Camp NaNoWriMo 2021: Week 12 (Bonus) – Memory, My Project for Camp NaNoWriMo 2021, Is Finally Complete

I . . . cannot even begin to express how I feel right now.

On one hand . . . so happy. Ffs, I finally finished it. Two full months late, but still, I finally finished Memory.

On the other hand . . . so tired.

Why? Because I’ve discovered that when I’m writing a finale, I do a thing where I get so into the writing that I don’t eat? And when I do, it’s seriously, like, bananas and bread? Sometimes with coffee? Seriously, today I woke up, wrote for four hours, got up, ate a grapefruit, had two slices of bread, and then sat back down to finish the epilogue with a cup of coffee I just realized is still right here, unfinished.

But it’s okay, because Memory is!

Final Stats:

Time to Complete: About three months.

Number of Words: 70,304

Number of Chapters: Prologue + 19 + Epilogue

Average Chapter Length: 20 pages.

Things I Learned:

  1. Always plot out fight scenes!
  2. When you’re writing your outline, never “leave it to future you” to decide how something happens. In fact, the more you plot out things, the better. Options for a Scene > A Defined Set of Events for a Scene >>>>>> “You make it up! Have fun!”
  3. The final draft will always be significantly different from the outline and that’s okay. As long as changes improve character arcs, wordbuilding, and all of the other good stuff, they are absolutely acceptable. In fact, being about to manage those changes, instead of strictly adhering to the outline or going totally AWOL with new ideas, is absolutely essential for my process (more on that in a future post).
  4. Additions, no matter how “free” they seem, will always require smoothing out. But if the addition is necessary, the smoothing out will be worth it.
  5. Rushing to complete a novel is bad. In an alternate reality, a variant of me wrapped up Memory two months ago and is probably now depressed because he realized he has to add an extra scene that’s going to require massive rewrites down the line. Seriously, I will never rush myself ever again.
  6. Although “rushing myself” means writing a novel in a month instead of a few months, so win-win.
  7. Likewise, the way I write my outlines, they basically are first drafts that I then nitpick to death when I write the actual first draft. The best way for me to think of my outlines is as actual “Alphas”–just the potential parts of a project, composed as a proof of concept to myself and a base to build off of–while the first draft would be a “Beta”–the functional but rough version of that project. Again, this is a good thing, because, as I’m just admitting to myself, I am a chronic “rewriter” (again, something I’ll talk about in a future post).
  8. It’s okay to take days off. In a perfect world, my process will always include full days off where I just do anything but think about my current WIP, and that’s not me being lazy–I get to have days off.
  9. I write dramatic scenes and dialogue to absolute silence or ambient sounds I find on YouTube. I write fight scenes to video game boss music that I am extremely picking about because I’m that much of a nerd.
  10. At the end of a writing project, I enter a weird state where I forget to eat. And when I do eat, I seriously eat whatever is the easiest possible thing for me to find and that’s it. Seriously, it has been days of either A) food ordered from outside, or, as I said earlier in the post, B) fruit. And, like, bread. Possibly a glass of milk. I keep thinking of it as “Blanka state,” because in Street Fighter Alpha 3, Blanka ate a lot of fruit for whatever reason, and, as previously stated, I’m a fucking nerd, so “Blanka state” is probably going to stick.

What Now?

I am taking exactly one week off.

To do whatever I want.

There won’t be a disruption in posting: after this, I’ll be posting next Sunday, the 3rd.

But between then and now? Probably Civ 6.

Definitely the rest of Star Wars: Visions.

Absolutely that bottle of wine I bought for this exact occasion.

