NaNoWriMo Day 10 – First Draft Fears

Yesterday, I rewrote Chapter Three. It took me way longer than I’d anticipated (mostly because I got sucked into a black hole of ‘research’), so I’m not going to touch Chapters One and Two for the moment, and just continue on with the rest of the novel. But, I’m really glad I got a better grasp on Chapter Three, because it’s when my main characters first meet, and it kind of sets the stage for the rest of the book. I honestly didn’t end up changing very much, but I’m much happier with it now.

My current word count is 19,691. Which is pretty awesome, seeing as I haven’t started writing yet today, and I’m supposed to have 20,000 words by the end of Thursday. I think I’m going to try and get to at least 25,000 by the end of Thursday, because I have a lot to do this weekend, and I want to have a nice cushion in case I’m not able to write for a day or two. So, sometime in the next couple of days, I will – hopefully – be hitting the halfway(-ish) point in my novel!

Today, we got a NaNo pep talk from Stephanie Perkins (author of Anna and the French Kiss). In it, she writes,

Before NaNoWriMo, I’d never finished a draft of a novel. I’d worked for seven years on an idea, and I only had seventy pages to show for it. My fear was growing. I was beginning to believe that I didn’t have the discipline necessary to become an author, and it was devastating.

I read this, and sat there thinking, “this is me!” This morning (coincidentally, before I read Stephanie’s pep talk), I went through my old ‘writing’ folder on my computer. The longest document in there isn’t even 5,000 words long. I had over 5,000 words my second day of NaNoWriMo. For the first time, I’m not writing with the fear that my work isn’t good. Because it’s never going to be great, at least not in the first (or fourth) draft. I’m writing with the goal of just getting a certain number of words, and ignoring the awkward sentences and grammatical errors. It isn’t written in stone, and it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time.

NaNoWriMo has forced me to ignore my first draft fears, and just get the damn thing written. It’s not easy, but I’m doing it. And, while I definitely won’t have a finished novel at the end of November, I will have a first draft. Which is more than I had last month.

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