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note to self: i’ll be there for you, always

written june 6, 2021. Photo by Kristine Cinate on Unsplash I have always looked for myself in other people. I think the idea was that they would somehow hold the pieces of me that I felt were missing. That maybe, if I wrapped my identity up in theirs enough, we would somehow make a whole person. It's not healthy to live like this, but I did it anyway — burning through relationships and searching for something I couldn't quite name. It was never enough, not to be myself, but it was never enough to latch my identity to other people, either. I got close, several times — I thought I had reached the pinnacle of self discovery. I thought I had completed myself. But in the end, relying on other people to help build yourself is never a viable way to do things. It's only recently that I've started to become comfortable with the idea of being enough, as I am, on my own. Several years ago, in this same position, I would have searched for another person to attach my identity onto,

in which i am discouraged & brain dead

ok, so i'll be honest.

despite all my pep talks about NaNoWriMo, and how awesome it was going to be, and how much we'll have fun...

i am burning out.

it's the end of week 1 and i'm wondering if we'll ever get done. if i'll ever have a real, true, cohesive novel in my hands by the end of this month.

i probably won't.

and that's what frustrates me.

yes, i'll have written a novel. i'll have written 50,000 words. but then i have to EDIT. *cue scary music*

can you see why i'm beginning to freak out now?

not only that, but my outline is falling apart. i don't know what i'm doing or what my characters are going to do next. i think i need to poke them with a cattle prong, but the only thing that would work to do so is scheduled for chapter 7, not chapter 5. what am i going to do for 2 chapters until then?


okay, i know that you NaNo'ers are probably feeling the same way. so be honest. are you burnt out yet? what's the hardest part of NaNo so far? and are all your perfect plans turning out less-than-perfect?

yeah, mine too.


  1. Oh bother, dear.

    Perhaps some more coffee and music?

    But if not...

    the one thing I've noticed if I need to "fill in" space, is that the story just needs to go differently, or else cut to the chase faster.

    Either that, or for filler just make them do something stupid/pointless/silly until things need to get moving.

    I know I probably didn't help much..... well, just know I'll be praying for you and your Novel, dear! <3

  2. I'm not doing NaNo, but I'll preface this by saying I have done NaNo, and the fight is not foreign to me.

    Actually, I'll say more than that.

    I'm sitting here, at my computer, with my cork-board hanging on the wall beside me and a row of white index cards lined up on it, sporting chapter titles. I am not doing NaNo this year, but I did it last year. I am a firm believer in not outlining. I say that. I'm a firm believer in not outlining a lot. Well, firm believer in outlining when the story necessitates it. Between Earth and Sky, (got a bit of your name in there, eh!)which was my NaNo for last year, outlined itself briefly in chapters. I had a vague and passing notion of what was to happen in each one.

    November came and I got cracking.

    I can be passing verbose when I need to be, but I managed to keep in mind the unNaNo notion that it's about writing the story, not barfing up fifty thousand words. By and large, I enjoyed myself. By and large, I stuck to the chapters. Here and there, I realized I needed more time, more development, before launching into the next section. New sections were born. The dashed thing got bigger. I added more index cards.

    Your problem seems to be quite the opposite. I started writing at...bally day, I don't remember how young I was. Something about unicorns? Flying horses? My Little Ponies? That's embarrassing. Moving on. I've been writing for time out of my own mind, and frankly I never knew things like fanfiction and NaNo existed. Come to think of it, I'm not sure NaNoWriMo did exist... I do consider it a touch of plague, and I can say I never was plagued by the pressing horror of churning out fifty thousand words in thirty days. I never needed it. I wrote because the stories would come out some way, and I would rather they came out neatly on paper than explode out of the back of my skull.

