I've made it through the first week of writing my first draft and I'm still standing. Okay make that curled up on the sofa; but I made it which is the important part. It has not been easy. In fact I have found so many things I would rather do than actually write - these include messing around on Facebook, re-doing my website, updating my Twitter account - hell I even was tempted to do my tax returns, it was literally that bad.
It's so dumb because I have been desperate for the time to just write. I've rearranged my whole schedule so that I can use my precious energy in the morning to focus on my novel and once the time was there and I was there, all my creativity joy and desire to write just evaporated.
I sat staring at this very screen with Scrivener open and I couldn't even string a sentence together. Words made no sense to me. I felt like someone had come in and scoured out my brain, leaving me with random thoughts like "why do I need to drink so much water" and "I wonder how many butterflies there are in my garden?" I counted up to seven in case you're wondering too.
I resigned myself to the fact that I am a truly horrible writer and that maybe I should give up. Except for the fact that a) I've told everyone I'm doing this first draft so I feel accountable to actually do it and b) during NaNoWriMo I find this writing thing really easy. I can dash off my 1,667 words a day without too much of a sweat. So what was my problem?
Then I realised that during NaNo we actually go through a process of locking our inner editor into a little box - we even make a box out of paper and put a picture of our editor inside. It sounds gimmicky; but it really works. So that's what I decided to do, not make a paper box, that would have been another fun waste of time. No I decided that when I went out to my writing room I would leave the editor inside the house.
It was the trick I needed. Once I let go, stopped editing each word, each sentence, and just let myself write, it was fun and I rediscovered my joy. There were sentences I typed that made me cringe; but they got across the emotion I wanted to express and I know I can go back in the edit and spruce them up, give them the polish they deserve.
I also discovered this amazing list of ten rules for writing your first draft - ironically while I was wasting time on Facebook. I hope they help you as much as they helped me!
Find out more about the Shame Box in my book The Choice. Imagine a world where sugar is illegal, baking is a crime and the government use diet, exercise and shame to keep people in line. Winner of the Good Housekeeping Novel Competition, The Choice is available to pre-order from Amazon, Waterstones, Book Depository.
I won the Good Housekeeping Novel Competition. My novel, The Choice, is published on 26th December 2019, by Orion
Title: The Choice
Published: 26th December 2019
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