What Nanowrimo Taught Me…

improve-my-writing-skills-first-drafts-are-crap

Note: The first part of this was originally written in October 2014, before I started my first Nanowrimo:

I am afraid but I have purpose.
Like hundreds of thousands around the world, on November 1, I am going to start the attempt to write 50,000 words of a novel.
It’s a big deal for me, especially since I tend not to write a lot every day.
However, and this is what drives me; the winners get two copies of their book printed in paperback for free.
So, the deal is basically, if I complete the 50k mark for my book, then revise it, in a year I will be holding a copy of my book.

The only thing holding me back is the actual writing.
Fifty thousand words in and of itself is a daunting task.

Any writer will tell you that it’s a big chunk of writing.

To try to do it within a month is even more daunting.

Yet, it gets done all the time; thousands complete the challenge every year.
Many working writers, such as Stephen King, regularly set 2,000 words a day as a reasonable daily goal.

Many amateur writers do it as well.
Some Writers even complete the Nan0 Century, which is 100,000 words in a month or 3,334 words a day.
Looking at that number makes 1,700 words a day seem easy.

Like most things, it’s attacking it day by day that will make it happen.
The thing is that we need to get up, get at it and see how it takes to get 1700 words out.
Given what I’ve read, at a steady pace, 1700 words takes about 2 and a halfr hours to write.
The way I want to split it is one and a half hours in the morning and an hour at night.
Anything else is, as they say, gravy.
However, the hour and a half in the morning doesn’t come cheap. Prime writing time is from five-thirty to seven, when the rest of the house wakes.
All we need to do is make it work.
And to make it work, we need to sacrifice everything past 9 that is unessential.
Cut away the fluff and reap the rewards of getting up early and getting writing.

 

(This part was written in December, after finishing (and winning, thank you very much) the Nano:)

What I learned:

 

– There is magic in doing.
The way I was able to finish was to start and keep going. I had days and times where I didn’t feel like writing, but just made myself keep typing and I think this taught me a lot about the process of writing and being a writer.
– If you just keep writing, eventually you’ll get to the stuff you like.
– very little is as bad as you remember it.
– It all works itself out in the revisions.
– It’s a process as well as a mindset.
– Setting time limits leads to better productivity than ‘just writing’.

The best way to get past an Internal Editor is just to write as fast as possible, going forward and not stopping to correct errors or second thoughts or whatever. By doing this, we get words on paper which is the entire point of writing: to have something written.

 

As well, by writing quickly, we often lose track of what we think we should be writing and the story starts to come out of us on its own accord.

Characters start talking the way they think they should, often taking on a life of their own and becoming more fleshed out in the process.

There can be a seeming throwaway phrase that solves a question of character motivation or plot-knot.

Often, a character will surprise me by saying something that I was not planning to have them says, taking the story in a different direction.

Is this sometimes frustrating?

Yes, it can be, especially when you think that you see the home-stretch of the story starting to appear in the distance and then your character reveals something that is interesting to explore, but means that your ending might not be so close after all (or might not be the ending at all)

 

 

 

 

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