It’s not even officially the middle of the month, but today I crossed the halfway mark on my 2018 NaNoWriMo novel: To Err. Considering how much I struggled with writing in general these last few years, managing to finish little more than short fiction projects with some dedication and prodding, I am incredibly proud of myself for committing to this project this month and seeing it through to the halfway point.
There are days I’m not sure the words I’m writing even mean anything, much less make sense despite being strung together in a structure mildly resembling sentences that conjoin to make paragraphs, but I’ve been working incredibly hard not to judge my first draft. This is my word vomit, me excitedly spewing forth the story I want to tell, for me and me alone. There will probably be way too much detail in some places, not nearly enough detail in others, but that’s something I can worry about much later. After I barf up the story in its entirety, then set it aside for a while without thinking about it.
My approach on writing this is so much different than the approach I took when writing previous novels. I’d always been a pantser, meaning I didn’t do much in the way of plotting before I started writing, but sort of just let the story tell itself as I went along. While that method is certainly fun, and super creative because chaos, the older I get, the harder it is for me to hold onto the thread of my story and keep going unless I have a solid plan to guide me and keep me on track.
I sat down several times throughout the month of October and plotted out my chapters, my characters and their motivations, the races and planets and ships, the current state of the galaxy I am writing in. It hasn’t always been easy, and I certainly haven’t clung steadfast to the outline, but for the most part, I am following the thread so much more easily than I was able to in the past.
Right now, the only thing that matters to me is seeing this novel to the end of its first incarnation. After that… well, I’ll figure that out in a few months. For the time being, I’m just happy to be writing with regularity and conviction again.