*reposting from a couple of days ago because the post appears to be corrupted*

So I did NaNoWriMo last year and I won, which was personally illuminating in many ways. And the novel itself was fairly mediocre to downright bad. Pretty quickly after I finished my 50,000 words I started to work on a different story. One that came out of nowhere (though it was inspired by a real moment in my life). And then I dropped it for ages.

Oh, you know: It was the holidays. I started a new job in February. It was suddenly summer and I wanted to go for long walks instead of sitting at my computer. Excuses piled up. But a few weeks ago I decided that I’d follow the advice I’d been avoiding for years: Write every day. Too vague! So I opted to write 1,000 words per day. And I have done so pretty faithfully for a few weeks. I’ve also deleted whole chapters and subplots and changed my mind and re-worked and so far I have 33,000 words that I can’t be sure will stay or go but I add to them every day (even if I cut them later).

Making writing a habit is working for me in ways I never expected. I have given myself other permissions that are also working for me, including: Writing scenes as they come to me regardless of the order they might appear in the novel. Writing scenes when I have no idea where they will end up going or even if they don’t move the overall plot forward. Writing in notes to be filled in later like “discuss her hatred of waitressing” or “add a second public humiliation”. It seems I’m always up for a second public humiliation.

But what it comes down is that I’m writing regularly. And it’s very often the highlight of my day. I don’t feel pressured to finish anything or to write to an audience. This is entirely for me and it’s the first time I’ve experienced real joy while writing (aside from the joy I used to feel when I saw my name in print in the trade magazines I’ve written for).

The process is different from the style of writing I’ve done in the past. Writing for trade publications is like digging in and solving a small puzzle. It’s a fun process but not as creative as I have craved for most of my career. I love this little story I’m writing, and I’ve fallen in love with these characters as they’ve slowly revealed themselves to me. I look forward to finding out what they’ll do next.

 

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