NaNoWriMo Days 16-17

The morning I hit a nice milestone for my novel-in-progress, getting it just beyond 30K words, so I’m still ahead of schedule for reaching 50K words by November 30th. The daily target of 1667 words continues to work well.

Yesterday I added 2050 words, which I think is the first time I’ve gone over 2K words in a day. I got into the flow of an emotionally juicy scene and didn’t want to stop till I got to the end of it. I got caught up in the characters’ feelings as I channeled their dialogue, and the words flowed as fast as I could type. This was the first time I cried while writing this story. If this novel were made into a movie, I could see people crying while watching that scene too. It could use a lot of editing, but the core of it feels potent and meaningful. It felt very satisfying to write a scene with a lot of raw and nuanced emotion in it. This came from having the characters communicate with more honesty and emotional risk-taking.

Interestingly there’s a Nano badge called “Weepy Writer” that you earn by shedding a tear or two over your novel, so I gave myself credit for earning that one.

When I get into the flow of a scene, I often feel some emotion as I write, although usually not as strong as during yesterday’s writing session. Even though I’m working with fictional characters, their interactions feel increasingly real and genuine to me, and this leads me to discover some emotional truths in their interactions. The situations that the characters face are emotionally similar to real situations that real people often face as well, and this makes me feel extra sympathy for people who experience similar challenges.

Sometimes as I’m writing a dialog between a couple of characters, it feels like I’m doing a deep personal journaling session. When I was writing a scene this morning, I got confused partway through, wondering if I had drifted away from writing dialogue and was actually doing something closer to personal introspection. I paused and read back a little of what I wrote and realized that the scene still made sense either way. That gave me an eery feeling that my writing was happening at the intersection of two different worlds.

I’m finding this writing adventure to be deeper and more growth-oriented than I expected. I figured it would be a growth experience in terms of the skills to learn, the practice, and the daily discipline – that seemed obvious to me before I started. I didn’t expect that writing fiction would lead me into deeper reframes about life, work, and human nature.

I’m glad I took the plunge and gave myself permission to explore this. I use the word “permission” because I previously had some limiting frames about fiction writing. I often looked upon it as being a less worthy pursuit than writing nonfiction, like fiction is just optional play writing but not particularly important or serious. That framing caused me to delay this goal for many years. I regarded the goal of writing a novel as a side excursion into fantasy, like getting lost in an immersive video game for a while.

After just a few weeks, my attitude has shifted a lot. I now see that there’s something precious and worthwhile to be discovered in the world of fiction. I’m feeling more inspired and enthralled by this project as I go along. I think there’s more gold here than I realized, like a different way of connecting with beauty.