Making the Finish Line and NaNoWriMo by Lyn Midnight

Happy Friday, everybody! I’m lovin’ Lyn’s post on NaNoWriMo today. I’ve yet to win it but I always participate.🙂 I’m over at new Life List Club member, Gary Gauthier’s place today – click over and take a looksee at my post on Kicking Creative A$$.
 

Don’t you just hate it when the planets align to deliver a celestial message to you, which you didn’t ask for or needed? Well, I do. The Universe has a funny sense of humor.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Hello followers and fans of Jenny Hansen! Can’t blame you for loving her; she is pretty cool. But she won’t entertain you today, I will; in yet another Life List Club blog hop.

You probably saw Jenny’s pictures post-ROW80 party yesterday, right? She looked so exciting, bless her. Well, just like ROW80 is all about the goals, so is… yes, NaNoWriMo. I know I’m not supposed to babble on about it endlessly, but I cannot hold in my excitement for long periods of time. Or short ones.

It’s one of those things you can’t keep in check. It’s unbridled enthusiasm.

So you know that Universal message I mentioned before? It came from several directions. It came in the form of an episode of Being Erica and a psychic secretary who aspired to be a novelist. It came in the form of a writing competition and a sleuth of NaNoWriMo fans, who are already gearing up for the marathon. And it came in the form of a tiny voice inside my head, a nauseatingly familiar one:

You can’t do it. You’ll suck so bad. Better give up before you go down.

Which basically translates to: You are going to fail.

And that’s where I draw the line. I draw it at defeat. I am sometimes inconsistent true, but haven’t I won NaNo for two years in a row? Haven’t I finished at least one first draft and outlined at least two others? Haven’t I learned to write a little every day, even if it was just a stray article or blog or poem?

That’s the thing though. For a while now, I haven’t been writing my WIP’s. My sci-fi is going stale, the MC screaming bloody murder. Rya’s story, which I put on my Life List, is on hold until I get my shit together with managing multiple blogs and twitter accounts. And the very first novel, the One that started this whole writing journey, is ready and buried.

I’m wondering if this is normal. A large part of me says it’s not.

A normal person would ask why I’m not doing what I want: to write. A sane person would set a time to write and follow through every day. A smart person would know how to keep themselves motivated. Right? But I am not those people. I am me. Insecure little me.

I know I can do a lot with my life. I know I have some great ideas in that random brain of mine. And somehow, this is not enough. So today I make a mental note, set a goal if you will, to make it through NaNoWriMo with a finished first draft. Because I’ll let you in on my dirty secret: the last times I won, I didn’t finish the books. Chris Baty didn’t say ‘in one month, you must finish a novel’, he said ‘in one month, you must write 50K’, which is not even the size of a finished novel.

And I didn’t finish because I had no decent outline and no clear end in mind.

This year I’m determined to have a completed first draft at the end.

And it took that one episode of Being Erica (it’s great and Canadian) to make me realize that I’ve been putting my passion on hold. You know… that thing I constantly talk about, think about, blog about… I don’t do it enough. Not in a way that matters anyhow. And it took a sleuth of WriMos to make me realize that writing can also be fun, pressure-free. Especially if you share it with other writers!

So I will shut out the mean little voice and follow the Universal cues. And if I have to, I’ll write more than 50K to get there. Hell, I’ll write 500K if I must!

I’ll do whatever it takes to finish my NaNoWriMo novel this year.

Have you ever left a story unfinished? What stopped you? What would it take to finish it?

Bio:

Lyn Midnight writes in various genres and formats (fantasy, scifi, poetry), and likes to blog about anything her heart desires over at Lyn Midnight Against the Odds. She is currently working on a sci-fi novel and managing another blog – WriMos FTW! – where she invites fellow WriMos to guest-blog and spread the madness. The person behind the handle is a Psychology graduate and eternal nomad, trying to make her big break somewhere in England. Long live the Queen! And long live our dreams.

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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31 Responses to Making the Finish Line and NaNoWriMo by Lyn Midnight

  1. Sherry Isaac says:

    Hello Jenny and Lyn,

    I met the NaNo challenge last year. I had 2 completed manuscripts under my belt and several publications, but needed to prove to myself that I could just write write write with volume, and shut out all the naggy little parts of my life that always interfere. I did it. The NaNo ms isn’t just dirty, it’s ugly, but I wrote through the thirty days, through rain and sleet and snow and several episodes of CSI. Now that I’ve proven that I can produce quantity as well as quality, NaNo is my reminder whenever I feel like I’ll never finish, the mountain is too high.

    I wish you the best, Lyn, in meeting all your writing challenges.

    Like

    • lynmidnight says:

      Thank you, Sherry! It sounds like you had a great experience with NaNo. It’s always been like that for me as well, except I tried for quality too. But we all know it’s hard on some days, so this year I’ll do my outlines and shoot for the stars!😀

      Like

  2. Jennie B says:

    You can do it!! I think all of us as writers get into slumps sometimes where it feels impossible to write, and we need the motivation of others that things like Nano provide. I’m not participating, but I am planning on being motivated by everyone else. If I can write 50K that month (which is my goal) then I will have finished my current WIP. We’ll see how that goes. In the meantime, you wouldn’t mind if I cheered you on a bit, would you?

    Like

    • lynmidnight says:

      Pfft, if you joined my cheering NaNo team, nothing’s gonna stop me from reaching my goals. You know you’re a great inspiration, Jen. I wish you’d join NaNo but I know how busy you are. So here’s to cheering and writing every day, and the rest will all fall into place. *hugs*

      Like

  3. Um…my NaNo piece from two years ago…NaNo in which I never finished despite LOVING the story. Last year’s NaNo is finished, has been through revisions once. But that break-neck manic pace isn’t something I can do without putting the rest of my life on hold. Hence the reason I’m doing ROW80 instead of NaNo this year.

