30 Days 2 is starting to teach me things about myself as a writer.
Primarily… I’m starting to realize that I have an issue with expectation.
Well, expectation and gratification.
I’m finding it harder and harder to actually feel gratified when I do any writing. At least for this novel. And that inability to feel productive scales with me; if I don’t write, I feel bad for not writing. If I do write, I feel bad for not writing enough. If I write enough, I immediately wonder if it’s any good.
To a degree, I think I do this because of my experience with Memory. I loved writing that book. It was legitimately a blast.
But that was partially because I was still being a little headstrong with it. Some plot lines were stagnant when I was done. The intro was unwieldy. There was a lot that I had to fix about that novel, to the point where I was editing it without knowing if it was good at all anymore.
So, now, with H&T, everything is baby steps. Everything is metered and measured and extremely careful. Everything is second-guessed.
The result of all of this is, on a day like today, when I wrote 600+ words, I feel bad because I was aiming for a ton. I sit back and question everything I wrote. And I think, “Ugh… I have to be back at work tomorrow; I can’t just take another day and figure this out.”
And, really, that’s true for all writers. We all have to just go through the motions–work the day job–then come home and try our best to be productive with our passion.
The thing is, you have to do that and not go crazy doing it.
And not going crazy means not feeling like you lose every single day.
So… Hey, guys. I got 600+ words today, which is pretty good, considering I was at home with a ton of distractions. What I wrote was a little rough–a tense, first exchange between my protagonists–but I’m super familiar with turning a scene I don’t like into something amazing, so I know that I can do it.
That… is how a writer should think. That’s how I need to start thinking.
Because I think I’m starting to just get… scared of writing. I’m starting to make excuses for myself constantly. And maybe it’s because I got published; maybe now I’m just expecting myself to be able to make everything perfect right away. But that’s not the way writing works. That’s not the way anything works. I need to know that.
Because everything sucks in my life, but writing has always been the one thing that didn’t.
I need it to stay that way.
Words for the Day: 618
NaNoWriMo Total: 8,714
2 thoughts on “30 Days of NaNoWriMo 2 – Day 21: Expectation”
Hi Louis. I find myself gravitating towards your post updates amidst the plethora of emails I get every morning. What you’re writing here in your blog has value. So it’s safe to assume that your fiction has at least the same value if not more. You may like to check out the site of Steven J Dines who wasr recently published in ‘Black Static’ magazine. He seems to face similar challenges to yourself (as, I’m sure, many a writer does) and spends years developing even short stories. You are not alone.
Thanks, man. I’ll check him out. Because, really, just knowing that you aren’t alone is pretty important. That writing is difficult for everybody–maybe not in the same ways, but still difficult. Actually, on the day when I wrote this (and I forgot to put this in), I saw a tweet for a published, respected author in which he was celebrating writing about 200 words for the day. Everybody has their own standards for progress; everyone writes differently, but progress is still progress. And we all probably struggle with feeling like we’re not productive enough.