Monday, December 01, 2014

Published 8:51 AM by with 3 comments

Welcome December, Goodbye NaNoWriMo

November, you gave me a run for my money! The main things I was worried about were preparing for December's musical events and doing NaNoWriMo. So far, I'm mostly on top of all the music stuff, just a little behind. I'm still keeping it at a level where I'm enjoying being a music teacher and a performing musician, thankfully. 

My goal for NaNoWriMo 2014 was to finish my first draft of the story of last year, "The Naming of Fio Re", by invoking the Zukotuo clause, as I wrote before. In the end, I wrote approximately 78,000 words total, which is only about half of what NaNo usually calls for. (The word counter for the NaNo website and my OpenOffice document do not agree with how many words I actually wrote, which is a bit frustrating.) But it was actually WAY harder this year! I couldn't figure out how to wrap my story up, which has always been a huge problem and the major reason I've NEVER finished a novel before. And I almost didn't finish it this year because:

~ I got really sick. I still managed to pull off most of my duties in life, but my writing suffered a lot. There were even days (it might have been about a week and a half) where I didn't write at all because I was so exhausted from coughing and just wanted to sleep when I had free time at night.

~ I seriously couldn't figure out what was going to happen in my story. It paralyzed me that I would sit at my computer and have no clue what to type next.

~ I had all kinds of doubt like "I'm a sucky writer", "this is a sucky plot", "these characters are sucky", etc. 

In the end, I just forced myself to sit down and WRITE, like I kept telling myself I'd need to do at the beginning of the month. My page for NaNoWriMo '14 here is sadly bare for the most part because I was so focused on simply getting healthy and plugging away at my novel that I didn't want to spare time for other writing if possible. 

And finally... it's done. I wrote "THE END" on page 123 last night at 11:50, ten minutes before the deadline. Technically I could have "won" before then, but since my goal was to finish the actual storyline of my novel I wouldn't allow myself to call it an accomplishment until the FREAKING STORY WAS DONE. Now it is : D

*throws confetti*

I'm surprised at the way it turned out. The story, I mean. You'd think that being the author I could predict what was going to happen, but I couldn't. Writing and simply letting the story take me where it wanted was like riding a roller coaster. Yeah, there are some plot bunnies that almost ran away with me, a few loose ends in the storyline that seem unresolved, but in general the story came to a close with  my protagonist in a place I was happy to see her. 

Now, as my friend Brenna (fellow NaNo winner, woohoo!) says, I just have to get over the habit of pressing "control, S" every few words that I write. The urge to frenetically save my work constantly is strong, even when I'm writing emails or blog posts! Ha ha.

Last year I was positive that I was going to edit, revise, and send out my novel to friends to beta read right away. When I didn't even finish my novel (even though I got to 50,000 words), I thought that I would just finish it in January and then begin the process of editing. NOPE. Didn't happen. I was too burned out with November's push for words and December's holiday busyness. So I'm not going to make any huge goals for this novel in 2015, except to say that I would certainly LIKE to get a second draft of "The Naming of Fio Re" completed so I can ask some friends' opinions of it and figure out what needs to be changed. 

What's my ultimate goal for my novel? I have no idea. I'm simply proud of the fact that for once in my life I proved to myself that I can finish a story. I am a more confident writer after this month's efforts. As Julia Cameron posted today on Facebook, "don't confuse the end result with the process". Who knows if my novel is even any good or not. Who cares! I WROTE A NOVEL!

Although, I'd love to discover that it was actually a decent novel ; ) We'll see!


On to December!

I'm not sure how much I'll be writing here because December is seriously the busiest time of the year for musicians, on top of just being busy with family and friends for the holiday season. I'm going to try to not let the busy-ness overtake the joyfulness. And I want to make time for reflection and quiet both physically and spiritually as we enter Advent, contemplating the true meaning of Christmas. 

One of the things that I loved about November was taking a picture every day of something that made me smile, with Laura and many other people on Instagram under the tag #thedailybon. It made me slow down and notice the little blessings of life. I was able to focus on moments of gratitude even as I dealt with the problems that inevitably threaten to poison our lives with anxiety, anger, or grumbling. 

With that in mind, I'm excited to sign up (for free!) to take a picture a day with Susannah Conway for December. The prompts are wonderful. I look forward to wrapping up 2014 with the community of #DecemberReflections as we reflect on what we love, what made us grow, and what we look forward to in 2015. Do join us if you're on Instagram, because I enjoy seeing what everyone posts there : )  I'm LyssaGirlLovesLife!

Also, I am VERY excited to start on Susannah Conway's "Unravelling the Year Ahead" workbook that she has always offered on her website! I've done it for two years in a row and it has been super helpful as I process the year past and plan for the year to come. The workbook is set to be available for download this week!

Advent started yesterday, but since we were driving back from Thanksgiving vacation with family across the states we didn't do anything to celebrate. We plan to get our tree and decorate this week, start our advent calendar, and plan Christmas presents. December announced its entrance with a layer of ice and beautiful snow in my city. Hopefully I'll be able to post here occasionally and share some of what's going on!



SuperLux said...

Congrats on the novel! Happy December! May you have another epic month.

Abigail ~ said...

oooh, so you did that november writing month thing. i'd love to try that sometime but i'm too much of a wimp. also, november was REALLY busy for me this year. yeah. writing a novel is just HARD. writing in general just is. if it helps any, i sometimes have no idea where my stories are going either. but i'm glad to hear that you're feeling better and you did get a lot of writing done. also, this post is convicting because it's the first week of december and i really need to get working on the Christmas music. yep, it's gonna be busy!
best wishes for the december month!

Lyssa said...

Thank you, SuperLux! I hope you have a great December as well!

Abigail, I would love to read stories that you've written! You should definitely give NaNoWriMo a try. I don't know if I'll have the guts to do it again in 2015, but it's a blast and a great way to bust out a ton of writing : ) How about that Christmas music... best wishes for you too as you prepare for performances!