Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Cheerleading Post

In college, pretending to be a cheerleader.
Any Nano participants out there?

If so, you're almost there! Keep going! Rah, rah, rah! I'm so personally and professionally proud of you!

I did Nano in November last year and LOVED it. Don't hate me for this if you've struggled (just keep reading), but I filled out my numbers every day and watched my little graph take off. It was so much fun, and by the end I had a very, very, very bad novel to show for it.

After almost a year of editing, I'm finally querying it. Success story, right?

I was ready to query back in October, and also ready to dive into a new project, so I decided to do Nano in October instead, with the wonderful Emily King as my fellow write-a-novel-in-a-month partner and cheerleader.

You guys, it was brutal. (Not because of Emily. Because of ME.)

And Emily kicked my bee-hind.

She was like at 800,000 words and I was still limping along at 200.

Okay, that's a tiny exaggeration.

It was SO HARD, though!

And for the first time in my life, I HATED WRITING.


I didn't want to sit down at my computer. I found other things to do. Usually I procrastinate doing lots of things in the name of writing, but now the tables were turned and I was spending time ... cleaning my bathtub!

I know, I know. Horrifying.

But, you know, I think Emily can attest to this, I kept plowing through. It was painful and hard, but I actually made it to something like 45,000 words and then I was so cross-eyed with the draft I decided to go back and start revising. I didn't want to finish the book right then because I knew certain parts of it were very wrong and I needed to get those right before I figured out the ending. (Pantser alert!)

Then November arrived and I began revising.

And, people, I was like a bird released from its cage. I started reading through my stuff and ... surprisingly ... I liked it, especially the beginning! And I fell in love with these characters again, and I made them even quirkier, and now I'm at 55,000 words and actually moving toward the climax and the ending.

I feel good. Finally!

All this to say, if you're Nano-ing it, and even if you're not Nano-ing it, but are in a tough spot with drafting or revising or whatever it is that feels like pulling teeth....


It gets better. And someday you will have fun with it again.

Right? Of course, right! Please share in the comments about when you've had to push through a tough time. I know it's not always easy. And we've all been there. Let's share our joys and sorrows.


(And THANK YOU, Emily, for keeping me going!)


  1. Amy, you are incredible. Your hard work and determination put me to shame. It's easy to write when the story is flowing, but when you really find out what you're made of is when it's not. You inspire me every day. Thanks so much for asking me to draft with you. Having you as my partner motivated me to keep writing even when I thought I had nothing to say. High five for pushing through! :D We rock!

  2. Well done Amy, persistence is a huge part of any challenge. I totally agree with Emily's comment.

  3. Good job on sticking with it. It feels so good to get stuff done, especially when you've been struggling.

    I'm up to 44k for NaNo. So close, so close! I'll get there too. The time went by quickly!

  4. Love the encouragement here today & what a pic! :D
    ~ Wendy

  5. You are so awesome for sticking with it. My current book was like that. The first 3 chapters flowed quickly, and then after writing 5 more, I realized I was completely off-base. I started again on those chapters, and got to maybe chapter 14 when I realized I was heading the wrong direction . . . AGAIN! It was killer. I redid those chapters and really struggled to write the last bit. Each word (seriously) was painful.

    BUT, I recently finished the 2nd round of revisions (or 10th, depending on how you look at it), and I'm back in love with the book. I think it's my best work yet. But getting it out? SO painful!

  6. Thanks for that encouraging post. Your stick-to-it-ive-ness is very inspiring. I can't imagine pumping out that many words in a month, even bad ones. LOL.

    I've had a lot of bad times. My tip -- do what you can and let the rest go. Even if it means not writing. I know it sounds defeatist, but many a time, I've lain in bed and pondered my story scenes.

  7. I'm so glad you've fallen back in love with your novel - that's got to feel great! I'm not doing NaNo, but I am outlining a new novel and having a great time doing it!

  8. What a roller coaster. I admire anyone who can do NaNo whether it's in November or any other month! Good luck with your revised mss.

  9. I'm so glad for you! I just can't do that kind of intense writing. I "won" NaNo once and had nothing worth editing. I'll stick to plodding along with my inner editor taking over now and again :).

  10. WTG, Amy! Being productive comes on one's own time....

    Happy writing!

  11. Great job Amy!

    It is rough when you're just not into it. Way to go for sticking with it.

    The thing I love about writing a first draft quickly, without going back to edit (which is how I do all my first drafts.. haha. You could say I always NaNo) is that when you go back to read it, there are many more good parts then you think. I love laughing out loud at my work and being like, "Oh, yeah, I did put that in there."

    Great job Amy! Can't wait to read it :)