I’ve begun my third draft, but I won’t have to be doing it at NaNoWriMo pace anymore. 1,667 words a day is good for forcing words out of someone, but eventually the well of words run dry and even if you can wear the ‘I wrote 1,667 words’ emblem, it’ll all be clunk anyway.
NaNoWriMo taught me I need to prepare some things first before going headfirst into writing.
This lesson here might leave you baffled, because if organization and planning come naturally to you, then you’d be telling me ‘of course it is, how other way is there to do anything’?. I am not one of those people who know every folder in their file cabinets, mental and physical. I cannot simply have to extend and hand and the document needed is between their pinching fingers. I wish I was this person sometimes, I really do.
But alas, I am a slob. There are not many days of the week you can enter my room without finding my things strewn carelessly and messily on the floor. And this sloppiness applies to my writing as well. Most days, I simply write with the wind and hope to hell it comes out decent. I’ve been fortunate enough to say that most of my pieces do in fact come out of the mind works rather decently after a bit of scraping off the rough edges. I can work a draft or two and get a decent grade in English class. This may seem infuriating to some people out there, I know. You may tell me that you have worked so hard, or that you have spent hours slaving over a keyboard and yet here I am doing nearly nothing and achieving. I understand that feeling as well as you. If there are people like me, you can bet your bottom dollar you can find people who can do it even better.
However, it’s infuriating for me as well. I’ve used this process so long, that I don’t even know how to reach my potential anymore. After so many years of half-hearted effort, I’m not even sure how I could put my all into it. I don’t know how to squeeze the metaphorical water from the towel anymore. How many more hours must I spend or things I must do to make it the end result I want? The sad thing is, I don’t know.
After all of these years, I just simply wanted to forget about my possible potential, since I don’t seem to be able to draw it out myself. But then I did NaNoWriMo. And there’s no way that after writing yourself to hell like that, that you can pull off a novel before thinking of any of your settings, or characters or plot, etc.
A novel is too large a thing to fit seamlessly to memory. Perhaps if I had more file cabinets up there, or a larger attic, I could stuff it up there and hope to God I can still find the right information at the right time. But we all know that’s not possible, unless you have the memory of Sherlock Holmes. But again, alas, I don’t possess that proficiency at memorizing.
So I’ve picked up the old writing program I used to have, Write It Now, and as dinky as it looks, I love it. It keeps all of my characters and events and references all in one place. It can take my word count and guestimate the age of my audience. It has files and places for me to put stuff into, digitally, so I am unable to lose it.
I can only hope my third draft will emerge something much better than the second, because at the pace I was working at, I can almost surmise it was worse than my first… which is infuriating. Remind me to actually plan my novel out before trying to attempt that again.
To those of you writing, write away! And good luck!