Neurotic Novelling: Writing a novel sucks

Neurotic Novelling: Writing a novel sucks

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Cody Finney / The Arbiter

For the month of November, Lauren Hooker will participate in a writing challenge like none other. Every Monday, you have the chance to read about every moment of this quest. 

It’s time to come clean: I’m failing miserably.

It’s not even halfway through November, and I’m a whopping five thousand words behind where I should be. I haven’t even breached the 15,000 word mark. Yeah. It’s bad. Between classes, work and Up All Night marathons, I’m still writing several thousand words a day… for other obligations. My novel has been tossed to the wayside, receiving a dwindling thousand-or-so words a day, slowly growing the gap between real life and goal count.

However, one of the central themes surrounding the beauty (and disaster) of NaNoWriMo is the sense of community that it can invoke within its participants. The NaNoWriMo Treasure Valley group has created a Facebook page dedicated to support, staying motivated and scheduling write-ins to meet other intrepid novelists in the area. Afraid that I was the only one in this situation, I consulted the group for their tips regarding time management and procrastination.

“I think the challenge for me is staying motivated,” said Kat Zufelt, who is working on Shattered Glass, a novel about five teenagers who fight crime using their newly discovered superpowers. “Sometimes, I’ll get up and start doing other stuff just because I don’t feel like writing. A trick that worked for me to nip that in the bud was depriving myself of food until I got my word count for the day. Amazingly, I wrote even faster if there was something I couldn’t have until I was done.”

Deprive myself of food?! My alter ego is Hooker in the Kitchen, for heaven’s sake. I’m making spicy shrimp and curried rice for dinner. Perhaps it would help me fit into my high school jeans, considering I’m so incredibly behind.

Carla Olsen, who is working on Nomad, a tale of two childhood friends in the first millenium who are separated by migration, looks at it from a different way and focuses on the positive.

“The fun part is being surprised by what ends up on the page,” Olsen said. “Where did THAT come from?”

On the bright side, I still have 19 more days, plenty of time to hammer out the remaining 40,000 words.