Eek! It’s NaNoWriMo time again! National Novel Writing Month. Often known as NaNo by writers.
I wasn’t going to do NaNoWriMo this year. I’ve been struggling with pneumonia for the last seven weeks. I’m recovering after two rounds of antibiotics and at this point it is still a question of whether it will come back when I finish this last round. I’m exhausted most of the time and feel more like lying about on the couch than sitting my bum in the chair and writing.
BUT it is NaNoWriMo, one of the months I am forced to be most productive. The goal is to write 50,000 words in November. That’s 1667 words a day, every day in November. It’s not impossible; my goal is usually 2000-2500 words a day. I normally average 2000, but there are those days that getting more than 500 words from my brain to the computer is difficult.
Why the powers-that-be at NaNo decided on November, with Thanksgiving right at the end, I’m not sure. But there we are, writing frantically and suddenly along comes Turkey day. Try writing through a food coma! Some of us are okay, and already ahead of the curve, or have completed the 50K and are just cruising along. Most, like me, are struggling to finish up. And we only have four days left to get our last words in! Panic, panic!
What takes the pressure off is that whether or not you actually finish the 50K words and “win”, you are ahead because you have written. It really is about writing, getting words into your story. They might not be the very best words you’ve ever written, but that’s what the rewriting process is for. The goal of NaNo is to write: 30,000 40,000, 50,000 or 100,000 words. As my son says, “It’s all good.” I have done two NaNos before this. I wrote 45,000 words the first year and 67,000 the second year. I’ve skipped a couple of years because of circumstances, but cheered on my friends who did it.
And now, I have been talked into NaNoWriMo for another year. I both love it and hate it. I love the writing, hate the pressure, love the word goal, dread the days my brain goes mush and not even three pots of coffee help. The discipline of sitting and writing every day is good, even when I’d rather go for a long walk on the beach and watch the seals play in the waves.
One of the best ways to complete Nano is to have goals of your own, and to be well prepared. I am not. My goals this week are to get organized. I need a plan if I’m to do this well and not spin about in circles. I’ve had an experimental novel going for a number of years, a pirate spoof called Avast. It is at the halfway point and I moved too many times in the last three years to get it finished. A month ago, a boy of twelve asked to read it. He devoured it in two days He is now waiting for my next chapters and bugging me to get the book done. So for Johnson, I am going to work on what has turned into a Middle Grade Adventure novel. It will take about another 50,000 words to finish up the story. I am anticipating about ten more chapters.
I’ll let you all know how I do and any lessons I learn from NaNoWriMo this year. I always learn something — about myself, my characters, and writing. This is never a bad thing.
Are you doing NaNoWriMo and what do you do to stay disciplined in your writing? I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line. For anyone doing NaNo, I wish you the best of luck.