Oh, and getting food. Seriously, I am so hungry right now that it’s insane.

~~~

Thank you for joining me on this long, perpetually bumpy road to finish this year’s work in progress. Of course, I have to edit Memory, and eventually put together a submission packet for it, but those are all a problem for Future Louis. Right now, I just want to say I appreciate everyone who’s been reading with me for the past three months, and I am excited to get back to weird content about my process. And hopefully, if my brain allows it, weird talk about stupid dreams I had.

My name is Louis Santiago, and if you want to join me and maybe hear about those stupid dreams, or want to keep track of what happens next with Memory, you can feel free to Follow me via the button on the left sidebar (on PC) or the top-right drop-down menu (on mobile).

Either way, take care, stay safe, and if you have sex in front of your parrots all the time, don’t fucking put them at your window. I mean, you would think that “don’t have sex in front of your parrots” would be common sense, or that–if it wasn’t–“don’t put them outside your window so they can mimic your sex noises to your entire goddamn neighborhood” would be a given. But apparently, my downstairs neighbors don’t get that, so, ya know, fyi.

Anyway, have a good weekend!

Camp NaNoWriMo 2021: Week 11 (Bonus) – I Am Right There

Seriously, Memory is in phase 1 of the final boss fight.

I am so goddamn close.

I probably only need a single extra day.

And that’s only because my week was pretty hellish.

Because I went to a specialist about my knee and discovered that although my knee will heal on it’s own, I really need to have a massive operation done to correct the bones in my right leg, which are so horribly crooked that I will not be able to walk in 15 years if I leave them as they are.

Just . . . Seriously, I have always had problems with my right leg; multiple surgeries over my lifetime have left it a total mess and I always knew that.

But I cannot express how completely and utterly I never wanted to have another massive procedure done to my leg. Seriously, there is no hell like having pins drilled into your leg and left there for months as you bones fuse back together. It is a nightmare.

But whatever. I don’t mean to complain about personal shit–I generally try to not do that on my site.

I’m just saying all of this to make it clear that I didn’t finish Memory today because I spent half of one day in a hospital, and the other half eating ice cream and tuning out the world.

My sleep schedule got messed up.

I reached out to a ton of friends for advice.

I stress drank some orange juice.

I’m a mess.

The Plus Side: I did just wrap up a meeting with my writing group that was abnormally positive for the novel. I left that meeting massively exciting to finish Memory. And I am generally excited for the idea that this procedure on my leg will correct other, existing health problems I have because of the way it is now.

So, overall, the future is bright. And that’s great.

I’m just . . . exhausted. Like, dark bags under the eyes, literally-nodding-off-while-writing-this-sentence tier exhausting. Seriously, holy shit–it just happened again. I keep leaning my head back and jumping awake minutes later.

So, okay. I apologize, but I’m just ending this post here. I will post again when I’ve finished Memory, and I do have plans for follow-up posts that I’m super excited about–I am ready to get extremely nerdy about my writing again with all of you.

But today, I am just going to go pass out in my bed.

Until next time, take care, stay safe, and Grimace is a taste bud. Goodnight!

Camp NaNoWriMo 2021: Week 8 (Bonus) – We’re in the Endgame Now

We . . .

. . . made it.

We . . . are out of act 2.

There was a moment when I realized that I need to change the monster from the Cave Scene, but I was immediately like, “No, I am not going back to change that chapter again this week!

“I just need this act to be done! I need this part of my life to be over!”

And . . . it is.

Surprisingly, the boss fight (the final fight scene I didn’t plot out) went amazingly well. I was able to work it out in one sitting despite thinking up massive curve balls to its setting and events. As with all things, I know I’ll have to heavily edit it when I get back to it, but that doesn’t matter.

What matters is that I’m past it. I have firmly planted a foot into the third act.

Despite losing a day because I went on WebMD to look up “dislocated kneecap,” because that’s what happened to me a few weeks ago. Naturally, I just found pure terror there, because if you didn’t know, that’s where pure terror lives–WebMD when you have absolutely anything wrong with you, including a dry cough. Anyway, I then absolutely destroyed my schedule to go to the doctors one day to confirm that my knee was healing alright. Of course, I need X-rays and to see a specialist, but the doctor did confirm that my kneecap is in the right place, so that’s something!

Overall, obviously, a good thing, but also, I was so weirdly exhausted that I lost an additional day not being able to sleep and just lying down and stressing out? I dunno. Dislocated kneecaps on a perennially messed up leg + zero sleep really fuck you up.

But whatever. I got through that, got through the fight scene, and I’m steadily approaching the end of the novel. I even managed to make minor adjustments along the way that are going to pare down the next chapters, which I’m really excited about.

The only challenge is going to be making adjustments to the ending itself, but I’m guessing I’ll only need a day or two to adjust the outline before I start writing it–famous last words, I know.

Still, overall, I’m ecstatic.

In fact, while writing the fight scene, listening to an extended version of the Waterblight Ganon Boss Theme, I remembered that A) what I was writing didn’t exist at all in the original version of Memory, B) it was the byproduct of pushing myself to do the openly transformative rewrite I could imagine, and C) I was finally writing it. All of that hit me with the music from Breath of the Wild, and it made me realize that I was writing something awesome.

Whether or not it’s awesome to anyone else isn’t the point; the point is, I planned a really intense, transformative rewrite of a novel with the intention of making it significantly better, and I was writing the perfect embodiment of that intention: a fight that didn’t exist with a character who died off-screen in the original version of the novel. I want to make it clear that I did not tear up, but I only clarify that because “I got emotional” feels like the most appropriate way to explain what happened to me. There was a moment while writing it when I realized, “Holy shit. I’m here! I’m in it! I get to write this!” and I had to breathe and calm down, because I didn’t want to lose track of the fight.

Which I guess is me saying goddamn–writing is a gift. My leg is fucked up and my life is garbage.

But at least I got to write this thing that, at the very least, was truly awesome for me.

