NaNoWriMo: Day 3

So here I am, at the end of day 3.

I’m managing a decent number of words a day and if I keep going at this pace, which I expect I can, I should be able to actually write 50,000 words by the end of the month.

Just saying that, I feel some relief. Who would have thought? That many words on one topic for a month. It really is taking the writing exercise concept to a whole new level. In fact, I have it all mapped out and I can see actually going over 50,000 words, though perhaps not in 30 days.

But I’ve started feeling a bit stuck. The trouble is, it’s not really a story. In each chapter I do have a theme and a subject but in the end it just seems it will be a straight recounting of my 5 years in Ireland. No climax no resolution no denouement. I guess that is the definition of memoirs but as I read the various books on my night table (when I’m not writing), I can’t help but think I’d really like to be putting all this effort into something that actually is engaging, has a plot and draws the reader in.

In other words, a story.

So far, the only real character is me, name changed to protect, well I’m not sure who. And the chapters reel off, describing the towns I saw, the house I lived in, climbing mountains, starting work. But there isn’t anything deeper, anything more to it.

Perhaps it will come in time. I’ve so far been treating this as an exercise, a dare almost, to see if I can do it. I sit down each day and just write, without editing, slowly dropping myself back into the moment. But as it becomes apparent that I can do this, I find myself wanting to make it more than a description of what I did and, occasionally, how I felt about it.

Maybe there wasn’t more to my time in Ireland, maybe there wasn’t even a point to it, maybe it just was. But as a 50,000 word novel, I’m afraid there needs to be a bit more of something. And so far, that something is lacking.

I’m searching for the linking thread, the engaging action, that quality that makes the words on the page a story – maybe even something that can eventually become a good story.

Is this normal? Not the doubt, I know that is, but in the writing of memoirs, is this a common issue? The ability to make daily life something that others can identify with and want to read more of?

Can you think of anything similar that you have read? Did it draw you in?

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16 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo: Day 3

  1. I haven’t read any memoirs and I’ve only read a couple of autobiographies in my time. But I have the impression that this must be something that is common. I mean, how many people know that they have a life that someone else would want to read about? I have a feeling that Anne Frank didn’t know that the entire world would one day want to read her diary, for instance. My suggestion would be to keep doing what you are doing. When you are done with NaNoWriMo, you can always go back and tweak it if you still want to. But, I must say that, personally, I think I would love to read about your time in Ireland. Being Irish, myself, I would be very interested in reading it.

  2. Signed up for NaNoBloMo myself but still have to get into the specifics of it (still waiting on email back from them after having subscribed on Saturday, unless there will be no email?)

    Love your post! Like you say, you do know how to write and how to draw an audience. If the towns, house, climbing mountains in Ireland doesn’t seem like much of a story just yet, keep trying to engage it. Readers love stuff about Ireland, no matter how trivial it might seem and if you’re still stuck, keep writing anyway. I experienced from my own blog that writing takes time, several downfalls and pickups and even more courage. Be patient, and it’ll come šŸ™‚

    • Thank you! Your encouragement I helpful.
      I’m not sure about whether you’ll hear back from WordPress about NaNoBloMo. I thought you just tag everything you write for it with the acronym and maybe link to the WP daily prompts as usual?

  3. Isn’t overall plot of a memoir the persons life?
    What they lived and saw was the story…the characters the people they met along the way.

    Keep writing, this isn’t a finished draft or blog post. It is a story that want tell…let your excitement shine through as it did when you were there and the ordinary things wete novel and interesting…like flowers in January.

    • Thank you šŸ™‚ maybe you should write it. Or be my consultant. I guess I did start taking parts of it for granted – I’d forgotten about things like that. Anyway, I had wanted to talk to you – thought you’d have some good advice.

  4. Some times it’s the process of getting things down and on paper.
    I think it also depends on your intention?
    Do you want this to be a memoir? Or are you documenting this period of your life, as “simple and ordinary” as it may seem to you? Because I think there is a difference. Perhaps the act of re-visiting and writing about your time in Ireland is the foundation from which you will eventually pick a certain “time, happening, memory” and then develop a fictional/non-ficitional/pseudo fictional story and go from there. Plot development can take time.

    Just keep writing, it’s a draft process, and eventually you will find what it is that speaks to you – and then through you – whatever it will turn out to be.

    • Thank you Pat! Wise words as usual šŸ™‚
      I have been cheered by all the comments I’ve received today, by their consistency in message, and have spent the day happily continuing along – 1609 words to date – re-reading everyone’s messages when I start feeling the doubt creeping back up again.
      It is so wonderful to have such a supportive community!

  5. “Perhaps it will come in time.” I know I am not responding to your direct question, but I want to say this: Of course it will come in time! Isn’t that why we write? I don’t feel there is any way you can live in Ireland, or anywhere for that matter, and not have something important come from it. Five years of life. Keep writing. It’ll come to you.

    • Thank you! That helps. I certainly have lots to say it’s just somewhat disjointed, but maybe you’re right, maybe it will come as I keep going. It is only the beginning after all. I’d love to find at some point that there is some hidden meaning or lesson or message to it all.

  6. I cant say that I have written or read any memoirs for comparison, but I would have to agree with some of the other commenters that it sounds like it would be a common problem to feel like theres no “plot” so to speak. Instead of focusing on what you might think is lacking so early in the project, just keep exercising those writing skills since that seems to be the purpose of the project šŸ™‚ As with people who try to increase their workload too quickly soon after beginning an exercise regimen, so too do writers add to their workload and then end up hitting a wall after overloading themselves or psyche themselves out with all they think they need to accomplish. Just keep working at it, I think you’re off to a good start šŸ™‚

    • Thank you! You’re quite right. I think it’s hard, too, to try not to worry about all the days stretching ahead. It’s important to just write in the moment, for that day, and not worry about the whole story that needs to be told, or about all those days that I need to write. One step at a time! It really teaches you so many things. Great experience for sure!

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