Unscripted Reflection: Conquering A Past Failure

[Video + 3-Minute Read]Thanks to a carefully crafted plan, I finally completed a project that had been weighing on me since 2019.

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Unscripted Reflection: Conquering A Past Failure

Thanks to a carefully crafted plan, I finally completed a project that had been weighing on me since 2019.

VIDEO: Recording of my unscripted reflection after completing NaNoWriMo 2023.

I finished NaNoWriMo yesterday.

It was amazing to get to the 50,000 words and within a stone’s throw of the end of the book and get that draft sorted.

You may have read in the previous post that I started writing the first draft of the book back in 2018-19.

I put that little project to an end at about 22,000 words in May 2019.

I just threw it away. I got so sick of writing it.

I struggled to find the story that I wanted to tell.

And the writing was just a big mess.

I think I had way too many expectations on what that whole first draft process would be like.

It’s just naivety.

But this time, I’ve actually managed to get all those words down and and get the storyline there.

The rules and the game plan I set for myself worked an absolute treat.

My mindset was excellent the whole way through.

At a couple of points, I didn’t know where I was going to head with the story, but I found my way back on track quickly because I didn’t overthink it.

I just kept remembering the purpose.

Having a very clear purpose for the piece of work is really important.

(Watch out for my next story, where I explore this in-depth.)

My purpose was to get a first draft done, a rough draft.

Didn’t matter what it looked like.

As I say, it’s like throwing the glob of clay onto the potter’s wheel.

I was there to do that, and that’s what I achieved.

I found a rhythm to writing, which is, again, is another interesting lesson to take on to other projects.

I’d be writing away, quite enthusiastic about whatever the thread of an idea was and then the energy would just drop.

I’d fall very out of love with what I was writing about, and my energy would just go.

Instead of trying to fight through that, I’d look at the word count.

If I was at my target for the day, I’d put my pen down (or keyboard) for that day.

But if I had to keep writing to get to my target for that day,

I’d go and do something for five or 10 minutes and give my brain an opportunity to hit the reset button.

And then I would sit and wait for a moment, see what popped up, and something would pop up.

It’d be a completely different angle.


I’d get curious about a particular statement I’d made in the previous section.

I’d pick that up and then. I’d go in-depth on that.

And it just kept flowing and flowing.

I was excited to see what did flow out of it all.

It was surprising; stuff I’d forgotten.

And that’s the thing.

We hold a lot of stuff in our conscious mind or our subconscious.

If you ask somebody the story of something, that’s stuff that keeps coming up.

When it comes to the story I cover in “Dare To Be Your Boldest,” which is a period of my life in 2017, I’ve told it countless times.

But what’s in the book is the stuff below that; stuff that I hadn’t thought about being connected to that moment.

A friend asked me if the writing process was cathartic.

I don’t know if that’s the word I’d use.

It wasn’t like I had demons that I needed to face through the writing or bits that I had to get off my chest.

It was a joyful process.

It was delightful to make connections between things.

I finished each day feeling happy and I felt very relaxed.

And so that’s a good thing.

I don’t know if I’d describe that as cathartic.

So what’s the next steps with the book?

Set it aside again now for quite a period.

I think about it like it’s a glob of clay that’s on the potter’s wheel,

I now need to give it some shape and decide what sort of plot I will ultimately write.

  • Where does it fit in terms of genre?
  • What are the formulas of that genre?
  • What’s the synopsis?
  • What is the chapter structure?

All those sorts of things.

Then, I need to go through and do the second draft, which will be less about word count and more about quality.

Discover more about your bold mind every Monday

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