A friend told me today that he is thinking about doing NaNoWriMo. He asked if I had any advice. I would like to share this advice with you too, dear reader, dear writer.
Don’t do it for any reason other than to write and have fun doing it. Don’t do it for anyone else or because you feel like you ‘have’ to. It has to be the marriage of challenge and joy.
Prepare, but don’t prepare too much. The devil is in the details, and analysis paralysis will be your enemy. Think over the next week the type of book you want to write, the type of characters you want to give birth to. If you can create a book jacket summary of the overall arc, cool. If not, also cool.
Small chunks of writing will work better than marathon writing. Squeeze it into your schedule. If you don’t already love to write for five hours, you aren’t going to start now.
Don’t give up. Don’t get to the 20th and go, “I only have x words, there’s no way I’m going to get to 50k, I’m done.” Fight to the end. See what happens. Miracles have happened in mere hours.
Just by wanting to do it, you are ahead of the millions of people who say “someday I’ll…” Celebrate that, but just not too much.
If you want to share your creature as it awakens, do it. But tell people to hand over the roses and leave the thorns until 12/1. Because you will want to edit. Every writer does. You will hear yourself say, “Oh wait, this should be this” or “that should have not happened.” Leave the casualties and save yourself.
You can do it. I believe in you.
Wow. I have been away. I’m sorry. I was busy getting a year older. But now I’m into the first day of being a thirty-something, and I have news:
This year, I am doing NaNoWriMo.
For those of you who think I may have just had a seizure, November is National Novel Writing Month, in which writers from all around the world will write 50,000 words, which is the equivalent of the Great Gatsby. All while trying not to be “that relative” who hides in the closet on Thanksgiving.
I’ve accomplished this feat before, but I believe I did it a March a while back (while back = years ago now). It’s not easy, y’all. But here are a few reasons why you should get in on this sweet word-crunching action:
- Focus: I have been all over the place the past year, what with buying a house, changing jobs, all kinds of stuff. My writing has, as a result, also been a bit all over the place. By taking this month out, I am going to really focus in on getting the rough draft of my next novel done, and I think that’s a good thing.
- Blood-pumping: I tried skiing once, and I somehow managed to point myself straight down a mountain. As I realized there was no slowing down, I leaned into it. It was one of the most terrifying, exhilarating experiences of my life. NaNo is kind of like that. Suddenly you’re all, “Gottawritegottawritegottawrite ohgodohgodohgod!”
- Drop and give me 2000!: NaNo is a great test of discipline. It means putting your head down, getting your hands on your keyboard and going the distance. CUE THE OBLIGATORY CAKE SONG. It’s, like, the novel-writers marathon.
- Love and community: You are absolutely not alone, no matter how much it may feel like it when you’re actually writing. This has become a huge movement, and you need only search on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook or any other pick-your-poison social media site and you’ll immediately get to see other people who are as crazy as you!
- Fun fun fun fun fun: Go back and read that in your best Tigger voice. Reach deep in your meaty chest and grab your passion and do-si-do. Write naked. Write with coffee. Write without sleeping. You can do anything! And it’s a lot of fun. It really, really is.
Are you trying NaNoWriMo? I’d love to hear about it! I’ll be blogging about my experience throughout November. Stay tuned as I try to get as much prep work done as possible between now and Halloween.