It is that time of the month, where I feel safe to reveal some of my insecurities for the world to see. It is Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day!
My main concern for the month is that my first novel-writing experience has ruined me for the rest of my writing career.
In June, I finished a month-long writing challenge called JuNoWriMo. With a goal of 50,000 words, I was able to write over 75,000 words. I did what the challenge asked me to do; Just Write. I really enjoyed writing this way. It was my first novel. But, it was a novel I had been thinking about for over 2 years. I knew exactly how it was supposed to start and end. I knew the main character inside and out. I knew the setting backward and forward. I knew the lesson my MC was supposed to learn by the end and she got there after going through several conflicts. The issues in the beginning came to complete and sometimes funny conclusions at the end. Dare I say it, the process was easy.
Don’t get me wrong, I woke up early to write. I stayed up late to write. I didn’t go out much and a couple of days I didn’t bath (Am I sharing too much?). But, in the grand scheme of things, I felt that the month went very smoothly.
I created a daily journal about my writing experience and there were only a couple of days that I would classify as me having a “moment”. Other than that, it was so much fun.
My concern is what if the next time it is not so easy. No way it could be. I have another story idea, which I just thought about this month. It is with two MC, but besides the broad story, I know nothing about them. It is in familiar settings, but it will still take some research. And, I have an idea of where it should start, but no idea of where it will end.
I am concerned that the process isn’t going to be so easy and will I be up for it. I have given myself a month to outline and plan and then jumping right back into the writing fray with Camp Nanowrimo in August.
I would love it if my first experience was my writing process, but, I don’t think that is realistic.
Did my first novel-writing experience ruin me for life?
39 thoughts on “Am I Ruined for Life?”
No… Not even! I did NaNoWrimo last November and it was a wonderful experience! I am so glad I did! After NaNoWriMo I wrote a novelette in January and published it 20 days later and then I wrote a novel that I didn’t have a clue as to what was going to happen. I am now in my final edits of my NaNo that I wrote and I feel good about my writing, In fact I have learned so much since NaNo. Don’t doubt you creative abilities, just get in there and write!
Hey Karen. I am so relieved to hear that. I could write this way, right? Well, I will certainly put my process to the test because I am going to do the same thing for Camp Nanowrimo and see what happens. Thanks for the encouragement. You awesome.
Don’t worry. While there’s lots to be said for having it all figured out in advance, part of the fun of being a writer is trying it without the safety net of a plan, and realizing that you can do it. Your characters will do things you never expected and it will be awesome. I promise*
*If I’m wrong, let’s say it’s an awesome learning experience, ok?
Thanks Morgan. I had a couple of moments last month where my MC did something I didn’t plan and I did like that. If got all giddy like I had discovered something new. As long as I keep having those type of moments I am not too concerned. But, I am a to do list, goal creator, planning kind of person. It is annoying at times. I am excited to see what happens in the next two months.
Nope, you’re not ruined! As long as you do what you did this time, it doesn’t have to be difficult. I’ve won NaNoWriMo three times in a row, and the only reason I flunked last year is because I was still learning how to juggle between my full-time job and my writing schedule.
Also… the first novel I finished during NaNo, I started out with nothing more than one character and a very, very vague idea, but it gradually developed into a full novel and I’m now one happy indie author. =]
Hi Zen. Thanks for the encouragement. I would like to take it as just being well prepared. I understand about juggling full time job and writing schedule. Imagine what we could create if we didn’t have the full time job to deal with, but bills have to be paid.
Congrats on your first novel and I really like your site. ‘Back up, Back up’ post is my worst nightmare realized.
no two novel-writing experiences have been the same for me, but then, i’ve written only 3 so far. i have heard that the first novel is a gift, and the second is where you learn to write. it’s probably better that you start the next one before learning too much more about writing. for my first one, i knew very little. i just wrote it with abandon. with this 3rd one, i’ve had too many writing rules banging around in my head.
Hi Michelle. Thanks. I agree with you. My head is already swimming with too much information. There was something simplistic about just writing what was in my head and no worries about all the rules. I will enjoy that as long as I can.
I’m amazed you wrote an entire novel in a month! If nothing else, I think that should build your confidence going into your second one. You are incredible! And you already have an idea forming in your mind for your second? That’s equally impressive! I look forward to following your progress on your next MS!
Thanks Kimberly. I do think I am thinking way too much about this. I should just write. Stick with what I know. I will keep you updated.
Naw, you haven’t ruined yourself. As long as you enjoy writing, even the sucky times won’t be so bad. I worked on my first novel, a fantasy, for five years. Once that was off to the editor, I wrote my next novel in two months. You just never know how it’s going to go. Savor every moment and every step, that’s my motto.
Hi Tameri. I have to also remember that writing the first draft is an accomplishment, but there is a long way to go for the final goal which is to publish it. I am having so much fun, though. Your right, I need to enjoy every moment.
Congrats on finishing your first novel! I don’t think it has ruined you. You’ve proven that you can finish a novel. Even if your second one takes a little longer, you’ll know you can do it.
Thanks for stopping by my blog. 🙂
Thanks Cherie. Yeah, I am going to remember that high I got from finishing the first one when it gets tough or takes longer for the next. I have done it before, I can do it again. I hope.
