Help - a crisis of confidence!
Those of you who follow my blog will know that last year I wrote over fifty thousand words of my novel during November as part of NaNoWriMo 2014. It felt good to get immersed in the story lines and get to know the characters really well. Sometimes they surprised me by going off and doing or saying things I hadn't expected. I felt a real sense of achievement and was convinced that I was well on my way.
I knew there'd be things to change and there'd be plot holes I needed to fill; that's the nature of the beast when you write without stopping to edit. A slogan "Don't get it right. Get it written." was firmly embedded in my mind's eye. I would use Nano this year to finish the first draft and then write short stories in the rest of the time. After all I was so close, wasn't I? So why am I feeling so insecure and wracked with self-doubt this time around? I haven't got much more to write, I thought I knew where the two narratives were going and how they were going to come together at the end of the book. Apart from yesterday, I've managed to write something every day but rather than start typing with the excitement of what's coming up next in the story, I'm worrying about whether 'this' would happen or 'that' doesn't seem right. For me finishing the story is proving so much harder than it was at the beginning.
In all the NaNos I've done since, I've never repeated that original sense of satisfaction. The second year, determined to hit 50,000, I used NaNo to work on the edit/rewrite of a first draft. That month, I stormed to a glorious 55,000...except that it didn't feel glorious. It felt like cheating.
Lesson learned. The next year, I worked on something new, but, though I worked hard on it, that first-time achievement didn't return. In fact, all these NaNoWriMos and CampNaNoWriMos later, I've never recaptured it. I wonder why. Is it because, having done it once, you never again experience that sharp sense of panic? That"What have I let myself in for?" feeling?
Is that what's happening to me? Perhaps I shouldn't try to emulate the feeling of satisfaction I had last year but just accept that the novel is at a different stage now. I'll still try to write every day but I won't be concerned if I fail to reach the goals set. After writing so many words and learning so much in the process, I know I will regret it if I give up now.
Did any of you find the last part of your first draft the hardest to write? Can you please give me any tips on how to deal with this self-doubt? Did any of you change how you approached a first draft after writing your first book? Any advice will be gratefully received. :-)
Thank you for reading. I look forward to reading your comments.
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