It was not easy. In fact, it was really really hard. Especially because I had 46,000 words to write during ten days which included the Thanksgiving holiday and during which I had family visiting for a (delightful!) week.
But I got it done, thanks in part to WriteorDie.com , a site which helped me to learn that I am capable of writing approximately 1,200 words in 17 minutes. I am pretty proud of that fact. I’m not saying they were 1,200 of the best words I’ve ever written, but still. That’s some speedy writing.
So, I finished my NaNo novel for 2010 too, by pulling it out in the last few days, and that was an accomplishment.
It’s funny, I am not a particularly competitive person in general, but when it comes to certain things, such as exercising, or making writing deadlines, (situations where you are competitive against yourself) I am a howling BEAST and I REFUSE TO FAIL.
I guess I am pretty stubborn after all. Brian could very likely soliloquize at length about this observation, but I am not going to give him the opportunity.
I’m in the thick of my second National Novel Writing Month this November, and I’m simultaneously having the best and worst time ever, which is pretty much how this project seems to be destined to go.
But really, this year has been a great learning experience for me as a writer– and I feel like I am learning different things from what I learned last year, which is especially rewarding as a second-year participant. In a nutshell, here is what I have learned so far:
1) I am not ready to write a memoir yet. I started out writing one, which is against the rules of NaNo anyway, and started to run out of steam after around 3,000 words. I think it had something to do with the fact that I had no plot. Anyway, I still want to write about what I was writing the memoir about, but I think it’s going to have to wait. It’s just more fun to make stuff up, and NaNoWriMo is all about the fun.
So, I started over on Day 7, which I didn’t think was such a big deal because last year I only LEARNED about NaNo around November 6th, and didn’t really get going until around the 7th-8th. So, I figured that was fine, and I came up with a novel plot that I loved and was really excited about and then around 14,000 words in, around, oh, November 17th or so, I realized that:
2) I can’t write a novel that is too plotted out, because then I have no room to play around and improvise and do those little riffs that are so enjoyable and take you in new directions and that are what makes writing fun and actually good. My novel was feeling stilted and running out of steam already, and this was why. Around the time I realized that, I also realized that
3) My main character was not honest with herself, and I hated her for it. She was in denial about every major relationship of her life, she was whiny, she was lame, and she limped blandly from plot point to plot point, and I was going to lose my mind if I didn’t dump her. I learned that when I don’t respect my characters, because they are not real, and honest with themselves, I can’t write about them. I learned this because:
4) Last Wednesday night the 17th, I opened up my novel from last year. I’m not sure why, but something in my told me that I needed to do that. I honestly hadn’t read it since I finished it last November. So it had been a whole year since I’d even opened the file. I sat down and read the whole thing in an evening, and discovered that actually, it wasn’t horrible, as I’d been convinced it was when I wrote it last year. I was so sure that it was a putrid piece of garbage that I never really wanted to read it again, and when I actually did, I was pleasantly surprised. Really and truly pleasantly surprised. It was really not that bad; in fact, it was relatively entertaining and even made me laugh in certain spots, which is not easy to do.
This made me feel a lot of feelings. It made me realize that what I didn’t like about my novel this year was that the main character wasn’t genuine. It made me realize that when I think I am writing horribly, I am not actually writing horribly. It made me feel sad that I have such a low opinion of my writing that after writing my novel last year I hid it away and didn’t even bother looking at it. It’s sat there for a year, without being touched, when I could have been editing it and working on it and feeling good about it. So, that’s kind of too bad.
Anyway, I need to get over being so secretive about my fiction writing. I need to actually show it to other people so they can help me figure out how to make it better. If anyone wants to read my novel from last year, send me a note to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave me a comment and I’ll send it to you. It’s really kind of not that bad.
All right, back to this year’s novel. I have 46,000 words to write in 10 days. Let’s see how that goes, shall we?
I did it! 50,000 words in 30 days! And actually, it was more like 18 days, because I really didn’t start writing until the 12th!
I want a t-shirt. Too bad all the sizes are sold out. Make more shirts, NaNoWriMo!
Man, writing is the best. I’m so glad I did this. It’s really made me remember why I love to write in the first place.
As some of you may know, this month I am participating in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.
This means that I am attempting to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November.
I only learned about the existence of NaNoWriMo last Friday. And I only really started my novel…today. So far I have just under 2,000 words. But I’m sallying forth! It’s a really neat idea, and awesome website and what appears to be a kickass community of other crazy writers. It feels very exciting to be working on this giant project at the same time as all these other equally enthusiastic and terrified writers, and it makes you feel much less alone to know that everyone else is struggling toward the same goal as you, just in all sorts of different ways.
But what I like best about the idea of NaNoWriMo is that it gives you a hard and fast deadline and goal, and urges you to just WRITE WRITE WRITE and not worry about it. You can edit later, you can freak out later, you can criticize and judge every little sentence you write and word you choose…LATER! For now, just write write write. While reminds me of how I used to feel when I was younger and the only thing I ever wanted to do was have peace and quiet and time alone at the computer so I could write and enjoy every minute of it.
So far it’s been pretty freaking awesome! But I might be a little scarce on the blog over the next 2 weeks. Now you know why! And if you’re doing NaNoWriMo too, look me up! My username is Couriernew.