Halfway Through National Novel Writing Month

As of writing this, I have passed the halfway mark of National Novel Writing Month. I am about twenty-one hundred words ahead, a lead that was growing steadily until a recent spate of just-enough-to-hit-average days due to stress and the reason I’m back in the depths of my depression wave rather than still riding the peak. Still, I’m far enough ahead to take a day off if I want one and feeling pretty good about my overall progress.

I feel less good about the story, even though it’s barely a year old. The second draft will need a lot of work for consistency, pacing, and general smoothing since I didn’t really decide how it was all going to play out until very recently. I’m nearing the end, so I’ll probably need something else to work on to finish out the month, but I’ve got plenty of other story ideas to work on if this one ends. Short stories, too.

Maybe my next project will be the beginning stages of draft 2. Doing a full re-write after setting up a proper outline and putting all of the story elements in the right place seems like a good project. Maybe I’ll take some of the overtime money I’m making at work and go on a writer’s retreat. Get away for a bit and just spend some time in cozy isolation working on my book so I can return to my everyday life with a plan to get this thing finished. Get a proper Full Draft instead of this Rough Draft nonsense.

Or maybe I’ll revisit an old idea. I’ve got an old, beloved project that’s about 175,000 words long that is solid but definitely neads some work. I last worked on in it 2015, I think, and I’m a much better writer now. Then there’s always the Coldheart and Iron project I was posting piecemeal on this blog back in 2017 and 2018. There are another six or eight chapters of that to finish, based on my latest pacing/outline notes. I could probably wrap that up. Then there’s the project I worked on in 2016 and 2017, that I still like but needed to work on some stuff before I could do in a manner that feels satisfying but not condescending. Which is a weird thing to say about writing a book, but it’d make sense if you read it.

And then there’s the creative non-fiction thing I was writing about my last job and my parents that I rewrote twice and gave up on. Not because it wasn’t working, but because I lost my focus, my grandfather passed away, and then I didn’t write anything new until 2020 because I was just trying to relive the last creative thing I was working on before he passed away because that also fell apart around the time he passed away and I’d made some unhealthy connections between the two in my head. Also a long story. But therapy’s pretty good, you know? At least I’m aware of all of this.

Finally, there’s the rework of the story I wrote in high school. I started fresh in college, more cognizant of where the idea was coming from and much more capable at writing in general, and it was running smoothly except for the fact that it turned into a fantasy epic and I don’t have the time or patience to write a 500,000 word story I’ll edit down to one Massive Fantasy Tome. Maybe someday, since I love the world a bunch, but it won’t happen unless I start writing full time. There’s just too much to do.

Which is probably also true of the thing I stopped working on in 2015. A great, fun idea I’d love to do, but big fantasy epics take a lot of work, a lot of research, and a lot of time. You gotta live in that world while you work on it and things like paying bills and needing insurance kinda prevent me from pursuing it now. I’d love to live in that world, but it just might not be in the cards.

Maybe if I finally finish something, get it dressed up nice, and start shopping around for agents and publishers, then I can think about Massive Fantasy Tomes again. I’d like to stick to smaller books since MFTs can be difficult to get through for a lot of people (me included, since they typically have a lot of bloat and fluff that bogs them down), but I’d be open to doing a Fantasy Epic if I had a good editor who’d help me make sure it was a tight story with little cruft and fluff.

Anyway, this is probably too much to think about mid-way through NaNoWriMo2021, so I’m going to go work on that and keep my goals reasonable until the above become reasonable goals. Hope your month is going well, too!

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