Back in November, I participated in NaNoWriMo, a one month long writing challenge in which we were all trying to write 50,000 words. Besides reaching that goal, and having 50,000 more words towards my novel, I came away with something that has changed my writing: Discipline.
I'm not talking about discipline in the sense of forcing myself to sit down and write each day. I'm talking about having the discipline to push forward--to keep writing--and to leave what I've already written alone. My biggest problem before the contest was that i kept going back to what I had already written, deciding it was crap and starting over. I've been writing the same book for about two years now and have started over four times.
Now, its a different story. I'm approaching the end of my first draft, which amazes me. I have maybe six more chapters or so to write. Granted, the draft is a terrible mess. I have a point of view change about a third of the way into the story, I have characters who change personalities half way through, sub-plots that were either suddenly abandoned or started without set up. And of course there is the overal suckiness of my descriptions and sentences. But all of that is stuff I can fix and polish. I'm one of those freaks who actually enjoys the revision process (which is probably why I kept getting into trouble before) so I am really looking forward to finishing this draft. I've been averaging a chapter every couple of days so I'm hoping to have my first draft done before summer.
I know this is basic to a lot of you guys, but to me it has been a break through!
I'm also learning to let go of my rigid outline form of writing. I used to write out every scene--who would be there, what would happen, what I wanted to accomplish--before I even started going into the scene. Now I am just sitting down at the computer and going forward with the characters, thinking: how would they react to what just happened? And when they intereact with other characters, I try to imagine on the spot what would happen from both sides of the characters. Its really given me a new source of freedom and inspiration.
So that is what I ahve to report lately. Hope you guys are doing great!!