Roadmaps

Wow — I really haven’t written a blog post since February, huh? I’ve had a couple things I’ve meant to write, but it always seems to get away from me, and by the time I can actually attend to the idea, it’s lost its salience. Mind, I’ve been keeping busy with other writing. Back in November I finally sat down and done something I wanted to do for years, which was to put forth a serious effort toward National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. The idea is simple — if you commit to writing about 1,667 words a day for the entire month of November, at the end of the month you’ll have a 50,000 word novel.

I’ve tried it a few times before, but this year something clicked and I was actually able to maintain focus for the whole month. I think a lot of the difference is that I’ve finally accepted that I’m not actually what’s called a “pantser” (a writer who goes in with no plan and flies by the seat of their pants). I’ve always fancied myself one, I think because it seemed like what all the great creatives do, just sit down and spin gold from a pen, but I’ve realized over the last year or so that that simply isn’t true, and I really am a “plotter” (someone who needs to sit down and have a firm outline beforehand).

In retrospect, it makes sense — I’ve struggled with ADHD all my life, and one of the most important things I learned in college as a student with ADHD was how important it was to create structure for myself. Deadlines, achievable goals, reminders, the whole nine yards. So I don’t know why I was silly enough to think that all that suddenly didn’t apply anymore when it came to writing. Writing a novel is something I’ve wanted to do since I was about eight years old, so maybe it’s just the case that old habits die hard.

Anyway, this time was different. I spent the latter half of October creating a serious outline, following Lewis Jorstad’s absolutely fantastic The Ten Day Outline, which breaks the process itself down into manageable goals and was a huge help to actually getting it done. Once I had my outline, it was suddenly a lot easier to sit down each day and already know what I needed to write. A lot of it ended up being kind of crap — characters were a mess, some of the prose was atrocious, and not all of it made sense, but that’s what editing’s for. That’s what I’ve been slogging through since about January. The point, though, is that I did it: I wrote a novel. Now to focus on making it good.

Aside from writing, I’ve been up to a few other exciting things, some of which I’m not ready to share yet, but suffice it to say that things are good these days. The best thing I’ve been doing is a lot of traveling. In June, Matt and I accompanied my mom and sister up to Philadelphia, the other weekend he and I took Amtrak up to DC for a quick weekend trip, and this weekend I’m going to the Outer Banks with six of my closest friends. Things are a little worrying with the Delta variant on the rise, and I’ve gone back to wearing my mask in stores, so I’m glad to be able to get in so much adventure now in case we have to hunker back down come Fall. I won’t be doing any writing at the beach, but I’m excited to see the surf, the sand, and the Sun.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *