(scroll down to skip straight to the Weekly Workout )
I came to the realization last Friday that I’m not going to be finishing my NaNo this year. Of course, a tiny piece of me keeps saying, “You can do it! Wake up at 3 am! Power through!” but that’s just because I’m stubborn like that. I really hate to lose, especially when it’s just to myself.
My hope had hung in there for a while, because last year I managed to pump out 30,000 words in one week… but I was on a porch swing in Hawaii at the time. Right now I’m working full-time on a movie, house-hunting for an upcoming move, and involved in a major protest on Burnaby Mountain.
So, life has been a bit cray-cray (wait, are women over 40 even allowed to use that term?). And in the cray-crayness of it all, I’ve done my best to take care of myself. To not exist on 5 hours of sleep per night. To watch what I eat and find some quiet mind each day.
Truthfully, my heart just hasn’t been on my NaNo, but up on the mountain with the other protectors. My blog posts suffered, because that was all I could think about in my spare time, and I have purposely steered away from posting political issues on this blog. Not that I don’t want you to know my politics (TRUST me, I will happily tell you), but because I want to feed other parts of myself and express other parts of myself. I could never be 100% political activist 24/7. I think I’d burn out and/or get cynical after a while (or both). I need to step away from all that once in a while in order to take care of myself.
Part of taking care of myself was supposed to be feeding the writerly side of myself, but that got pushed to the way-side, so here I am with four days left of NaNo month and 39,000 words left to go. (on the positive side, that’s 11,000 more words than I had Oct 31!)
The NaNo is not happening, I keep telling myself. I need to be okay with that.
Have you ever had that sinking feeling that something you really wanted to accomplish just wasn’t going to happen? You weren’t going to finish that marathon? Complete that degree? Climb that mountain?
Did you ever kick yourself later and say, “If I had only pushed harder…” I don’t think it’s really healthy for us to stay in that place of “I should have done better.” Sometimes we just aren’t up to it for whatever mental, emotional, physical, or environmental reason. But perhaps remembering what it’s like in that precarious space of “I can do this” and “I can’t do this” you can have sympathy for your characters and an idea of how to bring them to the breaking point and push them over the edge.
* * * *
In your current story, where is the place when your character is so exhausted she doesn’t know if she can continue or seriously questions whether she will be successful at reaching her goal? HOW do you give her that last push to get her through SPLAT and to the other side where redemption lies? How are you pushing her to the edge, and have you really pushed her far enough?
write without stopping, crossing out, rereading, or editing.
1) SET YOUR TIMER for 5-7 minutes.
Start with this line: In this scene, my character wants nothing more than to…
See where this takes you.
2) SET YOUR TIMER for 7-10 minutes.
Start with the line: In this scene, my character is up against…
Again… Write without stopping, crossing out, rereading, or editing.
3) SET YOUR TIMER for 10-12 minutes.
Start with the line: In this scene, my character is pushed to her limits when…
Write without stopping, crossing out, rereading, or editing
4) SET YOUR TIMER for 12-15 minutes.
Start with the line: In this scene, my character breaks the bonds of what’s holding her back by…
Write without stopping, crossing out, rereading, or editing.
Now, go write the scene in which your character is up against this obstacle, is pushed to the limit, and makes it out to the other side. And have a great rest of your week!
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