I have a confession to make. I’m not proud of it, but I’m going to stand here with my head held high and “tell the truth” (As my 4-year-old would say).
I fell off the 100 Words Wagon.
I know, I know. I got to day 32, and then… nothing. I didn’t write anything for a day. I sat in front of the computer, stared at the screen, and thought, “I just can’t do this today.” Then I went to bed. And I did this in the knowledge that I would have to start all over again at Day 1. I felt terrible, and went through a brief bout of I’m-a-terrible-writer-itis. But then I decided to give myself permission to suck for a few days, then get over myself and start again.
But the real question here is: why did it happen at all?
I could line up reasons for you. I’ve got lots of other stuff happening in my life right now. I’ve been sick. My boys have both been sick. I’ve been averaging 2 hours sleep a night for the last 5 nights. And although all of those things are true, none of them are accurate. At least, none of them accurately represent the reason that I stopped writing every day.
I finished Chapter 2 on Friday. I was so excited. Tick, done. It was a bit longer than I’d intended (coming in at about 6500 words), but I could cut it down a bit in editing. On Saturday, I sat down to write Chapter 3. Yeah! Let’s do this thing! I sat at my computer, and…. nothing.
No problem. Sometimes long-hand is the way to go. So I grabbed my pen and notebook, found a cozy spot on the couch, and…. nothing. I managed 3 words. And they were dreadful.
It took me a couple of days to really figure out the problem. You see, Chapter 2 was wrong. At least, it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. My protag did things that didn’t make sense, I had a huge info-dump poorly disguised as a conversation (It was wearing a false moustache and sunglasses. I still know that’s you, info-dump!), and the conversation itself didn’t even make sense for the characters involved–it only happened so I could get them to the relevant place in the plot.
Generally, I agree with Kirsten Lamb’s recent post about editing being the novel-killer when it comes to a first draft. I really do. (Okay, I mostly do.) But in this case, I seriously couldn’t keep writing until I figured out how to fix my problems. Because anything that I wrote after that point would be inherently flawed by me not knowing what had happened earlier. So I stopped writing all together.
The good news is that I have now figured out what I did wrong. (I don’t have to delete anything – I actually need to split those 6500 words into chapters 2 and 3, and add an extra 2000 odd words to each of them.) My inspiration and excitement is back. Writing is no longer a chore. And I’m back on the 100 Word Bandwagon. It’s just that, now, I’m on Day 2. But I’m on a HAPPY and PRODUCTIVE day 2, so you’ll get no complaints from me.
(In other news, Stephen King has given me permission not to write an outline. My life is now complete.)