At the beginning of the month, I set out to write a novel in 30 days. Sadly, I could not complete the Camp NaNoWriMo 50,000-word challenge. I reached the halfway point and simply couldn’t continue. It’s said writing is a marathon, not a sprint, but every day felt like running on a road of broken glass: agonizing and seemingly never-ending.
The final chapter
At the beginning of the month, I set out to write a novel in 30 days. Sadly, I could not complete the Camp NaNoWriMo 50,000-word challenge. I reached the halfway point and simply couldn’t continue. It’s said writing is a marathon, not a sprint, but every day felt like running on a road of broken glass: agonizing and seemingly never-ending. I may not have completed the novel, but I don’t regret trying. I learned so much about myself and writing through the process. And if anyone wants to attempt the upcoming NaNoWriMo challenge in November, I have a few pieces of advice.
First, write whatever you want, no matter what it is. Variety is great, and experimentation is the lifeblood of creative writing. It’s always good to step outside your comfort zone and try something new. The majority of your experiments will probably fail, but out of that failure you never know what you might find.
There is some truth to the old adage, “Write what you know.” I personally have never been a violin player or had mother issues like the main character in my story. Then again, I’ve never been to space or transformed into a were-animal of any kind, and fantasy and soft sci-fi are the realms in which I feel the most comfortable and at home. I think I strayed a little too far into literary fiction to keep my interest. Writing became a chore, not a joy. I started to dread opening the Word document and getting to work every day. Exploration is important, but staying true to what you know could help you stay interested in your story.
I also recommend finding a support system. If you have roommates, like I do, tell them that at a specific time you are going to write and that you are not to be disturbed. Mine were incredibly helpful (and sometimes forceful) in insisting I keep up with my writing. The support allowed me to really rack up my word count. I’m one of those writers who gets easily distracted by everything; music, TV, the Internet, other people, food. Having outside support can make all the difference when you feel like doing anything but writing.
Writing should be a joy, something you look forward to doing. Not every day will be, of course. Some days words are not going to want to come. Some days you will really have to mine for those words. Some days you are going to have to work for them. Writing is a relentless journey that isn’t always easy. But you should feel some sense of accomplishment once you’ve put the work in. You should find a way to feel proud of the end product and revel in whatever it ends up being. It’s yours, after all—you made it. Why not enjoy it?
I wish I could reveal the big secret to writing; the one big thing that will revolutionize the creative writing process for everyone. But there are no universal rules for writers. Everyone’s brain works differently, and everyone tells stories in their own unique way. There are thousands of different rules and bits of advice for writing, but, in the end, you have to create them for yourself. You have to find a way to write that makes sense to you. What matters is putting the pen to the paper and pouring out words.