~~~

That said, I’m calling it here. Sorry to write so late–this was just one of my vampire nights (days?).

If you’re new here, I post every Sunday night / Monday morning. I want to post more regularly on Sunday nights, but that, like everything, is a post-Memory goal.

If you want to find out how much longer it takes me to finish this WIP, feel free to give me a Follow via the button on the left sidebar (on PC) or top-right drop down menu (on mobile). If you liked this post, please consider giving it a Like because that’s how I evaluate what content to keep on this blog.

Until next time, stay safe, stay hydrated, and write because you want to. That’s really enough when it comes down to it.

Camp NaNoWriMo 2021: Week 7 (Bonus) – I Was So Close to the Endgame

Ugh. You guys, seriously, I am right there.

I was fully intending on being stubborn and writing all night, posting at 4am that, “We’re in the endgame now.”

But then I realized that what stands between me and that endgame . . . is the fight at the end of the second act. A fight which, mind you, I did not plot out.

And realizing that, I immediately switched gears to, “Oh. Right. There’s not a chance in hell I’m getting through that tonight.

However, I will get to the third act tomorrow. It’s not as perfectly timed, sure . . .

. . . but eh–this week was still awesome writing-wise.

Because it yielded some of the best changes I’ve ever made to any WIP.

And yielded some important lessons.

Lesson 1:
Additions Always Require Smoothing Out,
No Matter How Free They Seem

When I initially decided to add what I’m calling “the Cave Scene,” it wasn’t the first time I added a scene in the middle of a WIP. My first novel, Exiles, got slowly destroyed by those additions, and, conversely, the original version of Memory was greatly improved by a single addition to its second act. In both cases, however, the expansions were massive; the original version of Memory saw an entirely new area added–an area that is so iconic to the finished product that I can’t believe the very first draft of the story didn’t have it.

Anyway, the difference with my current WIP is that the Cave Scene was–and still is–a small addition; I didn’t invent a whole new area for the heroes to adventure through–I just expanded the events in an area they had already passed through.

For that reason, I thought the Cave Scene would be super free (“free” in this case being a gaming term for “so easy that it’s guaranteed”). I thought I’d add it and it would be no problem whatsoever.

This week, however, I realized that wasn’t the case.

