I am on Day 12 of Nanawrimo, and I am more than halfway done with the 50K goal set for November 30th. That seems pretty incredible to me. It took me about three years to write my first version of my book and that was about 63K. Last year I worked the entire year polishing that copy and turned it into an 85K book, that I was meh with. After I got my critique back from the Rising Star contest I knew I had to change my book.
I had to scrap what I had written in order to find my authentic voice.
For three months I struggled. I tried about five different ways to take what I had and turn it into a book that would keep people reading. What I heard from the judges is my writing was strong, but my plot was weak, and I could see what they meant. My characters didn’t change over the course of the book. It was a lot like my first attempt at writing when I was a kid. This happened, then this happened, then this happened.
November rolled around and I decided to sign up for Nanowrimo. I didn’t think it would help me break out of my block, but sitting at my desk day after day in a vortex of shame didn’t help either. So I signed up, took the elements of my story and how I could make it different, and ran with it.
And now I am 12days in and I have written over 30,000 words.
It isn’t particularly great writing. There are plot holes I could fly a blimp through. Character names aren’t consistent and there is a lot of dialog floating around in space with nothing to anchor it. But the bones are there. I can see the arc and how my character is changing. It is my story, the story I started writing three years ago, but with a twist that makes it all my own and different I hope, from all those other women’s fiction books out there.
There are no new stories out there. The first storytellers around the fire, they had new stories. But thousands of years later, all of them have been written. The only thing that makes my story new, is my voice.
And my voice finally came through and now I have a story that is uniquely me.
At the end of November I will have a book. A very bad book, but it is a book. Revision is where a story becomes great. After several years of writing this one story I understand the hardest part is getting the words on the page.
And now they are there and growing.
Every day I sit down and wonder if I can put down the 1660 word goal each day. And every day I surpass it. I haven’t plotted out the story, I haven’t outlined the arc. I write and lot the story goes where the characters say it needs to.
I don’t worry about what the writing blogs say about writing.
I don’t worry about whether I am writing high literature.
I don’t worry if my story is cheesy.
I don’t worry if I am writing a book that agents want.
I am writing what comes out of my head and heart and it is working.
Sometimes I think we all get caught up in being original and new. In life, writing, work, parenting, etc. That isn’t really the point, is it. Our voices are what make us unique, different from the person next to us. We may see the same things, but we will tell it different ways. There may not be any new stories to tell, but how we tell it, that is all our own.
How will you tell your story? Whether it is writing, in business, art, or parenting; we all have a voice, a perspective that is unique and all our own.
Now go out and share it.