    Good luck Lyn.

    Like

    • lynmidnight says:

      Sounds familiar. I always did put my life on hold for NaNo and by the looks of it, I’ll be doing it this year as well. I like that ROW80 helps with the time-management bit and I wish you good luck in reaching your goals!🙂 And thanks!

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  4. Girl, I have left so many pieces unfinished that I was beginning to feel like I deserved a Most don’t-finish-what-I-start Award. You are not alone!
    Good luck on this year’s NaNoWriMo.

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  5. catwoods says:

    I am a huge WriMo fan. I’ve only not succeeded once. And, like you, I”ve added the extra challenge. I refuse to spend so much time working on a manuscript that will get put in a drawer, thereby my NaNo goals have always been to finish the novel.

    The one year I didn’t write 50k, I still finished the manuscript (a middle grade novel). In that respect, I guess I succeeded, anyways.

    Good luck on getting your world together and reaching your goal!

    Like

    • lynmidnight says:

      Yay, Cat! I should add you to my NaNo list if I haven’t already. Thanks so much for sharing your experience! I’ve done just that: put my novels in drawers but no more! I’ll push myself this year. The more people know about it, the more ashamed I’d be if I failed, lol.

      Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I am in AWE of you ladies!

      Like

  6. Woohoo! Good luck on NaNo! I’m not quite ready to take it on yet. Still in the middle of my MIP and not ready to start anything new. I know what you mean about that little voice. It’s a sneaky little demon. But you’re gonna go all Buffy on its behind.😀

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  7. Marcia says:

    Kick that mean voice to the curb! I’m cheering you on to great things. You’re braver than me, when it comes to NaNo. I don’t think I’ll ever enter that challenge…ROW80’s more my speed. But I wish you luck and productivity.

    Like

  8. Amy Kennedy says:

    Well, you make me want to try nano again (3 times — closest was 36,000words) But I think I’ll stick with ROW80 like Raelyn. I see myself in your words — why don’t I do what I want? Why aren’t I setting asdide time to write?

    ROW80 helps — but I think I’ll have to check out Being Ericka and your blog!

    Like

    • lynmidnight says:

      Thanks Amy! And yes, definitely check out Being Erica. She has the life I want to have, and she time travels, lol. It’s Doctor Who for writers.😀

      Like

  9. Stacy Green says:

    Good luck to you! I’m not sure NaNoWriMo is for me, but it’s a great system for some people. I am at the beginning of a new book so it’s a good time, but still waffling. Good luck!

    Like

  10. hawleywood40 says:

    Yes – I have definitely been guilty of putting my passions on hold before. And insecurity played a part in that – I think subconsciously as long as I am not working towards my “dream goal,” I believe that when I do buckle down and do it, my wishes will come true. But if I buckle down and do it and I’m still not successful …well, then … eeek!! I am slowly working past that and making progress on my novel – not at the pace I want by a long shot but slowly and steadily. The LLC has been a major part of that. I still find that I often devote too much of my writing time to other projects and not enough to the novel, though, and I know that’s because failing at the other projects doesn’t scare me half as much.

    Like

    • lynmidnight says:

      OMG, Pam, YES! That’s exactly what I do. I love losing myself in projects because they are easy and don’t allow as much time for scarier things or so much space for failing. I think we’ve gotten to the bottom of it.🙂

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  11. I liked your post and love your down to earth writing style, V. It’s something I’m working on in my writing. Thank you also for sharing your personal struggle with creative writing. We all have our struggles and I would probably share mine if I didn’t think that no one would care to listen. Good luck with NaNo this year. I’ll be there sweating it out with you.

    Thank you for getting me to join LLC. I’m really happy I trolled your blog and read the post that got me to sign up.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Gary,

      I should probably warn you that there is NO WAY the enquiring minds here at More Cowbell are going to let you get away with a comment like that. Of course we’re interested!

      Start spillin’ the deets!!!!

      Like

      • Ok, you do have a point, Jenny. I know my LLC friends are interested in what I have to share. Actually, I was just trying to be funny. (rimshot drum roll) But I’m not going to get started here on my foibles. I need an entire blog post at the very least. Maybe next time I’ll write about he reason we, creative folk, agonize over our writing. I believe that, in part, it’s because we hold ourselves to high standards.

        Like

        • Jenny Hansen says:

          Ah, Gary…I’m just giving you a ration of it back. Plus, I wanted to see if we could get the full scoop here in the comments.🙂

          Like

        • lynmidnight says:

          I missed the entire conversation! Thanks, Gary, for your wonderful comment and I’m very happy you joined the LLC. Also, I agree with Jenny, we are interested, it comes with the territory! So get cracking on that blog post.😀

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  12. Jenny Hansen says:

    Lyn,

    I have a serious finishing problem and it was one of the reasons I hesitate to do NaNo each year. I always do it anyway, but I usually set a target goal that I can meet like 25K. I’ve yet to win the challenge, but I’ll keep trying because I love the energy of that place!

    Like

    • lynmidnight says:

      Keep trying Jenny! I can gather my troops and psych you up because it’s the most rewarding feeling when you win that badge, and hopefully, you know you’ve writter and completed a book that’s dear to you. And thanks for hosting me!

      Like

  13. Jess Witkins says:

    Ooh Lyn I’m excited for you. I’m planning on NaNoWriMo this next month too, and your post has kicked me into gear that I need to plan it. I started my own version of it last year, and I wrote a lot, but it was also a lot of crap, which is ok while you’re getting the story out, but it left me with lots of editing and eventually total rewrites. I’m hoping to get a chance to outline beforehand which I think will make me more successful. Either way, like you said, it’s time to dive in. So good, we can help each other cope next month! Yay!

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