Beating the Post-Grad Burnout (AKA I Wrote a Novel!) (FTN)

I guess I’m just giving you guys some emotional videos lately. This is about the end of my four-year belief that I couldn’t write for fun anymore, and my awkward words of encouragement for anyone else who might be feeling this way!

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Thesis Thursdays: How I Unintentionally Won NaNoWriMo

Thesis Thursdays is a weekly(ish) feature where I rant, love and talk about young adult books I’m reading because I’m conning my college into thinking this is all for academia! Find out more here!

For my last Thesis Thusday post (which was in October, hahahahaha), I titled it “Why I Signed Up for NaNoWriMo Even Though I Intend to Lose.” Then, just after midnight, in the first minutes of November 29th, I achieved this:

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I DID IT I DID IT I DID IT HOLY MOLY HOT TAMALE I DID IT.

(For those of you who are confused, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, the challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November.)

So how, might you ask, did this happen? Last you knew, I’d run out of plot and had no idea what I was doing. Allow me to tell you the secret:

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Solid representation of me.

I wrote.

Seriously. You hear people say all the time that you should write every day. This sounds absurd. I know it usually does to me. I’m a finicky writer, and when left to my own devices I either write nothing or thousands of words in a day. There is no in between.

 

To illustrate my next point, allow me to share my words a day graph with you:

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I think you can tell when I was in school, trying my hardest to keep up. When my Thanksgiving break started, I was only halfway there. I knew I either had to make the commitment to writing like crazy every day of vacation or let the effort die. As you can see from the last ten days of the graph, I chose writing every day.

This was the moment when I hit my groove. During school, when I had not tumblr_liok9sobya1qdce8vo1_250let myself write every day, this project had been a slog. It felt jerky and unnatural. Once I started writing every day, however, I had so many eureka moments. My plot moved together better, and–most importantly–I discovered just what my conclusion is.

I don’t know where my novel would be right now if I hadn’t committed myself to NaNoWriMo. Even though I went into it expecting very little, I was able to find the kind of rhythm that I needed to get my novel into the green zone, where I know where I’m going. The conclusion is in sight.

I’m not saying that you have to write like it’s NaNoWriMo every day. I’m not saying that you’re a loser if you didn’t win. I am saying, however, that the spirit of NaNoWriMo is something that I’d forgotten, and something that I want to keep with me into December, until the book is done. Writing every day–even just a little–sometimes is just what you need to do, even if you don’t know what to write. Writing through that confusion can lead you to the best thing that you never expected.

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Thesis Thursdays: Why I Signed Up for NaNoWriMo Even Though I Plan to Lose

Thesis Thursdays is a weekly(ish) feature where I rant, love and talk about young adult books I’m reading because I’m conning my college into thinking this is all for academia! Find out more here!

I know what you’re thinking: why is this a Thesis Thursday post? Well, if you click that link above and re-read that again, you might remember that I’m writing TWO thesis: one is an academic paper and one is a novel.

Er. Well. “Novel.”

Basically, I need a minimum of 50 pages. Technically, once I hit 50, I can stop. But–and this is going to sound so conceited but hang in here with me–50 pages is peanuts to me. This is because I write with a bunch of short paragraphs and a bunch of snappy dialogue in my first drafts. That, plus double spacing, means that I am ALREADY under ten pages away from the 50 page minimum but I just topped over 11,000 words.

So, if I’m that close, why NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), you ask?

I could tell you that it’s because I’m committed to this book idea (I am) and that I savor the challenge (I do). I could tell you that it’s because I miss NaNo (I do) and I want to be a part of that again, even if I’m not really competing (I do). But there is one very distinct reason, above all others, pushing me to compete:

I’m out of plot.

You might have been thinking, “Ew, why would you take a already started novel into NaNo you cheater!” or just “CHEATER CHEATER PUMPKIN EATER!” That’s fine. But, trust me, it’s not like that. I just wrote my eighth chapter last night, which exhausted all of the planned plot that I had for this idea. (It was a very spur of the moment idea.) So I am going into NaNo with a set of characters I love, a few things that have happened and NO IDEA WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT.

That’s what’s beautiful about NaNoWriMo. It doesn’t allow you to say, “Well, I’m stuck, better put this down.” You have to soldier through and make things up on the fly–no second guessing.

That’s what I need right now. I’m so committed to this idea that I have, but I’m so confused by it. I don’t know where to go. Even if I can’t make 50,000 words (which I probably can’t), I need the drive that NaNoWriMo will give me. I mean, I once won NaNo in eight days. I get COMPETITIVE, even if it’s just with myself. (That was the year I wanted to beat my record of eleven days.) I need that to keep going.

If you’re on the NaNoWriMo journey yourself, feel free to friend me–adkwriter15 is the handle. If you are on the fence about it, DO IT. Join me in enjoying the journey but not intending to finish the race. Who knows what’ll happen?

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