Because although the addition was good, the tone it brought to the story really needed to be reinforced. In my notes, I wrote that the relationship the Cave Scene created needed “room to breathe.”

And I am . . . so grateful that I didn’t plow through to the end because giving it the room it needed (by editing everything after the cave scene) would have been so much worse if the entire novel was already finished.

As it was, I was able to edit the (effectively) three chapters after the Cave Scene to give my characters room in this week alone.

It required that I rebalance the emotions at the end of the second act . . .

. . . but I seriously cannot state enough how much better the end of act two is now. It is ridiculous how much better the story is now. I wish I could just spoil it, but I can’t, so just trust me: the end of the second act is so much more intense and meaningful that I get chills imagining the horrible alternate reality where I went with the version from last week.

Which sounds like an exaggeration, but it isn’t.

And on that note . . .

Lesson 2:
I Need to Take More Time with My Outlines

My process is going to need a little tweaking because, while I was laying out the changes that needed to be made this week, I realized . . .

I really should’ve figured this all out in the Outlining Phase of my process.

And the only reason I didn’t . . . is that I was hellbent on getting the outline finished in time for Camp NaNoWriMo.

This is maybe the umpteenth time I’ve realized I need to slow down my process, so I’m just going to respect it.

And admit that, yes, I need to slow down a bit with it.

In particular, I need to give myself another month or so after I finish writing an outline to evaluate it. My writing group helps a lot in this regard, but I need to instate a dedicated, chill Review Phase for myself, the goal of which really needs to be heavy, objective criticism.

I know I just said the Review Phase would be chill, but I guess that just means I’ll be sipping wine while I harshly judge my outlines?

Cause the harsh judging part needs to happen; I re-e-e-eally should’ve caught that the Cave Scene needed to be added before I wrote past it. I feel like I lucked into it (which I know is impostor syndrome bullshit because I spotted the need for the Cave Scene myself and literally took extra whole weeks to add it in a way that felt interesting and natural to the rest of the novel).

But I guess what I’m getting at here is that I really don’t want to be surprised by the need for this kind of addition ever again.

The Goal for Book 3 / 5: Make sure the outline is whole before I start writing. I know things will change in the final product, but I never want to add another Cave Scene.

With that said . . .

The Book 4 Lesson Tally So Far:

  1. It’s okay to take days off when you’re writing your novel. Speaking personally here, I am not a machine and my healthy pace naturally includes days off.
  2. Ffs, plot out your fight scenes.
  3. Giving yourself options for ways to complete scenes > stating the one way a scene can go >>>>> telling your future self to have fun deciding what a scene is like. That’s not my job, Past Louis! That’s your fuckin’ job, dude! Who writes, “Have fun making this up!” in an outline? Motherfucker, you make it up!
  4. There will inevitably be changes from the outline, no matter how methodically you plot it out.
  5. However, rushing an outline and accidentally leaving it incomplete is definitely not good. It creates a ton of work for you at best. In other words, it’s okay to chill, maybe actually celebrate finishing your outline, and return to it with as objective an eye as you possibly can.

To close out here, I’d like to add one final lesson. It’s small and I came to it by accident last night, after I finished writing at 2am.

To put it concisely, it’s okay to tell impostor syndrome to fuck off.

I’m not advocating for everyone to start talking to themselves, but last night, I saved my MS, closed it, and immediately thought, Oh man, I barely spent any time writing today though.

To which I said, aloud, “Dude . . . I just spent six hours writing. Six fucking hours. It wasn’t all day, sure, but my ass was in that chair for six hours. Fuck you.”

And I’m sharing this because, seriously, if there’s any concept it’s ever okay to curse out, it’s impostor syndrome when it tries to make you feel bad for only writing for six hours.

