don’t try to create the story-listen, and let it be told through you. When you take the responsibility of creating the story out of the equation, it becomes quite easy. You are simply a conduit.”
Immediately after reading this, I looked up the definition of “conduit” on Google, and it reads, “a channel for conveying water or other fluid” (because ok, yes, for that moment, I completely forgot what that word meant. And yes, I did graduate as an English major and therefore I should know every word, but that’s besides the point. I’m going to come to the point now before I lose you guys).
If we let our writing flow through us like water, the story will come together. We shouldn’t try to take charge of the characters, but should simply let the story write itself. We are merely the typists.
And now if I may, I would like to make the briefest (briefest? Most brief??) analogy to loving others, as a fellow follower of Christ. If we are truly Christ-loving and consciously live in the spirit, then love too will flow like water through us to others. The concept is really that simple, even though it can be hard at times. Just like writing!
Anyway, I’m going to leave the briefest (again, briefest or most brief?? Who knows, who knows) analogy right there. And that’s not just because that’s the biggest point I can make (that’s some of the idea), but also because I am so tired, I just can no longer form a coherent thought (that’s the biggest reason). I was up late last night due to Black Friday shopping and some more unconscious writing, so yeah, there’s that.
Oh, and just to prove that I am officially a novelist, here’s a picture of my official certificate to show that I really officially did it! Officially!!
So yeah! I still can’t believe I actually did it, and I’m in such a state of shock right now, I might just go and eat an apple with peanut butter. And then maybe I’ll also eat some leftover apple crumble. Who knows! The world is my oyster, and my, do I love pearls!
…ok, that was just plain weird. Aaaaand I’m out!