my first waltz with National Novel Writing Month. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days was exhilarating. What happened to the novel you wrote last year, you ask? Is it on the best-seller list? Ahem....no. It actually was not very good. I can barely bring myself to look at it, in all honesty, though I hope a few good short stories may come out of it.
So what's the point in doing it again, if it wasn't so successful the first time? Lots of things!
- NaNo last year built my confidence. It was the first time in my life I actually felt like a writer, like I could push myself to do something most other people hadn't.
- My creativity soared and took me places I never would have thought I would go. (Some of the story turned out really strange, actually, but I kind of like that. I don't want anyone else to see it! But it was interesting to watch my subconscious take over.)
- I learned so much about how to motivate myself, power through even when I'm not inspired, and write what Anne Lamott calls a "shitty first draft."
- "First get it written, then get it right," they say. And I needed so much to learn those things. That it was ok for me to write something that wasn't perfect (wasn't even good, really), because it was important to get the story down first, and add all those things that make a story great later.
- My writing buddy, Memzie, and I bonded over NaNo last year. We met together at least once a week, commiserated over the enormity of the task and encouraged each other. We texted our word counts back and forth, and had races to see who could write the most in a short about of time. That month set off a weekly meeting for the rest of the year, where we talk about our lives and about writing. And we feel like real writers. We discuss what we are reading and learning, how we stay motivated, and share quotes. It is wonderful. I don't think I would be a writer if it weren't for her.
Like I said, I'm terribly sentimental.
All that to say, it's here! It's November, and it's time to do it again!! I am unbelievably excited. I have made a few modifications to the contest to fit my own needs. The rules state that you have to begin to write something new, and you have to write 50,000 words. There are lots of things happening right now that make me feel that 50,000 is just too many words at the moment. So I'm going to ride the momentum of NaNo, but do it my way. First of all, I've already been working on a Young Adult manuscript and have about 20,000 words completed. I want to finish the first draft by the end of the year, so I can't set it down to start something new for a month. I am going to use it for NaNo. Also, my goal is to write 30,000 words in November instead if 50k. I think that will push me toward finishing, but hopefully still give me some time to stop for research and planning and things. Hopefully that will help this novel turn out better than my first NaNo novel.
I need your help again! I need you to cajole me, encourage me, shake your finger at me if I'm not making my word count. I need you to ask me how it's going. It's a terrible character flaw that I perform a lot better if I know someone is watching me. So check in on me please!
And have a wonderful November, in case I don't see you because I'm stuck behind a laptop all month!