Seriously, give it a shot. Because no matter how little writing you did today, your ass was still in that chair, and if anyone or anything wants to downplay that achievement, you deserve to tell them to fuck off.

~~~

That said, I’ve decided I’m tuning out after this; no additional work on the MS–I’m just going to relax.

If you’re new here, I post every Sunday. However, I am a vampire who wakes up at 2pm and (sometimes) plays D&D for hours on Sundays, so posts may come out in the wee hours of Monday morning, like this one. And, yes, I played today and my warforged fighter got one-shot by a super powerful mage who crit with an ice spell; I don’t remember the exact numbers, but it was something like 37 damage after I succeeded at a Dex saving throw. Definitely one of those “Holy shit–am I about to skip death saving throws?” moments.

Anyway, if you enjoyed this post, please leave it a Like so I can decide if I should keep doing posts like this one or move on to other content.

And if you really want to find out how much further I get with my WIP by next Sunday, you can always give my blog a Follow via the button on the left sidebar (on PC) or the top right drop down menu (on mobile).

Either way, take care, stay hydrated, and remember that if you’re an aspiring writer, you’re seriously working a second job and you deserve all the respect in the world for that.

Camp NaNoWriMo 2021: Week 6 (Bonus) – We Are Not Yet in the Endgame

Yep, I was overconfident about how far I would get this week.

To give myself credit, I haven’t written yet today (although I started the day with my first D&D session in over a month, so I feel totally justified). My point is, technically, I will be further along by 2AM.

However, full disclosure–staying honest–I just finished adding the new chapter yesterday.

In part because, as per usual, a bit of writing that I thought would be easy turned out to be a struggle.

Specifically, the chapter I added was full of what I’m calling “micro-events” that needed to be smoothed out. This may sound weird, but the flow of dialogue and character actions is something I obsess over, so there were plenty of times this week where I sat back in my writing chair with a sigh, rubbing my eyes as I tried to decide things like, “Should Memory mention that she saw this plant before Kole sees them?”

“Does Kole realize what this structure is before Memory tells him?”

“Wouldn’t Memory stop Kole from firing his gun in this fight scene because they’re still trying to lie low?” And then, with a huge sigh as I remembered that Kole used his gun for the entire fight scene in the outline, I grumbled, “Yes, she would.”

Tiny logic problems that absolutely dictated how natural scenes felt.

They dominated this week’s sessions because I’m so hell bent on making sure my story beats feel organic (particularly important for a mid-novel addition, in my eyes).

Still, I’m not bummed; I did finish the addition, and I do like it.

I just decided that I’d post now instead of 4AM because today’s session probably isn’t going to add words; if anything, I’m going to lose words as I neurotically comb over the addition to make sure it works. In particular, there’s one line of dialogue that I have to adjust because it creates a moment of one-sided tension between the protagonists when they’re supposed to be getting along. If nothing else, I imagine tonight is going to be me editing through the addition and the chapters that follow while carrying that one line of dialogue in the back of my head, trying to find a place to put it (because it’s a juicy moment of conflict that adds to their arcs so well that I can’t just drop it).

That said, I’m keeping this one short today.

I will go out on a limb and say there’s no chance in hell I won’t be in the endgame by next Sunday.

Absolutely impossible.

No way.

Not happening.

Definitely not going to regret posting any of this.

Nope.

Really tempting fate here.

But seriously, I’m creating a public, social deadline for myself here. Because I re-e-e-e-eally need this novel to be over and the one way to make sure I stay focused is to give myself a genuinely over-the-top, public deadline.

So yeah, are you kidding? Pssh! No way I’m not getting to the endgame by Sunday! Please! Easy! Poppycock!

. . .

I’m gonna go write! Bye!

Camp NaNoWriMo 2021: Week 5 (Bonus) – Yep–I’m Basically Adding a New Chapter

Hey, everybody.

I am fresh off of a meeting with my writing group and feeling wildly optimistic about Memory.

Because it turns out I didn’t waste my week outlining an additional chapter for the novel!

Well, I say an additional chapter, but really I’m just extending an existing chapter and adding a fight scene to smooth out its pacing.

To back up and explain here, I nearly got to the end of the second act of the novel a week ago; I was all set up to do the last fight scene that I didn’t plot out (still looming over my head), thus closing out that leg of the novel and entering the endgame.

But . . . I realized there was an important moment missing from the novel. Something pivotal to a character’s arc, essential to them making an important decision later on (in the scene directly after the point where I stopped a week ago). And I knew that I couldn’t just weave that moment into existing scenes and wash my hands of it.

So I decided it’s super-in-depth, probably-more-work-than-it-needs-to-be-and-thus-totally-on-brand-for-me editing time, baby!

Basically, I’m doing an extensive reorganization of an existing chapter, which sounds daunting.

But, thankfully, it isn’t.

I’ve already spent the past week outlining the reworked chapter, taking a bit of extra time with it because I wanted to run the idea past my writing group to make sure I wasn’t being overly critical. Thankfully (?), they agreed that it sounded like a good idea and the concept I had for the fantasy monster the protagonists will encounter in that chapter got some ooh’s and ah’s. That means I’m all set to write the chapter itself (which will thankfully include copying-and-pasting specific dialogue from the original chapter because it still needs to be in the new version).

All of that should only take about two days. Especially because I outlined the new fight scene in advance.

“Ha ha! I learn!” Louis screamed, loud enough for his neighbors to hear through the wall. “I le-e-e-earn!”

All things considered, I should be past the second act and into the endgame by this time next week.

Wish me luck, everybody. Fingers crossed that nothing explodes.

