Before you look back though the archives, this is actually my first post all about NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. Each November, thousands upon thousands of people from around the world participate in this event, all in hopes of reaching 50,000 words and winning that sweet, sweet prize that is accumulating enough words to make a novel. I don’t have the statistics off-hand on how many succeed (I’m too lazy to do the research), but there have been several famous books that have been completed during past events.
So far, my experience with NaNoWriMo has been a pleasant one. I’ve reached over 3,000 words in total, mostly on the rewrite of the book I started way back in May (some on fanfiction because of course there has to be some fanfiction). It’s only the third day, but I’ve already learned so much. Like if my fingers are starting to get tired and I take a break, I shouldn’t pick up the crochet hook and yarn. Doing one hand-wearying thing only to switch to another as a ‘breather’ does not make for happy, well-rested hands.
Pacing myself hasn’t been much of an issue for this (surprisingly). I’ve participated in several sprints on Twitter (a sprint is a short, predetermined amount of time [typically between 5 and 15 minutes] where a writer writes as much as they can on their project. Usually the moderators provide prompts like a single word or song lyric. There’s no physical reward, just the satisfaction of chipping away at the 50,000 word behemoth we all decided to pledge our free time to this month). These sprints have helped me focus on smaller scenes and strings of dialogue that I normally would have glossed over until I was done with all of the exciting bits. For the most part, I’ve been able to knock out 300 words or better at a time during these sprints, which makes reaching my goal of 1,667 words a day easy.
The worst part right now is trying to shut up my inner editor. When I make a spelling mistake, bad word choice or a sentence as long as a normal paragraph, I tend to erase or scribble out the issue and rewrite it however many times it takes to get it ‘right’. But with NaNoWriMo, the goal isn’t to turn out the best possible version of your novel by the end of November, the object is to write as many words as possible in your novel before the end of the month. This is hard for me as I want to correct my mistakes. If my first draft isn’t final draft worthy, it might as well be tossed out. Thoughts like that are what kept me from participating in the past. But since I’ve been fighting back my Fear monster, it’s become a tiny bit easier to ignore. I still get the urge to fix and make pretty, but with the clock ticking down from minutes to seconds during the sprints, I can’t spare a moment as each second spent in editing is a second not spent getting out all the words.
By the end of November, I’ll hope to have a novel. Will it be complete or perfect? Hell no! But it’ll be written, and that’s a magnificent accomplishment in and of itself. I plan to spend the better part of December editing and re-editing and rewriting it, but rest assured that I’ll still be here to give you the latest scoop on my mental well-being, current art projects and book progress.