I learnt some things about my writing process over the past 30 days of the WriMoFoFo challenge.
The first is that I can actually push myself to let the story come out and ‘write badly’ if I put my mind to it. I kept telling myself that it didn’t matter if the dialogue was bad, or the descriptions clichéd, or the whole thing was lacking sufficient character reaction/reflection etc — so long as the story was heading in a good direction. (Because all those other things can be fixed later.) So, with my eyes on the word total, I blithely chucked words down onto the page to see whether any would stick.
The second is that I don’t really like (or feel comfortable) writing in this manner. My saving grace has been my writing journal (introduced in my previous post), in which I have copious notes of things to add/change in the various scenes, and in which I wrote repeated messages to myself to just keep going: never mind the detail, feel the width!
The third is that stories don’t come to me in a rush — nor do the best ways of telling them. I probably already knew this, and I suspect it’s the reason I’m a plotter and not a pantser; I really need to pay close attention to structure and pacing. So sometimes I simply need to stop, ignore the word count and play out the options in my head (or in my journal), because the right path to take is not always obvious.
This last point is what ultimately brought me undone on this WriMoFoFo challenge. I reached a point in the novel (which is still in the fairly early stages) where I began to question what is the best thing to happen next, and also to question whether the path to this point was working. Urges to go back to the beginning and revise/edit/expand became very strong indeed. No more on this for now, because I think this debate will be the subject of a future post. But suffice to say that it was enough to temporarily halt the wordmachine.
Anyway, I achieved 77% of the target number of words for the 30 day period. And if I consider that I lost four days at the start, and then capsized with three days to go, then that’s a whole week I effectively wasn’t writing. So I’m actually really happy with that result.