One of the most difficult parts of writing is maintaining the momentum that carries your writing forward. For many of us, getting stuck is all part of the process. But when you get stuck, it can be impossible to get un-stuck. Setting daily writing goals is a great way to inspire you to keep your momentum, assuming you stick to your goals.
No, this is not a failure story. Today I completed Day 5 of Camp NaNo, and so far I’ve been sticking to my daily writing goals. I set my word count low for the month, since I’m working on a screenplay, and so far I’ve consistently exceeded my goals for each day.
What’s been allowing me to keep pace with the demands of Camp NaNo is the depth of my interest in and passion for my subject. Since I had done a significant amount of work on this project before camp started (researching, outlining, planning, and writing some initial drafts that all have to be rewritten now), I went in with a pretty solid foundation and a clear understanding of what needed to be done.
Usually when I get stuck in a novel project, it’s because I’ve noticed a major flaw in my plan that I can’t work around, I’ve lost interest in my subject or main character, or I don’t know how to transition to the next plot point. I’m not having these issues here for a couple of reasons. 1) I’m so deeply invested in the world of Dragon Age and my adaptation of it that I’m not likely to lose interest. 2) The game has already given me the majority of the content I need for plot, character and story points, I just need to re-stage and re-present it in a way that works best for my version, allowing me to focus my strategic thinking and planning in directions that will make the writing process easier for me rather than make me hate everything I’ve ever written. 3) Screenplays rely on concision, allowing plot points to fall into quicker succession, with far less filler than a novel may have.
I wouldn’t say that writing an adapted screenplay is easier than writing a novel. In fact, a lot of sources say that adaptations are the worst thing for a screenwriter to start with, and I’m sure they’re right. But they are an interesting exercise, as they test the writer’s ability to reinterpret a preexisting work while maintaining a balance of originality and integrity. They also represent a great opportunity to immerse yourself in a particular world, fandom, or franchise that you love. And if you’re anything like me, it’s a lot easier to keep up the momentum doing something you love than to force yourself to continue something you hate.