I am NOT doing Camp NaNoWriMo. There. I said it. Not doing it. It does mean I have all this free April-time though.
What I’ve learned is that I now have time to go back and revisit some of the stuff I haven’t finished.
One of the most prominent pieces I haven’t finished is my fantasy book. It began with an idea for what will become the middle novel and I started it as part of April’s nanowrimo last year and just “never found the time” to finish the first draft. (By never found the time I mean I have procrastinated about it for far too long then lost enthusiasm, then never really recovered properly.)
So now I’m using the time I have this month to get back into writing about Edward and the dragons. Here are my top five tips for coming back to a project you haven’t touched for a while:
1) Don’t be afraid to read what you’ve written before.
I think there is a lot of apprehension in reading a part-written ms you haven’t touched for a long time. You might even be at the self-confidence crisis phase and that’s why you put it down in the first place. The key is to start again. Take a deep breath and pick it up and read it. Don’t edit it, don’t be critical, just read it. Remember the ideas you had and how they filled you with joy when you first had them, remember where you were going with things.
2) take notes.
While you’re reading, jot down some reminders. Those little ends you left on purpose, writing them down. Moments that make you think “WOW, I wrote this amazing wonder?” Write those down too, you’ll need this to remind you that when you relax, everything becomes roses and you do have a talent for this.
Don’t be afraid to let your mind wonder back to the time when you were writing the novel. Reminisce, capture those feelings, put on some music, a smell, make sure you sit in the same place. Anything to get you in the right mindset to write this novel.
4) Write it.
Sit at the computer, or with your chosen method and start writing. So what if the first 1000 words are forced rubbish? It’s 100 words closer to the end. It’s edging nearer to that all illusive (in some cases) The End.
5) Avoid procrastination.
Do what you have to do to stop giving yourself excuses not to write the damn thing. There is a complete book there somewhere, you just have to get past this bit, this second of self-doubt, this bit you don’t know how to write and get there. If you’re stuck on a scene, drop it and write something else, even if you left it mid-sentence
THE FIRST DRAFT IS ALWAYS SHIT.
You shouldn’t be afraid of the power of writing the shit.