~~~

Thanks for stopping by. If you want to find out if I actually make it to the third act of my novel by Sunday or if I’m out-of-my-mind-overconfident again, you can always give this blog a Follow. If you liked this post, please consider leaving a Like because it’s the only way I can gauge what posts all of you enjoy.

That said, take care, stay hydrated, and grapefruits are delicious. Bye!

Shifting Posts Back to Sunday

Hello.

I’m writing this to explain that, hey, I’m moving posts back to Sunday now that NaNoWriMo is over.

And, yes, I realized yesterday that A) I did not mention that shift in my last post and B) I should mention it on here, via a quick post like this one.

But then I got distracted with life stuff and forgot.

My bad.

But also, yes, I am going back to posting on Sunday.

Specifically Sunday night this time because the update to the Memory draft that I want to post requires waiting until after my weekly writing group meeting with my friends.

Because, essentially, there is a sizable addition I believe I have to make to Memory–a new chapter I have to add–but I’m waiting to talk to my friends about it first.

And by “waiting” I mean “plotting out the entire chapter in advance,” because I need to be able to roll right into writing it and finally finishing the second act or I’ll lose my mind.

Will this week have been a total waste of my time??? You can find out on Sunday!

Until then, stay safe, stay hydrated, and check your cane tips.

Seriously, if someone you love uses a cane, get them some extra cane tips–unless they already have extras. If they don’t, they should, because those things always wear down, and if they don’t have them, they won’t be able to walk–trust me, a cane that slips all over the place is a dangerous goddamn nightmare.

Anyway, see you Sunday!

Camp NaNoWriMo 2021: Week 4 – Omfg, Plot Your Fight Scenes

Hi. Oh man, it’s me, your favorite chronic late-poster.

I’m keeping it pre-e-e-etty short this week.

Because I am . . .

. . . exhausted.

If you don’t know, I have a bad leg that’s been acting up for the past few days. That coupled with a much needed reset to the diet I’m on (now totally cutting sugar) has me absolutely wiped out.

And so does Memory.

I’m still writing it, of course, and my protagonists are on the cusp of entering the third act / endgame.

But man, some of the sessions this week were like pulling teeth.

In particular, there was one encounter Memory and Kole had with a bad guy. An encounter I thought would be a breeze to discovery write.

And I. Was. So wrong.

Full Disclosure: I spent at least three days on that one encounter.

Which wound up being about five pages long?

