Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group for November

It's the first Wednesday of the month which means it's time for another awesome installment of the Insecure Writer's Support GroupAlex's awesome co-hosts this month are  CD Coffelt, Tina Downey, Isis Rushdan, and Michelle Wallace.  Make sure you stop by to thank all of them for hosting!

Well, it’s November.  So of course all of my insecurities are focused on NaNoWriMo.  Let me know if these thoughts are familiar to you all:

“Oh No!  Two hours and I’ve only written 724 words?!?  What is going on?”

“How the heck am I supposed to get to “The End” when I’m agonizing over every word?”

“10,627 words?!?  How on earth did (insert writing buddy’s name here) get so far ahead of me?  I’ll never have that big of a lead!”

“This is horrible!  Wasn’t the whole point of doing this whole thing to have fun, anyway?  What was I thinking?”

Have any of you felt this way?  I most certainly have.  In fact, this has been my thought process for the first few days of the challenge.

And I was wondering why, at first.  Because I’ve done this before- four years in a row, actually.  I’ve miraculously managed to cross 50k and beyond in every NaNo novel I’ve attempted.  (I haven’t reached “The End” very often, but I’ve crossed the 50k line.) 

And I remember those miracle days- the ones where your thoughts are so desperate to get out of your head that your fingers can scarcely move fast enough and you end up pounding out several thousand words within a relatively short period of time.  I’ve had those- I know what they felt like. 

So how, I wondered, did I end up here in this purgatory where I’m second-guessing and judging and seriously thinking of scrapping the whole damned thing on a daily basis?

And then I flipped back through the pages of my writing journal and found some entries I had written at the beginning of NaNo 2010.  And guess what?  It was exactly the same.  The same thoughts, the same insecurities, the same fears, the same frustrations- it was exactly the same process.  Agonizing, falling behind, getting stuck for thousands of words in pointless scenes and interactions that fail to move the plot forward- all of it.  I’ve done it all before.

And yet, every single time, I managed to hit word count before the end of the month.  I’ve managed to have those magic moments where everything just flowed and my fingers barely kept up with the words pouring out.  I’ve managed to win NaNoWriMo.

So maybe this isn’t a crisis.  Maybe I’m doing what I do every year.  Agonizing, fighting through, finding the flow, losing it again, keeping on with the sheer stubborn will to finish and reaching 50k.  Maybe this is just my pattern.

They say that hindsight is 20/20, but that’s not always the case.  I think my memories of past NaNos are more like highlight reels- the victories, the little triumphs, the magic.  And while that makes it somewhat problematic when I have hard days, it also gives me the confidence to keep moving forward- assured that I will have everything I’ve had in the past, including the win.

So if you’re like me, have faith.  There’s way more than 50,000 words in you, you just have to keep writing to give them a way out.  And if you’re not like me and your time for struggle comes later in the month, I offer you the same advice: just keep writing.  You’ll get there if you just tell your brain to shut up and write.

Be sure to visit the other bloggers on the list to spread the love and help beat those insecurities down!


  1. I've never participated in NaNoWriMo because I've always been too busy with a project to begin a new one, but I would like to give it a try some year to experience the craziness of it.

    I really liked this line: "There’s way more than 50,000 words in you, you just have to keep writing to give them a way out." That is true for any writer whether they are participating in NaNo, trying to write their first book, or their twentieth.

    Good luck!!! :)

  2. Whatever your pattern, you write magnificently and you're obviously doing something right if you've hit 50,000 every time. I'm not doing NaNo, and I'm grateful for that now as I've just fallen ill. I feel yucky and my writing is suffering because of it. Hopefully I'll be able to get back on track soon.

    Best of luck!

  3. I'm like this every time I do NaNo - I really look forward to it right up until the first day, and then I start writing, and it goes well for a while, until I start wondering why I decided to do this challenge in the first place! It's going quite well so far for me, but I'm sure my insecure moment will come!

  4. That's how I am during my writing process. I have good days, then I have the yucky days where worry and doubt try to take over. We can't have one without the other so it's a blessing in disguise, imo.
    You'll do great! :)

  5. Oh, yes, I've had those, I think it was just this past Monday.

    I'm learning that each day is different during NaNo - Monday was a struggle, but Tuesday went well. I have no idea what today will bring...but I'm looking forward to finding out. :)

  6. I think I'm finally past the - I'm not where everyone else is. I'm actually enjoying the journey this year. Finish or not - I'm writing! Yeah!

  7. Great post/pep talk Bev :)! These are the exact thoughts that I've been struggling with myself over the last few days (in fact, I'm trying to wean myself off going onto the NaNoWriMo website because I end up obsessively checking everyone else's word that weird? Actually, don't answer that ;)...). Hope your NaNoWriMo is going well :)!

  8. Sounds like all that agonizing is how you get through it every year.
    The first year I participated, a writing buddy hit 50,000 by day five. Talk about discouraging!

  9. Alot of writers are commenting on this challenge today, so your not alone. I am interested, but feel perhaps next year? Best wishes for much success and I know you will do it, because you have before! Sandy of sandysanderellasmusings.blogspot

  10. I had to laugh at your thought about how did so-and-so get so far ahead of me? LOL I was totally guilty of that last year.
    Here's to moving forward and continuing on - how exciting to think you will have a great story put together when you make it to the end of the month!

  11. Yep, keep writing and then writing some more and you will reach the 50,000 words.

  12. "You just have to keep writing them out." This is so true NaNo or not! Wonderful post and very insightful.

  13. Yeah, I don't know why we tend to forget lessons we already learned. Like right now I am into NaNo and it seems every day I finish writing and think ok, out of 2,000 words, I maybe able to use 400. I said the same thing last year at this point, too. We have selective memories. It helps for me to remember what NaNo is supposed to be about. Get the words on the page.

  14. Really great insights in this post. And a big plug for journaling! I do find comfort in going back and seeing where I was and how I got myself out of it, etc., and not always about writing either ;-)
    I've done three 50K challenges. One NaNo and two BuNoWriMo's (February) and never even once crossed the finish line. I've come to realize it's just not my style to write that way, not does it fit with my family life (mad inventor always busy busy doing projects Engineer husband and two teen sons). I admire those who can do it, and I'm a great cheerleader! Best of luck, and great job realizing your own pattern. May it lead to more magic days :-)
    Tina @ Life is Good, co-hosting IWSG for November

  15. Wow, your post really resonated with me. This is my first year doing NaNo and I am really nervous about it. I did the Camp earlier in the year and fell short on my word count. It wasn't enough to keep me from trying to get 50k words in 30 days though. :) This is similar to what my IWSG post was about. Buddy me on the site if you can. I still don't know how to do it. My user id is lilicasplace. Thanks! Lily

  16. Definitely thoughts I have a lot. Things are going well now, but last year, I got behind early and I was all a mess. Just keep writing. ^_^ The words every writer needs inked on their forearm.

  17. Nano is a motivational exercise--get the words flowing, the pressure is on, your accountable to your goal--boot camp for writers, if you will:) My brain doesn't work that way--it's stuck on perfectionist. It's nearly impossible for me to write anything without agonizing over every word. No matter what the word count, remember one thing--you're a great writer and you don't need Nano to tell you that. I wish you luck and I'll be there to throw a ticker tape parade at the finish line:)

  18. Great post--I needed the encouragement today!

    P.S. You won a book from my Spooktacular Giveaway Hop. Email me your address and I'll get it sent out! :)

  19. Funny how we think and act in cycles...good luck with Nano!


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