Monday, November 28, 2011

Birth of a Novel: Week Four Update

It's week four of NaNo, and I am winning by the skin on my teeth. My current word count is 50,080 after I managed to squeeze some words out yesterday and Thursday. Normally I am much further along in my novel by now, but this year it's just the way things are.

I had a dental appointment and a visit with the OB (which I refer by "I have to go pee in a cup") earlier in the week, and then of course Thanksgiving. Saturday was my best friend's bridal shower, and we spend the day eating and shopping. So yeah. Busy week. This week will be equally busy since the wedding is this Saturday and I am the maid of honor (I know it's technically matron, since I am married, but matron? No. No thank you.).

I also entered my third trimester this past week! I know, milestones abound. 

In short, I am making progress on my novel but it's S-L-O-W. I am waffling between wanting to spend hours typing and feeling anxious to tackle my massive to do list. At least doing house work gives me time to think about the novel.

I'm not going to lie. It's been more of a struggle emotionally than anything else. I've been plagued by various fears and doubts. Feeling uninspired. Feeling like the book is never going to be as awesome on paper as it is in my head. I have my share of doubts while drafting, but for this novel in particular it's been pretty noticeable. I am sure it's a combination of being tired, stressed, and hormonal, but it's still weird for me to struggle this much emotionally. 

But you know, every single book I've written had it's own unique obstacles to overcome. The more The more I think about the writing "process" the more I realize that at least for me, there is no process. Very much like the Matrix where there is no spoon.

My process changes so much from book to book I can only make generalizations. Sometimes I plan to the hilt and other times I just start with nary an idea of where I am going. Certain things remain constant, but the rest is very flexible. It's like cooking spaghetti sauce. You're going to have a few very basic ingredients to start with, but what spices you use will vary greatly depending on your mood. Sometimes I make a garden vegetable sauce and use lots of veggies. Sometimes I do a thick meat sauce. Other times I want a sauce with enough garlic to kill a vampire by smell alone. 

And that's okay. I will talk more about perfect versions later on in the week, but for now just know that just because this book is coming out different than the last doesn't mean you're doing something wrong. 

I think most of the people in this blog chain still have a ways to go on their novels, so I plan on continuing to blog at least once a week about my progress. 

When I feel really depressed, like I can never finish this novel, I read Maureen Johnson's tumblr account. She answered one question a day during the month of November, and it's filled with good advice and hilarious pictures.

In parting this week, I give you this music video:

Now go check out the other ladies in the blog chain, and then write!


  1. Milestones! Woot! Congrats on the Nano win, and I'm glad you're going to stick with us on the chain a bit longer. ;)

    After reading about your spaghetti sauces I want to go roast a bulb or two of garlic. Yum!

  2. Hang in there Elizabeth. Every story and book will have its obstacles to overcome but you can do it. Pleasure to meet you!

  3. Chin up, cheerio, and all that jazz. Enjoy your last 1/3 of gestating, and who knows, maybe that is how much writing you have left in this story.

    No Nano here, nor regrets. :-)