It was terrible. One of those instances where I wrote the encounter one way, then realized it wasn’t working, wrote it again, realized there was a whole other angle I could take it in and finally settled into an “okay for now” version that I know is gonna get heavy edits.

Just the worst.

I don’t know why I thought this wouldn’t be a problem for me, but the real tragedy here is that this encounter was the second out of three encounters I didn’t outline! The next one is the very end of the second act, which I’m going to get to by the weekend.

In my defense, I was convinced Future Louis would love writing these fight scenes. Unfortunately, it turned out Past Louis was an idiot.

On the plus side, another huge lesson learned: it’s not just okay to detail fight scenes in my outline, it’s kind of essential.

Setting descriptions? I can handle ’em on the MS.

Dialogue? I can discovery write it all day.

Fight scenes? No.

I am not the cartoon-loving cherub I once was, who collected video game boss music and wrote twenty-page-long fight scenes. That just isn’t me anymore (except for the collecting-boss-fight-music part) and I’m grateful.

But I also have to remember going forward that fights need to be plotted out every single time or I just get lost in the possibilities.

That said, please, wish me all of the luck for this weekend.

Because that last fight scene I didn’t outline has a pretty extreme power imbalance between characters, so I just know it’s going to be an absolute nightmare to write.

Godspeed, Future Louis!

~~~

That’s all for this week. If you want to find out how incredibly hung up I get on that last fight scene–or if you want to find out how long it takes me to finish this NaNoWriMo novel, Memory–you could always give my blog a Follow. And if you liked this post, I’d appreciate it if you gave me a Like because it’s the only means I have to gauge the content people like to read on here.

Until next time, take care, stay safe, and you should think about what you’re gonna Mandela Effect. I know it’s a long shot, but if you ever get godlike powers, you gotta Mandela Effect something. For me, it’s “bunana.” If I get god powers, the first thing I’m going to do is make it so half of the world thinks it was always spelled “bunana” while the other half remembers “banana” . . . So, long story short, don’t give me god powers. Things would get real annoying real fast.

Bye! Have a good weekend!

Camp NaNoWriMo 2021: Week 3 – A Time to Chill

Fun fact: I did not remember that A Time to Kill was a movie until I wrote the title for this post.

Was not a pun, is not a pun: I have just come to terms with the fact . . . that I really need to relax.

Week 3 was fine. In fact, Week 3 was wildly productive–I have been averaging 2000-3000 words a day for the past few days, and my protagonists are halfway through the second act of their adventure.

However . . . I have come to some super important realizations in the past few days.

Thing the First: I Am Not Going to Win
Camp NaNoWriMo 2021

I know that sounds terrible, but I am in no way saying that I’m giving up on Memory.

Seriously, I’m going to finish the novel–in part because my process works so well for me that I now find it harder not to write for the day? It’s a weird feeling, but I just naturally think of how I’ll start the next scene and then–with the same energy I used to have when opening Twitter–I just pop open my MS like, “Man, I wonder what Memory and Kole are up to?”

That said . . . I am definitely not reaching 50,000 words by the end of the month.

It’s absolutely because of those days off I took earlier in the month. Lesson learned: if I didn’t take days off and just stuck to the 1,666 daily word goal, I definitely could’ve hit 50,000. But, I did take those days off on the first two weeks, and the result was a quota that kept getting steeper and steeper.

Until today, the first day where I needed to write at least 3000 words. Which would be followed by six additional days, in a row, where I also needed to write 3000.

And, full disclosure: I tried to hit that 3000. That’s why I’m posting so late.

But I ultimately realized . . .

Thing the Second: I Don’t . . .
. . . Need to Win NaNoWriMo?

I’m laughing as I write this because, when I wrote the first version of Memory, this same thing happened.

I took days off, fell behind, “lost” NaNoWriMo 2014, and then finished the book anyway a week later.

But here we are, seven years later, and it’s going to happen again.

The important part being: yeah, just like last time, you bet your ass I’m finishing Memory regardless.

It’s just going to take an extra week or so.

And.

That’s.

Fine.

If it’s happened twice now that I just needed days off and taking them didn’t stop me from finishing a WIP, then I guess the occasional day off is just part of my process now. The same way belting out a novel in (roughly) a month after outlining it for (roughly) a year is my process, so are the days when I wake up, look at the ceiling, and just say, “No.”

I don’t know why it took me so long to accept this. I guess I got caught up in the gaminess of National Novel Writing Month. But I just don’t need to satisfy the win condition of Camp NaNoWriMo 2021. Especially because I knew from the start that Memory was going to run longer than 50,000, as I said in Week 1 post. I guess I just wanted to be able to say that I won?

But I think being able to say, “I tried to win NaNoWriMo twice with the same story and I failed both times the same exact way,” is significantly funnier and more on brand for me. It’s a story and I like those.

And also, I like being able to breathe. This whole air-in-out thing is oddly comforting.

