It’s true. Experience is invaluable, and never has that been more true for me than right now. I’m currently deep into an adventure that goes far beyond NaNo. Over the last seven years I’ve learned how much I was capable of accomplishing and what I had to do to succeed. Thus, I knew that attempting to draft the last two novels in Riparia’s series before the end of the year would require a lot of effort, but that it was possible.
It was time to end the series begun in 2015, one that had sprung from the seeds of much older ideas. Over the years, I’ve overhauled the original vision, learned a lot about writing, and learned even more about myself. I’d stalled after Bk3 in the five-book series, but when that haze cleared it did so with a clear vision of how the series would end. Too, when Bk4 became clear in my mind so did Bk5.
Thus, the idea to just do it, to end the series by writing both books back to back. Given that I write fantasy that was a lot of words. Based on past history, though, I knew that it was theoretically possible.
So, here I am in a land where everything is magnified. My goal. The effort required. The strain on my body. The psychological drain. All of it.
I’d made the decision to do this early in the year so I was collecting notes on the side while editing deep into the summer. October was my preview of what awaited me. It’s normally a casual month spent planning the novel I’m to write in November. Instead, planning two books became a marathon. I made it with a few days to spare in the month, but it was a warning. Don’t underestimate the task at hand.
I’d also prepared for the month as well as I could. I’d stuffed my freezer full of pre-prepared meals and a couple of healthy, frozen pizzas. Too, the end of October was a scramble to clear away as many tasks and obligations as I could.
Out of the gate in November I employed every method at my disposal for success. I broke my writing time up into 3-4 blocks throughout the day, reminding myself to be flexible. I’ve kept up with walking, yoga, and meditation. Last year, in a huge mistake, I’d stopped walking.
As for writing, I’ve been on the lookout for signs that I’m obsessing over the draft, which slows me down. There’ve been a lot of instances where I had to slap myself where that was concerned. I’ve also made several major changes to chapters on the fly, realizing what was planned didn’t work. That’s okay.
The result is that, to this point, I’ve averaged over 7K/day. It’s a pace that, I’m relatively certain, is above what’s needed. The idea is that you never know what might happen later. Too, there’s a major holiday coming up next week that will slow me down. In a sense, I’m aiming for mid December. If I miss it’ll be okay.
To look at it another way, I’ve thus far written well over 100K words and am on the brink of finishing Bk4, Aramon Daughters.
As I noted earlier, though, just as the challenge is magnified, so is the toll. By the end of each day I can feel the physical strain, but because of walking and yoga I’m okay by the next morning. Too, as I’ve talked about in recent posts, Bk4 represents the 3rd Plot Point in the series, which makes the tone more gloomy than the other novels. That which would be a crushing blow to me I’m doing to my protagonist. That’s made meditation and positive self-talk critical.
Yes, I’m prepared because of past experience, yet I’m still learning more about myself. I’ve had to step up my positive self-talk, reminding myself of my purpose, of how far I’ve come, and of the achievement I’m about to make real. There’ve been cleansing tears, both because of the story and weariness, but I’ve viewed them as healthy and then gift myself ME time.
This is happening, I’m finishing the series. I can still remember writing my first ever novel and here I am having written many and about to complete a series. Gratitude in such moments doesn’t begin to cover how much that lifts my heart to new heights. That’s when I’m inspired to return to the keyboard yet again.