Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A word or two about NaNoWriMo

Make that 50,000 words.
Two years ago I got the bright idea to write a novel. It just happened to be October 29. Six months later, the 90,000 word novel was completed, only to be pared down another 10,000 words. After spending endless hours editing Alvor, and after the contract was signed and the manuscript delivered- I needed a break.

It was late October again. I was sick of the story, but I still loved writing.

What to do?

Hmm. Brilliant idea. Write another story that has nothing to do with Alvor. How exciting! I got right on the train and went to town pounding out another story. Then the questions trickled in....

Are you doing the NaNoWriMo?

The nano-what? Really, I had no clue what NaNoWriMo was. Maybe Chinese or something.

Write 50,000 words of a novel in November. "If you believe you're writing a novel, we believe you're writing a novel." Oh.
That's a lot of words.

In one month.

I never commited to the NaNoMo. I never met anyone else who was either, but I did keep writing. By the end of December, I finished my short book. Not a 80,000 word novel, but a shorter story. Not a short story, though- I'd call it a novel in embryo.

Once I had the writing bug out of my system, I started thinking about Alvor again and wrote the second book in the series.

And now it's November again. I pulled out last year's thrown-together book and now I'm falling in love all over again. It's not NaNo. No, you have to be working on a completely new piece for it to be officially NaNoWriMo- but I'm finally getting back into the story I started and finding out how much I LOVE IT.

If you don't write, let me just tell you, there's nothing like writing something you're in love with. It also shows that you haven't spent enough time editing it or you would be loathing it instead. All guilty feelings aside- I'm still not a NaNoer. I never won the NaNo by getting 50,000 words in one month, and the weirdest part.... I don't even care. Nope. Not at all.

I guess that's because I like writing at my own speed. I especially love writing something I'm excited about. And besides, isn't an author a writer every month?

Who knows, maybe next year I'll be signing the NaNoWriMo song. You never know. I'm betting by then this piece will be 80,000 words long and I'll be looking for a new story again.
In the meantime- all you NaNoWriMoers- go go go! And what are you wasting time reading my blog for when you're supposed to be writing a novel??? Ha ha...


L.T. Elliot said...

I may be writing a novel but I'm still stalking you. I guess you just make time for what's important to you. =]

Glad to know you're in love. There's nothing better than writing something fun. It really brings you alive.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I hope to someday do this.... I have had book ideas in my head for years but time or whatever always stops me... maybe I just need to commit already! :)

Anonymous said...

I did Nano for 4 years, and went past 50K every time. it helped me develop techniques that are useful in my writing career. I also mentored for 3 of the 4 years, which was both exilherating and frustrating.

Every book has its own innate rhythm. Nano makes you get words on paper, but often pushes the innate rhythm in a counterproductive way.

I realized, during my Nano years, that I write more than 50K in any given month -- otherwise I couldn't make a living. It's just not all on a single project.

So, there are pros and cons.

One of the important lessons is seeing through a commitment. I firmly believe that if you expect to earn a living writing, you have to learn how to keep your commitments to any given piece, put butt in chair no matter what, and get it done.

Whether it's during Nano or not, it always comes down to "how badly do you want this?"

Laura said...

Wow! I love your comments! Good points too. And, I write like water, sometimes a little flow and other times a waterfall. It depends on the day and where I am in the story. No matter what, though, I am irrevocably in love and committed to writing.

And Sheila- just start writing. That's it. You just start. The rest will come.