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Day 2 NaNoWriMo: The inner critic rises

Day two of this NaNoWriMo journey began as hectic as day one. I spent the morning preparing the materials for my afternoon classes (I meant to take a picture of the disaster I made while doing so but I didn’t have the time!). In the early afternoon I taught. It was fun and well worth the morning’s effort.

And then I was done.

For the first time in over a week, I was looking at an evening where I could do what I wanted to do – which was write. I had to make it through dinner first, but after that the night was mine! Once I got the two daily updates complete (mine and the @freewritehouse one), I started in on my work.

Before I share how it went, here are my totals:

Words written on November 1: 1698
Total words so far: 1798

Distractions

One of the things I struggle with is staying focused on what I’m writing. My mind will think of something and boom! I go to look it up or double check it or otherwise stop writing and do something else. [Like just now as I reminded myself how easily I get distracted, I distracted myself by closing all my other windows and then taking the time to update my desktop wallpaper – which is now my inspiration book cover.]

Last night it was a fight to stay focused. Ginabot alerted me to every notification with a happy little Discord “beep-beep” and yes I looked at every one. Sometimes I made it almost a minute before looking but in the end I had to look.

I’d randomly check my email, or find reasons to look up synonyms and alternative phrases. None of these should be happening. Nothing urgent happens by email, and word choice is what editing is all about. Getting the story out is what matters now.

As the night went on I was doing better (with the exception of Ginabot). I turned on my brain entrainment focus music. I forced myself to use the comment feature in Scrivener to make notes on when I thought I needed a better word or should look something up. I just kept writing.

Because I’m working to finish an existing work, I also occasionally got stuck on things I should be consistent about – like the timing or naming of things. Again, by the end of the night I was able to make myself enter a “Look this up later” comment rather than spend fifteen minutes trying to find the reference in the already-written text.

Before I knew i, the midnight hour was approaching and I wanted to get my word count in. So I found a place I thought I could stop and entered that number.

That nagging voice of my inner critic

Overall I’ll say it was a success. I didn’t get as many words as I wanted, but I did move my story forward. But as I was writing, and struggling to find those right words (and making comments about them) I heard a little voice in my head.

This is crap.
What makes you think anyone will want to read this?
Your characters suck, they’re all the same.
Your characters are boring, they have no depth.
You’re wasting your time!

I have to admit the voice took me a little by surprise. At least it’s ferocity and volume. I write all the time, for myself and clients so I’ve learned to tune it out. When it appears it’s usually because I’m rushing to meet a deadline and I know I won’t have enough time for a proper edit – in other words it’s loud when it’s right.

But here I was working on a story I love, that I want to share with the world (eventually, after editing) and I felt berated and beat up. I told it “not now” and kept on writing. NaNoWriMo isn’t about getting it perfect. It’s about getting it done. I plan to educate my inner critic about timing as the month goes on. I’m sure it will argue with me as cleverly as it can, but now that I know it’s there I can be prepared for it.

For any of you that are duking it out with your inner critics too, here are some resources I’ve found helpful in the past:

How to Out Write Your Inner Critic

Silence Your Inner Critic: How to Defeat Your Writing Demons

https://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2014/11/06/taming-your-inner-critic-7-steps-to-silencing-the-negativity/#3c9fbebf7feb

https://writingcooperative.com/five-ways-to-silence-your-inner-critic-75073f7f4a7c

Not wanting to leave

After I entered my word count for the day, I sat at my computer. I couldn’t make myself get up. I re-read what I had just written and I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to keep going, so I typed a few more words. I reminded myself I was done for the day. But again I didn’t get up, but instead stared at my screen. And then I wrote some more. Rinse and repeat.

I was 200 words in before I forced myself  to get up because I knew I would keep going. I needed sleep. So I have 200 words for day 3 under my belt before my evening session begins. And now I’m writing this update, and checking the clock to see when I can go visit again. I’m ready for more adventures in this world I’ve created.

 

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NaNoWriMo logo used courtesy of National Novel Writing Month.

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