- Superhero Story
Stories in Progress:
- Some People Get To Play ‘Princess’ (Pending Title)
Total Words Written:
- 41,047 words
I’ve reached the home stretch! I have less than 10,000 words to write and the finish line is looking clearer with each passing day.
This week was a little rough. In my mind, I envisioned a week of intense writing sessions because I would be free from work starting Wednesday. With more free time on my hands, no matter how temporary it was, I was confident I would be able to churn out at least 2,000 words every day until it was time for me to return to work. I didn’t account for the time I would spend with family members, either out at a restaurant, at a movie theater or at home where we crowded on a couch and watched movies.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful for the time I spent with my friends and family these past few days. I connected with cousins who I grew up with, but always felt slightly distant from. I ate a lot of good food, both home cooked and restaurant meals. I laughed a lot during a round of Black Card Revoked. And I watched Creed and Creed II, tearing up alongside my mom and cousin as the titular character struggled with the legacy his father left behind. (Those are great movies and I highly recommend you watch them if you haven’t already!)
But each night, as I rested in bed, I looked at my actual word count and the projection on the NaNo page. I was behind and some days I tried to write at least a thousand words, but it was difficult to get through some scenes. Maybe I’m experiencing burnout. Writing is always a challenge and NaNo adds more pressure because it’s difficult to bounce back from a missed day of writing.
I also intended to write at least 7 short stories this month and I’ve just started my 4th story. At this rate, I may begin the 5th story but I don’t anticipate finishing it, or my other 2 stories, by the end of the month. It’s hard balancing that sense of accomplishment with an equal sense of disappointment. I recognize that writing 41,000 odd words this month is a feat, especially when I have a full time job and other obligations that I must balance. But I was looking forward to writing a messy, but complete short story collection. The stories would be imperfect, but I would go into the new year with plenty of material to work with and eventually attempt to publish.
But I think writing requires a lot of flexibility and compassion for yourself. And while I’m still learning how to show compassion to myself, I can admit to myself that I’ve done great things so far this month and there’s still a week left where I can achieve even more! I may not reach my final goals, but that doesn’t mean I need to abandon my collection completely or that I wasn’t successful. I needed to change the parameters to measure my success and there is nothing wrong with that.
Let’s talk about family. It’s a reoccurring theme in my writing and it seems fitting since Thanksgiving was this week and I was surrounded by family. Looking back at stories that I’ve written this month and previously, I notice a trend with the type of families that make an appearance in my work. Sometimes, they’re complex. But most times, they are full of love, support, care and laughter. It’s idyllic in so many ways.
Some of these families are based on my own family, at least on the surface. Two opposite-sex parents, a sibling or two, aunts and uncles, a slew of cousins and charming grandparents. It’s nice and heartwarming, drawing the readers into a sense of comfort (I hope).
But I’ve been thinking more about family, specifically about my relationship to members of my family and the closer I look at things (my memories and the feelings associated with those memories), the more I develop complicated opinions about family.
Like most things in life, family can be difficult to deal with. They’re supposed to love and nurture you, but they’re human and so there’s room for pain, misery, misunderstanding and/or scorn. Personally, I often feel like my family doesn’t understand me nor make attempts to understand me. I feel like they don’t offer me the space or time to speak about the things closest to my heart. A lot of times, I’m more likely to go to a close friend for those things that I feel like my family should readily provide me.
But it’s not all bad. I’m close to some family members and I have people who I consider to be a part of my family, even if we don’t share blood. I’m working on lowering my defenses and opening up to my family, which makes it easier to connect with the people who I want to grow closer to.
Why does this matter to my writing?
Well, I’m trying to take a more nuanced approach to how I write about family in my stories and I think I’ve been more or less successful in those attempts. For example, in my current work-in-progress, my character travels to a fantasy world where her family, primary the women in her family, have ruled over the land for centuries. There is a key that leads to this fantastical place and it’s usually passed from mother to a daughter (usually firstborn). But the story starts with an older sister handing the key off to the main character, the youngest daughter, much to their mother’s annoyance. The story is still in the earliest stages of develop, but it will hopefully explore the idea of honoring a family’s legacy, while maintaining your own individuality. I’ll let you know how it turns out!
But the more I write, the more I think about the themes that are important to me. I love delving into those things and learning more about myself that will in turn, help me develop into a better writer!
Fellow NaNo writers, we’re almost there! No matter what your word count is, do your best to make this final week a spectacular one! But be sure to take time and bask in your accomplishments, no matter what they may be. Happy Writing!