So yeah. As you might imagine, I was mildly concerned after this discovery. Nano is in just three days, after all. And ... I don't even have a plotline??
So not ready.
But, even though I made this startling discovery just yesterday, and when I started to grind out a plotline and realized there was a bunch of stuff I still didn't know, I still feel peace with the rapid approach of November 1.
You know why?
I will never be completely ready.
There are so many aspects to a story, because a story reflects life. Just think about your life for a second. There are hundreds of things, thousands of things, that have happened to you to shape you into the person you are today. There are tons of things that you believe, hundreds of people that you know, bunches of things that you've done and seen. It would take years to figure out every little thing that has happened to your character, and the world around them.
You could spend so long on trying to figure out everything, that you never end up writing the book. If all you ever do is plan it, and think about writing it, and ponder what will happen and what happened before to lead up to the now ... then you'll be old and gray before you're ready.
Nano is about taking a leap. It's about jumping into the ultimate abyss of writer doom and trusting the wings you have written to carry you up and out of that pit. It's about stepping out of our comfort zones. We might not feel prepared. But will we ever?
Last year for nano, I wrote the first draft of The Thief's Conspiracy. Since draft 2 of that project is giving me such grief, I think that's why I found myself struggling at the beginning of this month, when I started planning The Dream Walkers.
I was planning to make it perfect.
"Duh," you might say. "That's what planning is for. We all want to be perfect."
But it doesn't work like that. First drafts are supposed to be bad. THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE BAD. Yet here I am, going into this thinking, "I can't mess this up. There's no way I'm going to spend seven months on editing the second draft of a book again."
I was failing at trying to write a plotline because I couldn't fit it in the three act structure. The middle was all hectic and I didn't know what to do. I was terrified of messing up again and having to edit it for months. This idea has so much potential. How can I risk ruining it?
And that's where I need to stop. If you're thinking this, just stop.
You cannot ruin your story.
You hear me?
You cannot. ruin. your. story.
It doesn't work like that. You can write a really horrible, wretched, messy first draft which you end up saving exactly 0.00298% of, but you can't ruin it. Heck - you can write five drafts, all of which you end up scrapping.
But still. You cannot ruin your book. You cannot fail. You can do badly. But you can always take that bad, and try again. You can work with it. You can make it better. You can't write a book so badly that there is no hope for it.
You learn the most when you fail, after all.
So ... nervous about nano? Why should you be? You can't fail. If you don't meet the 50k, you didn't fail. As long as you do your best and write what you can, you have not failed.
You're not supposed to get it perfect on the first try. Especially not when you're writing half the book in a month. Quality does not happen that quickly. Nano is about quantity, not quality. So, just for this month ... let quality flutter out the window.
Cut yourself some slack. Go make a list of what you love about this story, before you're in the heat of nano-craze and are despairing. Remember why you love this, your story, your writing. Why you love this thing we do.
Go forth, fellow writers. Be courageous!
Are you ready for nano? What do you have left to plan, or are you all set?
Quick note: if you're on Facebook, you should totally join in on Abi's 5k1day event! I am co-hosting it with her on November first, and we're planning to do one at the midpoint of the month and one on the last day. Please come and join us! (You don't have to write 5k - you can write 3k, or 1k, or 10k. Whatever fits your pace the best!)