I found out about campnanowrimo.org in the middle of June and really wished could have joined you on the journey. I have no discipline when I comes to writing so I see it as the best way exercise my writing.
Don’t be put off by your own confidence. It sounds encouraging for novice writers like me. Good luck! cheers
Hey Clayton. There is a camp nanowrimo in August as well. Join me. I will hopefully be putting these insecurities to bed by the end of the month with another finished 1st draft.
I will embrace my confidence . . . if you think it’s ok. HAHA.
I have already joined for August! It will be a busy month for me but I need something like nanowrimo in August to push me. And yes, embrace it!Cheers
Wow! Well done you!!!!! You must be so proud of yourself 🙂
Be careful though hon, or you could find yourself suffering from burn out 😦 I did Nano in 2010 and 2011 and I needed a good month to get over it lol. Not sure I could have gone again 2 months later lol. But, if you really do think it’s something that’s going to work for you I wish you all the luck in the world 🙂
Yeah. I have thought about that. I think what I enjoyed the most about junowrimo is the specific word count goal and the ‘we are in this together’ community feel. That was the most fun because writing can be a very lonely pursuit. If I get that again in August, then, maybe it won’t matter as much how many words I get on the page. I think. We will see. BTW, thanks for the follow. That is so sweet of you.
Just be careful honey, and good luck 🙂
You are welcome 🙂 I tend to follow good blogs you know 😉
It sounds like you found a process that works for you right away. That’s awesome! It didn’t work for me when I tried it last Novemeber.
Hi Tonja. We will see in August if it is a process or beginners luck. You trying again in August of this November?
Hey, congrats! No matter how you do it, if the result is a finished work….you’ve done it right 🙂
Thanks Mark. You are 100% right.
Congratulations are definitely in order; to write any book in any amount of time is a bigger accomplishment than ordinary, non-writer people ever have in their lives. My personal record is a 50k book in two weeks. Did it change my life? In some ways, it did. Even if I take longer than that with subsequent books in the same series, at least I know what’s possible now. As do you. Again, congratulations.
Thanks K.W. I am going to hold on to that thought. It is amazing what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it. Pulse, I picked August to give it another try because the second half I will have a lot of time on my hands. I can do it. 50K in two weeks. That’s crazy cool.
Nah. I doubt it. If you’re really a writer, you will keep writing, even when it’s not as easy.
(and the fact you skipped a bath in order to write… LOL 😛 You’re definitely a writer.)
Thanks Melissa. Yeah, sometimes personal hygiene takes a back seat when you are in the middle of a great scene. HAHA.
You ask a question I’ve never thought about. I did NaNoWriMo 2011. 52K words for my first “novel”. It’s a draft, no doubt about it. A framework. And will take me a while to clean up, and finish/polish. But, I learned something while going through NaNoWriMo. I CAN do this. I can write. I followed NaNoWriMo up with JuNoWriMo. And JuNoWriMo nearly beat me. I had days I wanted to just give up. It was tough. It was hard. I had big chunks of the story that I didn’t know. I had to ad-lib a lot. But I wound up with a second story. And some details that will require me to tweak the first story. And in JuNoWriMo, I learned that sometimes it’s easy to write. And other times it’s hard. And that’s how it’s supposed to be. Like everything else we do. Sometimes, it’s a good day. And sometimes, it’s a bad day.
What’s important is to keep trying. And to accept that bad days come and go, knowing that life always changes.
You’re not ruined for life. You’re just starting out. And the journey, speaking from my own experience, is absolutely terrifying at times, but so worth the effort.
Thanks Mark. I am up for the challenge and understand that writing is like life. Ups and downs. Just enjoy the ups and minimize the downs. And, I can’t wait to get to the ‘terrifying’ part. Thanks. haha.
Great IWSG post and the comments are so helpful for me. I’m doing my first NaNoWriMo at the August camp. I am doing my first mystery and while I have some characters and the setting, I know who died, I have no idea whodunit. Going to be interesting to see how the story takes me away.
Very different process from my current romance WIP that I outlined over 10 years ago and just dug up. LOL!
Hi Donna. I will be doing Camp NaNoWriMo as well. Look forward to writing with you. Maybe the correct writing process for both of us is somewhere between 30 days and 10 years. Haha.
Wow 75k??? Amazing accomplishment. :)) No, it didn’t ruin you. Push those thoughts away. Far.
I often sigh when I think about my first unpublished YA novel. The feeling of dread would wash over me, thinking it was such crap. And, even though it is! I am using the experience of writing it as, well, experience! At least it was good for something.
Thanks you. I am pretty amazed myself. Just hold on to the fact that I finished it which is an accomplishment in itself.
I’m impressed! I only managed 45,000 for June’s BuNo.
Just find that passion for your next project and I’m sure you’ll do it again.
Hey Alex. That is what it’s all about. Finding the passion in all my projects. I like that. And, I feel much better. Thanks.
I’m stunned you wrote that much so quickly. Congrats! I think every writing experience is different, like the stories and characters in the novels. It’s really wonderful that you have a new idea already. Go for it! 🙂
Thanks so much. It was a successful experiment. But, I decided not be so hard on myself if it doesn’t happy the same way next time. Just enjoy the process, what ever it is, right?