Post by Jenny
Happy December to you all! Thanks for taking a break from Cyber Monday to stop by. (You don’t really need that Mythbusters box set, anyway, right?) And raise your carpal-tunnel-syndrome-ridden hand if you’re just the teeniest bit glad that November is over. If you did, I’m going to hazard a guess that you participated in NaNoWriMo.
This was my first NaNo experience, and I’m very proud to report that I finished. I don’t think I’ve written 50,000 words in one month since…ever. So, I’m pleased about that. For the most part, life cooperated and did not throw me any super-disruptive curveballs. I did break my pinkie toe, but seeing as how that is one of the least important digits for writing, I was able to press on.
I was quite surprised to realize that 1,667 words a day is not as scary as it sounds. It really is doable, even for slow writers like me whose favorite key is the back space. It probably helped that all my NaNo time was spent writing. I didn’t commune with other NaNo-ers on social media or in person. Walter the lunatic puppy was enough of a distraction.
If you’ve been reluctant to commit to NaNo because the word count seems daunting, I would encourage you to reconsider. But my biggest piece of advice is: have a plan! There are many fun projects that a writer can jump into at the last moment without much preparation, but NaNo isn’t one of them. Instead of starting with a solid foundation of research and outlines and such, I had only my Brilliant Idea. And about halfway through, I hit whatever the writer’s version of the Berlin Wall might be called. I was stuck. The writing got hard, and I wasn't having fun.
Instead of throwing in the towel, I took a radical detour, kept writing, and ended up with 50,000+ words of what is most likely two novels mashed together. It’s a big old stinky mess, but it’s a mess with potential. Kind of like my closet.
Best of all, NaNo got me writing again. It showed me that I can find the time and energy to make it a priority, and I don’t have to move to a cabin in the wilderness to do it. And for that, I am very grateful.
Do you have a NaNo lesson to share?