I can’t believe it. I started November 1st with a blank page, a novel idea and a goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month. The first few days I pounded the pavement like an enthusiastic runner at the beginning of a race. By day three I was well ahead of my daily word count goal. This is a piece of cake, I thought …
And that’s precisely when NaNoWriMo started to feel more like giving birth to a hippopotamus.
After a week-ish of word-birthing agony, I found my groove. Like it or not, I pushed myself to hit my daily word count threshold. It was still tough at times, but ideas started to flow as I stepped into the story, rather than writing about it from a distance. Soon I discovered that 1,667 words a day isn’t nearly as difficult if I unleash creativity to do what it does best.
Would I do NaNoWriMo again, even if this half-finished novel never makes it to a printed page? Absolutely, and here are a few of the reasons why:
- I used to think of myself as a non-fiction writer only. Hehehe … not any more. Fiction is a trip! You can travel anywhere you want, be in a terrible mood if you want, take out your frustrations on your characters, and it doesn’t cost a thing. Who wouldn’t love that?!?!?!
- I learned how to write creatively, rather than critically (a.k.a. I told my perfectionist internal editor to shut up. And she listened for once.)
- I now understand that a first draft is supposed to be crap. The crap gives me something to do on the second and third drafts. Otherwise I’d eventually get bored.
- I learned to set some firm boundaries on email, FB, twitter and other time-suckers. This freed up both the time and emotion needed for writing (and everything else).
- I discovered I’m capable of writing a whole lot more per day than I once thought. The last day I wrote between 3,000 and 4,000 words. BEFORE 11AM!
- A few of us met each Friday to write and drink warm beverages, which taught me that friendship and accountability make the writing life both fun and productive.
November 2009 was a good month, and I’m already planning on 2010. How about you? You have 11 months to get ready … Whaddya think?