Monday, December 10, 2012

Fast Drafting, NaNo, and Changes

It has taken me from the end of November, when I finished Nanowrimo, until an hour ago to pull my thoughts together in regards to all the writing I've accomplished in the past two months.

My overworked brain needed to gorge on caffeine and sweet baked goodness and quiet, happy places before it would cooperate with a round-up here on the blog. Now I really understand the twitter hashtag "writerproblems".

On December 1st, I felt like this:
I'm good. I'm gooo-ahh*YAWN* Just don't touch me.

Over the last week, I've finally turned into:
Are we going to do this or not?

Was all the writing worth it?
Hells Yes.
Awesome. Why?
See below:

1. Taking the Fast Draft/Revision Hell class held me accountable and taught me I could finish a draft. And revise it. Well, revise it a bit.

1a - I'd never send said revised draft to beta readers, much less out with queries, but it is a more polished draft than the original hurried draft.

2. Nanowrimo was amazing. As I'd just finished a 70k word MS in two weeks the month before, 50k came much easier. Added plus: this MS was handled with more care as I wanted to focus on the story and not just word count - which was easier to do after that the FD class made me a believer in my own ability to finish on time.

2a - Only downside was that I didn't check in everyday and I didn't verify my 53k word MS at the end of the month (it's not finished, but my nano word goal was met). Ooops! Well, there's always next year to get that Winner Badge for the blog. Still, I was happy to know my October MS wasn't a fluke. Thanks to November Nanowrimo, I now have two viable manuscripts.

3. After all the writing and revisions and both stories were put away, I can honestly say I'm stupendously proud that I forced myself to just do it! BICHOK (butt in chair, hands on keyboard) actually works. Imagine that. No wonder other writers were quoting BICHOK for like ever.

See, I've had this writer problem since I chose creative writing as my focus in college. Maybe you've heard of my writer-disease: Holding Oneself To Perfectionist Ideals That Are Totally Unrealistic.

Or maybe it's just me.
It started with classes and lectures that went as so:

Professors: Read this on craft. Read this published fiction piece. Recreate in your work.
Me: Wait, there are rules? And formulas?! And I'm doing it ALL WRONG!
Professors: *stares*
Me: *obsesses over non-rules, non-formulas, and flails* I will not write until I know everything there is to know about every part of the creative process so that when my characters do anything there is a deep rooted reason and it will be a brilliant reason with shiny metaphors and symbolism.

Yeah... That went about as well as you can imagine.

See, I could go on and on about how productive or hindering this type of learning enviornment can be, but what works for some doesn't for others, and vice versa. So, I'll just say that in my case it helped tremendously in some areas and nearly crippled me in others. I received my BA, MALS, & MFA within 7 years. Every bit of craft I learned in creative writing and screenwriting during that time was mostly valuable. However, it has since taken me 2 years (and counting) to let the creative process flow organically.

I'm happy to report that what the past two months of marathon writing has taught me the most is:
To write without hesitation, and not overanalyze Every Single Word/Decision/Outcome.

Oh, and one other gem I discovered writing all the words:
(you know how you hear something over and over again, but you never get the full meaning until it's something you've experienced for yourself? Yeah, that...)

Knowing that I have material ready to be worked over (if either of the stories still beckon to me a few months from now) is a huge motivator. After two months of BICHOK, I no longer have to stare at a blank page and worry if I'll fail or not. I've proved to myself that I can do this. I have stories on actual pages to work with. And that is a gift greater than any class fee, or month of dedicated writing.

What's next for this Writer Girl?
I have a new idea that is in the early stages of development. And now that I know I can finish a draft, I'm going to try and let this WIP flow as organically as possible - no more long outlines, no more obsessing over theme and symbolism, and no more analyzing every detail to death - I have started writing something with only a general idea of the beginning, middle, and end. And the freedom to fill in the holes the way the characters want is liberating in a way that finally allows my creative brain to breathe without anxiety or fear. It is a delicious feeling.

If you're still reading this - THANK YOU. You are awesome, and you should totally eat the biggest piece of chocolate near you. Also, I promise to do a more streamline job of blogging from here on out.

Any writing news, plans, or discoveries on your end friends?

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