    Hang NaNo. Write like the dickens, Mademoiselle Sky! Get down in the trenches with your people. Give them time to think, if you need time to fill. Give them time to get to know themselves (do any of us know who we are?). While you go about your schoolwork and chores, think about the little things you might have missed in the rush of typing words, little things that bring out the detail of your story, of your setting, of your characters. This may or may not spawn enough to fill two chapters, but you never know. I was wondering what I was going to do to fill up time at a gala I am writing, but I remained confident that I would think of, or trip over, something. It's amazing how the intricate twists and turns of a plot will give you a way out where you least expected it, and never imagined.

    (To be continued...)

  3. (Apparently I do run on so.)

    That is my advice for filling up two chapters. As for NaNo, while I have participated in it and enjoyed it, and hope to do it again, I have never come to terms with the embracing of "insanity." Having a good time, typing some near two thousand words a day to reach fifty thousand by the end of the month, drinking regrettable amounts of caffeinated beverages, don't (in my equation) add up to insanity. When embarking on something like this, daunting as it appears, a certain level of grim level-headed determination must be maintained, if you mean to go through with it. Writing a novel is strangely like a relationship. It isn't all pony rides in May sunshine. And if you're going to write a novel, if you're going to do NaNo, you have to go into it with your eyes wide open, fully knowing what you are getting in to. You have to count the cost. You have to be ready. You have to endure.

    And I think you do know. This advice is as much for everyone else as for you and me. One of your labels is "writing is HARD." Hoo, yeah, you got that right. But even you, when pressed for an answer, would say it is worth it. You write because you have to. So do I. I can't write your story for you. I can't help you with the plot and the empty two chapters. But I can say: pace yourself, hang NaNo, remember why you write. Time may come when you have to crush your imagination under a dead-line (you never know) but for now warm up. An athlete doesn't break into the race without warming up. An athlete knows his strengths, his limitations, how to push himself and pace himself. In many ways writing is no different.

    Editing! Editing, editing, editing. Ed. It. Ing. Strikes fear in the heart, doesn't it? Editing. If there is one thing this daft little mind is learning, it is to not think about editing until the time to do so has come. Oh, it's like a devil, worming its way into my thoughts, leering at me, taunting me when I stare mazed and tired at a section that I feel is just not right... But you have to push it away. You can't NaNo and edit at the same time, and you can't worry about both at the same time. Yes, once you have edited, your novel may look nothing like its original draft. But we haven't come to that bridge yet. Just you try crossing a bridge you haven't come to yet. Daft work, isn't it? With your pacing and pushing, remember your perspective.

    If you want a laugh, and a little more encouragement, and even time spent procrastinating a little, you might like Seriously, I Wrote That? which, admittedly, is about editing, but hopefully ought to keep things in perspective and should address your writing at the moment as well. If not, just have a laugh! And believe me, I've been in your shoes, and I'll be in your shoes. Common, all-around shoes, those. Don't forget to wash them before you pass them off on someone else.

  4. I know the feeling. Keep on keeping on:)

  5. @The Director: Aw, thank you. :) Prayer always helps. I'm actually realizing that I need to spend more time developing my characters, so that's what I'm working on. After all, I know my characters fairly well, but my readers are clueless. Anyway, coffee and music help. A lot. ;)

    @Jenny: I can't tell you how well-timed your comments were. Have you considered writing pep talks for the NaNo site? ;) I had just come home from a long day, still feeling in the dumps about my novel and writing in general. So, like every good writer does, I procrastinated and checked my email. Your comments were sitting there, and I read every word. All I can say is, thank you, thank you, thank you. It was such a timely reminder of WHY I write. It gave me new resolve and purpose. And ironically, when I just let the words come instead of trying to squeeze them out, my wordcount is actually a lot more productive. I love what you said about writing being like a relationship: it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Like every relationship, it takes work and perseverance.

    I loved that post about editing, by the way. It was very humorous and so very true. :)

    Thanks again. It's so wonderful to know that someone I've never met understands and is cheering me on.

    @Sunny Smith: Oh, what great advice. Like Dory on Finding Nemo says - "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming." That's becoming my theme song for November. ;)

    Thanks for commenting, everyone!


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