Tuesday, November 29, 2016

3 Things I Learned from NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo, #amwriting

I didn't even do real NaNoWriMo.  That's when people write 50,000 words in a month. Can you imagine? I did NaNoWriMo Lite, my own little version of the famous novel-writing challenge.

And, if I really hustle for the next two days - the last two days in November - I might make it to 20,000 words! That's a quarter of my project drafted in just a month. I've been working on the rest for 10 months, so clearly this is momentous! Celebrate!

I've learned some things along the way. Here they are:

1. Writing Begets Writing

When you're a new parent, they're always telling you - sleep begets sleep. Get that baby to sleep sometimes, and he'll sleep more times. It's an axiom we crushed in a death grip around here. And while it proved only partially true for the wackos we're raising, I really liked the premise. 

In the case of NaNo, it seems 100% true that writing some stuff makes it easier to write other stuff. 

Here's what I learned: If you've been writing every day, continuing to write every day appears the most logical, functional thing to do. It's less of a slog and more like a normal to-do list item. 

Call the dentist; then, write 800 words. Check it off.

2. Who Cares If It's Good?

I've learned this lesson so many times, but now I've learned it again. Revising is much easier than writing. So, just write something down. It doesn't matter if it sucks. 

You're going to change those paragraphs three or ten or sixteen times anyway. You'll revise them when you read them again in December. You'll revise again after your writing group weighs in. Your writing teacher will offer feedback, and you'll revise again. Later, if all goes well, an agent and then an editor will tell you what has to be fixed. And you'll revise.

You see how this goes. 

No matter what, no improvements can materialize unless the words are right there on the page. Get the story told. 

3. You Can't Do It If You Don't Try to Do It.

I've been using this as a motto since the summer. It's pretty much my motto of the year. Here's how it works: Maybe you won't end up finishing the  thing. Maybe you'll fail at it. But, for sure you can't do it if you don't give it a try. 

You can't get the job if you don't apply for it. You can't write a book if you don't try to write one.

NaNoWriMo gave me a great opportunity to just give it a shot - really focus for just a month. I'm super glad I did it. Maybe I'll do it again? Probably not next year. I'll still be revising this same project, I'm pretty sure. That's how books seem to be.

1 comment:

LH said...

I keep saying this, but I'm really in awe of you.