There’s been some controversy across writers’ blogs concerning the positive merits of NANOWRIMO. Some writers feel that to proclaim a month to write a novel is just plain silly, and it boils down to a thirty day race of word dumping and nothing of value. While others feel that the notion of getting that story down is a worthwhile incentive.
I’m a little betwixt. I was actually very much in favor when I started, excited by the prospect of getting The Wilde Solution down then revising it. Now, though, I’m whistling another tune. The last 2,000 words I managed to get down were trayf, and I fear that the next 15,000 won’t be any better. I feel as if I’m writing an even shittier first draft, without any thought or notion what my characters are doing and I’m not caring what happens to them. That’s a bad sign. A very bad sign. This might just be a case of burnout between NANO and writing for HAND/EYE it’s been non-stop, and writing anything at all–even a simple email or a Facebook update (not to mention this post) has been excruciating.
So here are the lessons learned point-by-point.
- If you have a story mulling around in your head, you don’t need NANOWRIMO as an excuse to sit down and write it. Just do it!
- Don’t give yourself a ridiculous deadline to complete a novel in a month, especially if you don’t have a clear concept of the story.
- Take the time to outline it, summarize it, or whatever works for you before you commit the time and energy to writing that first sentence.
- Pace yourself, but work on your novel daily.
- Give yourself a reasonable word limit to reach every day, but also consider research you might want to do, as well as some revising (maybe give yourself 15 minutes to make some minor changes, but don’t get so stuck on revising that you don’t move forward).
- Don’t forget to read. It’s great for relaxation and recharging your mental batteries, but you can also learn from other writers.
- The first draft will probably be crap, but you’ll also have some good stuff with salvaging.
- Write for the reader in you. What are your expectations and does your story satisfy them?
If you’ve been participating this month in NANOWRIMO, leave a comment and let me know what lessons you’ve learned.