The Power of Writing on a Schedule

There are so many things I could say about this. But today, as I was trying for the millionth time to catch up on my NaNoWriMo word count, I had a moment of realization.

Let me back up for a minute. This morning I had been driving to work when an old story paid me a visit. It was a story I had so much enthusiasm for at one time, but I never made it very far because it was a bit outside of my usual genre… definitely more on the thriller side than the fantasy side, even though there is potential magic at work. So after 14 single-spaced pages, I had closed it up and walked away.

Well, the main character came back to me. Cara Ebner, a girl with a pretty tragic past and some crazy happenings in her current life. A girl from my own life, one with Pennsylvania Dutch (German) roots, a rural upbringing, and a brain for science. A girl finding herself at college and alone for the first time ever. She didn’t remain alone for long, since she was befriended by a sweet English major named Bronte Celestin, a smart girl who was born in Louisiana but moved to Ohio at a young age (more I don’t really know how to write… never been to Louisiana, and I never wrote a woman of color quite like her before, and it scared me to mess it up).

I loved and still love this story. But there was so much that was challenging, I moved on to other projects. But this morning, Cara was whispering in my ear. “Where’d you go?” she crooned. “I need resolution!”

“But your title was just taken by a published book,” I tried.

“There are other titles.”

I didn’t even need to think that hard to come up with a new title I loved, and I love it way more than the original title. I’ll refrain from sharing it here, at least this early. But just like that, my interest was reignited. I still want to write the story of Cara, of her first experience in college, of the things that haunt her.

And this is my realization. This is one of the secrets of NaNo that not everyone notices. When you write consistently and on a schedule like I have been all month, you just want to write more. You’re never satisfied with where you are; you see where your current story is going, you see the next story, you see how to fix the last story.

I was feeling pretty discouraged when this all started, that I wasn’t a writer worth anything and that perhaps I should give up on storytelling. But now, with one draft awaiting the end of its resting time before edits, one draft being hacked at with huge chunks falling off every day, and one draft waiting in the wings, I feel like I have more passion to keep going than I did in the last three years.

Let’s do this, writer friends.

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