National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) was in November, and in celebration—or shall I say a fit of self-afflicted torture—writers from all over opted to take part in the NaNoWriMo Challenge. Within thirty days, one is to write the first draft of a novel that is at least 50,000 words in length. That’s 1667 words per day—not too hard if you have the dedication, and a great story clawing its way out from your fingertips.
Since the allure of an exciting challenge is irresistible, I accepted—despite the Negative Nancies and their naysaying on the nonsensical notion of NaNoWriMo. (Sorry. Sometimes alliterative opportunities are clawing their way out.)
They said it forces writers to write fast, and in the end, they have a pile of garbage that will take twice as long to revise. I can see how NaNoWriMo would not be beneficial for some, but for me, it worked out quite well.
I was between novels when NaNoWriMo 2016 was about to begin, so I picked the story I wanted to tell next, worked out a plot line during October, and spent November writing. And writing. And writing. I wrote every day. For the first ten days, things went smoothly, but then the insanity began to set in. The word count became harder to reach as the story became more complicated.
Some days I exceeded the word count and some days I fell short, but by Day 30—after pushing through the days when I would have preferred to throw my laptop from a bridge—I had just over 50,000 words. That is the very rough draft of a novel!
Is it exquisite writing? No. However, as a new writer, I don’t have much exquisiteness oozing out, anyway. I’ll go back during the revision to add, embellish, flesh-out, and make it all pretty-like.
It took me over a year to write my last novel, and it was a hot mess because:
1) I didn’t devote enough time to planning
2) I didn’t stick to a schedule and went weeks—even months—without writing
With this challenge, I learned the importance, and the payoff, in writing—even when I didn’t feel like it. There were days when I could barely squeeze 200 words out of these keys, and the words that appeared on the screen were about as scintillating as the instructions on a steamable bag of corn. Though those days didn’t produce experienced writing, they produced a more experienced writer. I have a lot to learn, and part of that includes getting my rear-end in a chair and working—even when there are other things that need to be done.
I did not want to update my blog today. I don’t enjoy writing a blog, but here I am doing it, because that’s what publishers and agents look for—authors that are doing the work it that it takes to be an author. So each day I’ll write something or submit something.
The NaNoWriMo challenge taught me a lot about myself and about my moxie. I have the dedication it takes, and with that dedication, talent will hopefully follow. From now on, I can’t stand by excuses for not writing. I can only hope that I have what it takes to write all year long like it’s NaNoWriMo.
I definitely feel you on the hot mess year-long novel write. My first novel took me two years just to draft.
I agree. The brilliance of NaNoWriMo is to get the pain over with quicker and to build that writing muscle. I struggled that last week and was very behind before surging to the finish. Now, I look back and see that it helped me FINISH something because I had a deadline.