Tuesday, November 15, 2011

WIP-itis, Part Deux and Personal Best

Sometimes you’re words come back to haunt you.

So I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I participated in 2007-2009 and took 2010 off. I plotted my novel last month and started writing first thing in the morning on November 1st. But by the 10th, my drive had fizzled. The story wasn’t interesting to me, and knew that was a big problem. If my novel doesn’t interest me, then I know it won’t interest anyone else.

I knew the story was dragging, but I didn’t want to give up on it. I’d put a month’s worth of research into this thing. My heart, however, wasn’t in it. There were days were I didn’t write at all. My novel was the Titanic and going down.

Then something happened. I got an idea just as I was falling asleep one night. It was just a flash of a scene. It was not an idea to fix my current novel, but a fresh new idea. Now, every writer knows that new ideas will come while you’re working on your current WIP, but you’re supposed to take notes on it and finish the one you’re working on.

But I couldn’t. I couldn’t let the new idea go. And each day, more and more of the pieces fell into place. The lead character was so intriguing and funny to me that I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I still wasn’t willing to start all over.

Then one day I was talking to my friend Linda about my dilemma. Linda is my ideal “audience” and has been reading and editing my work for years. She is the exact target demographic for my writing. I told her about the new story idea and lamented that I didn’t love the one I was working. I told her that I didn’t know what to do.
She said, “I think you already have your answer. WIP-itis.”

Talk about a sucker punch.

You see my “target audience” Linda reads my blog. And she read my previous blog post about the cure for WIP-itis in my knitting. The cure is to love the project I’m working on. She used my words against me…but that so like Linda. So I chucked the previous novel and started over. Well, not completely over. I used the same setting and time period as the previous one, so at least all my research wasn’t a waste.

I started over. I spent several hours pouring out the scenes that already filled my head. And guess what? I hit a personal best record for number of words in one day. I wrote 10,364 words! I could have written more by my shoulder and thumb started to ache and I had to quit.

So I can testify that the cure to WIP-itis is love. I love the new storyline and hope to put down another 5,000 words today (I got them in my head. I just have to write them down). And it doesn’t even matter if anybody else ever reads this story. I am enjoying writing it.

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