Monday, November 30, 2009

Hushing the monster


Whew! Made it!


Not so long ago (only a matter of weeks ago, as a matter of fact), I started doubting my creative abilities.

The only manuscript I'd ever completed was Long Road. As I thought about the time, effort and emotional investment that went into writing my first manuscript, I began doubting whether or not I could do it again.

Start all over. New characters. New scenes. New plot.
I'm in awe of writers who can write book after book and make each character just as (or more) fascinating than the one before. Truth be told, I never pictured myself as the type of person who could do that.

I mean, it's one thing to dream up a plot, but to take an idea, put it down on paper and breathe life into the characters is something completely different.

I chose to participate in NaNoWriMo this year to challenge that self-doubt. Boy did I surprise myself when Penny's narrative passed the 50,000-word mark on Saturday night.

As I wrapped up her part of the story, I began weighing the pros and cons of participating in NaNo.

These are some of the things I came up with:

Cons

1. My daughters and husband have developed a nervous tick whenever I mention frozen pizza.

2. After pushing my internal editor aside to meet the deadline, I think she might assume she's on a permanent vacation.

Pros

1. Although it's the worst writing in the history of mankind, the foundation for a strong story with interesting characters has been established.

2. I've learned that emotional attachments to new characters do not form immediately, but they do happen quickly when you open yourself up to the idea.

3. I've learned than an 1,800-word-per-day goal isn't as daunting after you're 9,000 words into the story.

4. I've learned to let go of the perfectionist inside me that said my words had to be flawless when they hit the page.

5. Discipline isn't as scary as I once thought.

6. While the self-doubt still creeps in, it's not as powerful as it once was.

7. I now have something else over which to obsess while I send out queries for Long Road.

What about you? Was it scary for you to move on from your first manuscript? Did you do NaNo this year? Did you complete the goal? What did you learn?

7 comments:

ElanaJ said...

Congrats, Kat!

I've always been scared that I won't have enough to show someone that hey! I can write! So I've never had a problem moving on to another novel. They're my security blanket, you could say.

Great job!

Crimey said...

Kat, I just mentioned something similiar in my blog post today. As I work on my second novel, I am going through moments in which I am frustrated with how long it takes me to pull together a sentence, paragraph, or chapter. My internal editor is on all the time, and although I like the results of what's getting on the page, I can be a bit impatient with myself.

Wendy Sparrow said...

Congratulations! That's awesome. Tell your internal editor that the holiday is over. :)

Cole Gibsen said...

Awesome post! It's scary how much you and I are alike in our thinking. The only way I was able to overcome my own perfectionism was with Write or Die. There's no way I would have finished my own nano without the constant fear that my words were going to be erased.

Iapetus999 said...

Yay!
Check out my blog if you want to see my nauseatingly long self-analysis about my NaNo.

One thing that I can add here related to your point #2. You'd think that books are written from beginning to end, but really, once I wrote the end, I realized I have to rewrite it back to the beginning, because now I know who my characters really are. And why I should care about them. :)

lynnrush said...

Yeah!!!! Congrats. I posted my winner badge on my blog the other day. What a fun experience.

It wasn't my second novel, but I can relate to how you feel about starting the next novel with different characters. My first three novels were about Light of Truth (Shelby and Gabe). . . so it was my 4th novel that brought me into new characters, etc.

Boy, was that weird. I felt sad. I missed Shelby and Gabe so much. But it gets easier and easier.

Congrats, Kat. I'm happy you finished.

Rosslyn Elliott said...

I am SO HAPPY to hear that you have made it over the second novel hump! I was similarly intimidated when I started my second. The third gets easier, because you know you can do it, even though the beginning is still annoying. :-)

GO KAT!!!!!