NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, will end tomorrow at midnight. While many are having celebratory posts about winning with the awesome word count of 50,000, I am not celebrating in that way. I am celebrating the fact that, with the exception of two days, I wrote every day. It may have only been 200 words, but I sat down and wrote. That’s huge for me, and that’s worth celebrating.
As of today, I have written 30,012 words. That’s about 1000 words a day, which is what Mary Connealy aims for daily. I’m in great company, aren’t I? But more than that, I have learned a few things during this NaNoWriMo month.
- November is the worst month for literary abandon. Seriously, whoever decided that NaNoWriMo should be during the month of Thanksgiving was crazy. Between baking, family time, and napping, it really dipped into my writing time.
- I write best in the mornings. While this is a good thing to find out, it’s also a bad thing. It’s good to know that I am clear headed in the mornings and the word count grows exponentially, but it’s bad in that I have to get up at 4:30 a.m. in order to write for an hour and get a quiet time with the Lord. (I work full time and have to be at work at 7:15 a.m.) Now that in itself is not too bad, but the problem comes when I get home and am like a zombie, trying to put food on the table and do laundry while wearing some heavy duty Cranky Pants. Trying to be creative is almost impossible.
- I need a detailed outline in order to write fast. I had worked on my plot for my NaNo story and had the major Acts and the basic goals and conflicts ready. But I floundered when it came to fleshing it out on a day to day basis. I had to spend time to think of upcoming scenes in order for my fingers to fly over the keyboard and get them on the screen.
- I have a very loud internal editor. Very loud. I could be writing away, happy to be getting the words down, when all of a sudden a loud, snarky voice told me it was all drivel. I had plot holes. I had missing characters. I had no setting description. I had -ly adverbs. Blah, blah, blah… I tried using ear muffs…not helpful.
- I am too old to stay up late and write. I used to stay up late, well past midnight, lost in another world between the pages of a great book. But no more. I conk out before 11 p.m. every night. Actually, 10:30 p.m. is doing good these days. No, if I’m going to write, it’s gotta be before 10 p.m. (and my writing is not as good as my morning writing.)
- NaNo is a great tool to get you back in a writing routine. There’s nothing like accountability to keep you on track, and there’s nothing like doing something for 30 days to get you in a good routine.