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Stuck in the Mud with You

I’m at the beginning of my NaNoWriMo adventure, day four to be precise, and I’ve got nothing. Well, I had nothing. Let’s be honest. I’ve been stuck since my sister died. I’ve found the energy to edit. I’ve found the energy to help my friends with their writing. But when I sit down to write something new, nothing happens.

The problem? It’s November, and I wanted to get moving on a rough draft for an old story I'm trying to resuscitate. I mean, it’s a horror story, and with the way the world is going right now, what’s more appropriate than that?

In the spirit of putting my best foot forward, I sat down, and tried. Only, nothing came out. I could have panicked. To me, a deadline, even if self-imposed, is a deadline and needs to be taken seriously. So I took a deep breath and started mapping out the story, scene by scene. That will happen in this scene, with these characters, this is the point of the scene, and so on. Sometimes I got a paragraph for a scene description because even though I knew what would go down there, the words just didn’t come. Sometimes they were a few paragraphs and others a whole page of blabbering. On my first day, I hit close to 2000—the next, close to 400. Then yesterday, around 800. Sadly, not what Dr. NaNoWriMo requires to win.

If you aren’t familiar with NaNoWriMo, the goal is to write 1667 words a day for 30 days, with the intent of writing a minimum of fifty thousand words.

Last year I wrote two novellas during this time, and I still only hit forty thousand-ish words. So, this might be an up hill battle.

Knowing this, I did what anyone would do: I whined about it. I talked to my writing friends and broke down what the problem seemed to be:

1. I’m switching up my writing by telling a story in third person, past tense, close, instead of first-person present tense.

2. The stodgy feeling brought on by grief seems to not want to go away.

Armed with their thoughts, I did research. I read my favorite writer’s work and studied how she writes in third-person. I went over the stupid things like ‘ed’ and ‘ing’ and ‘was’ (which is a whole ‘nother blog, I tell you, that word, ‘was.’) I tried to commit all of this to memory.

And then, last night, I sat down and decided it was time to just write the damn scenes. No matter how bad they came out, it would still give me a framework to edit later. And yes, at first, it came out stilted and flat. Kind of like my mood. But then this morning, which would be about my seventh attempt to start? It started to flow. I feel like I’m jinxing things by sharing this, but it looks like I might have finally fallen back into the voice of this story. I don't think that means it's easy going from here on out, but at least I've gotten out of the mud for now.


And how are you doing?



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