Tuesday, September 16, 2008
NaNoWriMo I say. That's National Novel Writing Month and it begins November 1st. The point of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 in a month--a mere 30 days.
Why am I telling you now? So you can plan. So you can figure out what you want to write, and how you're going to carve out time to do it.
Why would you want to do that? It's an awesome process. I did it last year and ended the month with 50004 words, just 4 little words pushed me over the threshold. Since then I've deleted those 4 words and added another 8000. So see my point. In one month I wrote 50004 words. In the last 10 1/2 months, I've only written 80000. Actually I've probably written more than that, because while I was writing the 50,000 I completely tuned out my internal editor. I shoved her in a desk drawer and threw in chocolate periodically to shut her up.
But I digress...
What did I learn from NaNoWriMo? Several things.
1. I'm a linear writer. So it's best for me to go from start to finish and not skip around writing scenes as they come to me. It boggles my mind too much to have to go back and try and weave stuff in.
2. I write better from an outline. My first attempt was a sheer pantser (by the seat of my pants.) And while I like the story, I wish I had created an outline to keep me on track.
3. While I'll write from an outline next time, I won't be so rigid as to have to stick to it, if my characters want to veer off in another direction.
4. I learned that characters do veer off. One of my minor characters in this novel refused to be minor, so she's come out of the background and will be a major player in my next novel.
5. I need a strict writing schedule with scheduled down time. I abolished all extra-curricular Internet activities until I reached my writing goal for the day. Once I did that, I'd check email, chat with friends and surf.
6. I used a timer and forced myself to write in one hour intervals. After an hour, I got up and stretched, got a drink and made wee wee. I know you're supposed to get up more often than that, but I have a short attention span and it takes me a while to get back to work. So one hour was my interval with a ten minute break.
7. I allowed myself days off. I know it caused my daily writing schedule to increase, but I'm not eating turkey at my computer and I refuse to give up my day after Thanksgiving shopping madness.
8. Writing is easer than editing.
9. Yes, you can actually take showers. You don't have to be a slob to make the goal.
10. It doesn't count if you write - I can't think of anything to write. I can't think of anything to write. I can't think of anything to write.
Will I do it again this year? Heck yeah. October 1st, I start my outline. And yes, you can have an outline, but DO NOT WRITE one word on the novel until November 1st. That's a big no-no.
Is there a prize? Yes, the satisfaction of writing 50,000 words.
Is this a big deal? Just ask the NaNoWriMoer's who wrote a collective 1,187,931,929 words last November.
Here's the website. Go sign up.
Tell me, did you NaNoWriMo last year? What was your experience? Will you do it again?