NaNoWriMo 2016 Day 16. I’m Hitting A Wall, Thank You.

This time it’s a really big wall.

I’m having complete plot breakdown. I have no idea where my story is going or even needs to go. I’m doubting the entire story, the characters. Even my original story idea.

After much agonizing, I decided I needed to step away and do something else.

Long story short, I found myself at Coursera, signing up for a class. Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects.

Coursera offers classes on all kinds of subject and most of them are offered for free. You can pay extra if you’d like to earn a certificate. I’m taking the class for free. I don’t know if I can change my mind at any time during the course to upgrade and receive the certificate.

So far, during week one, I’m learning my idea for only sitting for 40 minutes at a time, is a pretty good one. Dr. Barbara Oakley explains in one of the videos, using the Pomodoro method of concentrating on a subject for just 20 minutes at a time helps the brain do its job of figuring things out better than trying to spend hours at a time on one subject.

It’s also important to think about a problem before going to sleep. Doing so gives the ‘defused’ part of our minds to figure the problem out while we sleep.

I like this part of the lesson. Especially since I’ve hit this wall!

Why (I think) I Hit The Wall.

I took my story off into a different direction from my original outline. I’ve added characters and side stories and all sorts of things to an outline that seemed perfect. As I went along, some scenes started taking on a life of their own and went with it. I let go of the rigid outline and just let the words flow. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard an expert or two say that just letting the story flow is a good thing. (Or am I imagining this?)

But what happens now that I’ve got over 50,000 words but no true plot or storyline? I have some decent scenes, some good chunks of dialogue and a little narrative here and there. But no direction, no reason for telling the tale.

First, I will have to keep writing. Go back to my original outline and keep filling in those blanks.

Those blanks will have to define the conflict, the reason for the story.

As I read over some of what I already have, I know I have a story in there. It’s just going to take time. And, it’s going to take a commitment from me to keep writing it.

That’s what NaNoWriMo is for – to challenge the writer to write the story. To get the words down now, this month, not later.

So I will keep writing and I will keep up with this four-week Coursera program. I’ll break my sessions down by half and sit here, focused on one subject for 20 minutes instead of 40 and see how I do. Not being able to flow for 40 minutes at a time might make it harder to keep a story line going. Maybe I’ll stick to 40 for writing and 20 for class time?

I have to let go of the fear holding me back (can I really do this?). I must believe in myself enough to finish this 30-day challenge.

I must get through the wall.

What about you? How are you getting through your wall?

An Experiment

I’m learning how to use Mail Chimp, another piece of the author marketing puzzle, the ones the experts lay out and show you how to put together. If you subscribe using this link here, you *should* receive updates to my NaNoWriMo 2016 Writers Journey blog. I plan to share my experience as I write, edit and navigate the publishing worlds, self and traditional, until my story is finished and in the hands of readers.

Thank you for your support.

Nanci Arvizu, Writing and Reviews Editor

Write Publish Promote at Cowgirlheart Media
Write, Publish, Promote. Words I am learning to live by. Want this to be your motto too? Join me and together we'll navigate the path to publishing success.

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Write, Publish, Promote. Words I am learning to live by. Want this to be your motto too? Join me and together we’ll navigate the path to publishing success.

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