~~~

That said, yes, I’m going to keep these posts running until I finish Memory, because I’m staying honest about it.

If you’d like to find out if it’ll take me one or two extra weeks to finish this WIP, you can give me a Follow via the button on the left sidebar on PC or the upper right drop down menu on mobile. Likes are also always appreciated as a way to gauge what posts you guys enjoy and what content I should focus on.

Until next time, stay safe, stay hydrated, and if you’re struggling to do something in a way you think it needs to be done, accept that maybe it’s okay to do it the way you want to.

Camp NaNoWriMo 2021: Week 2 – Oh Yeah, I Jinxed It

I’m still writing.

That’s the important thing.

But . . . man did I take a few hits this week.

Hit #1 – Saturday

I smacked right into another logistics question about a location. Basically, once again, I didn’t thoroughly plot out the floor plan for one setting. Not because I didn’t realize I should, but because Past Louis thought that Present Louis would have fun designing that setting in prose.

. . . Nope.

Dear Past Me,

Never again with that shit, please.

Seriously, any logistical worldbuilding I have to do while writing the novel absolutely destroys my flow.

I got back on track by Sunday, but spending Saturday fumbling with set design sapped an entire day’s worth of Write Energy.

Lesson learned.

Hit #2 – Tuesday

I have to set this up by admitting that, on Monday, I made the total, honest mistake of just taking a day off. That was my bad; I had a rule in week one that I’d save days off for when something really, really wasn’t working, not for leisure.

But I was exhausted from Saturday and Sunday’s bullshit, so I took Monday off.

And then Tuesday hit amazingly hard.

Not writer’s block, but pure, genuine depression stemming from my personal life.

And, of course, I am aware that personal drama can significantly influence my writing–in fact, my entire writing career is about five years behind because of how often depression dominates my time. I have experience with it–I’m almost used to it–but something that had been building all weekend hit extremely hard on Tuesday and I spent . . . about 98% of the day in bed, staring at the ceiling. If you’ve dealt with genuine depression, you know what I mean.

Here’s the good thing though: I still wrote on Tuesday. 1000 words, belted out in the remaining 2% of the day. Which is as good a test as any for my process; if I wrote on Tuesday, I can write on pretty much any day.

And that’s going to be my approach going forward: I’m upping my daily quota to 2,000 words (because I can get to 2,000 pretty easily and 1,666 isn’t going to cut it with the way I’ve wound up writing this draft) and I’m writing every day unless I am genuinely unable.

I have a lot of catching up to do, but even if I finish 50,000 words by July 31st, the stone cold truth is Memory won’t be done by the end of Camp NaNoWriMo regardless. At 18,323 words, I only just got to Chapter 6 out of 21.

That means–with some quick, terrible math–that from here, there’s roughly 50,000 left to go.

I’m going to do my best to keep at it, and hope that nothing terrible happens in the next few weeks.

And I’m also going to end this post here.

If you want to follow my progress, feel free to give this blog a Follow.

But either way, take care, and stay hydrated, especially if you’re drinking tonight–like I am.