Well, it’s day 5 of NaNo, and I find myself in an awkward moment. I sprinted this morning, have about 45 minutes to get ready for work and I finished chapter 2, so I really don’t want to sprint again even though I could.
I’ve been behind in NaNo word counts since day one…when I didn’t write. But I’m glad to say I’m almost caught up. There have been a lot of discussions on Facebook recently about who NaNo really helps and who it doesn’t, and honestly, it’s hard for me to say. I have to weigh in on the conversation, because let’s face it, I’m a talker, but I don’t know who it helps.
There are people who say they write 100k words a day and thus finish NaNo in about 12 hours. That’s impossible for me. I do write very fast, but it’s impossible. Firstly, writing is not my full-time job. I am an author, I have multiple published works, I strive to published 2-3 novels a year, but writing is NOT, I repeat, NOT my full-time job. Nor do I want it to be.
I also kind of want to preserve my wrists so they don’t end up needing surgery in a year. Hence why I slow down a bit. That said, I do still write rather fast compared to other people. What new authors or aspiring authors don’t realize is that I have experience. I know how my brain works and what methods I can use to make writing easier for me. It wasn’t always that easy, and without NaNoWriMo and CampNaNo, I wouldn’t be a published author today.
NaNo taught me discipline. It taught me how to write daily, every day, no matter what. It taught me that some days I will write 17k words and other days I’ll be lucky to get 500, but so long as there are words in that document, I’m making progress. NaNo also taught me to write as much as I can write now because there will always be loads of editing later. Again, these are my methods. Not everyone can turn off their internal editor and keep writing until they finish the book and then go back later.
I can. And that’s how I write.
There have been years where I wasn’t sure NaNo was for me. I write fast. I can finish a novel in two weeks if I really want to and my day job isn’t all that busy (read the hahahahahaha now moment in that statement). November is a busy work month for me. So is October. It involves loads of planning at my day job, so now that I’m working full-time in a field I love and adore, NaNo is a struggle. Like this post started, I’m almost finally caught up with the daily minimum count. I’m working on a novel that’s estimated to be about 90k words. That will make me be writing through December if I only stick to the minimum word count each day.
I’m also someone who love outlining. I have a shit ton of stories in my head at any given point. The more I write, the more stories just appear. It’s like the more you exercise the better at it you get so the more you want to do it and keep it up. The more I invite inspiration into my head space, the more inspiration is comfortable in joining me. So I have a shit ton of stories in my head. I need to outline. For two reasons at the very least.
- It means I’ll actually remember what was supposed to happen in a story and I won’t get all my plot lines mixed up. It means that my novels will have flow and meaning and plots that are main plots and back plots. It means the story will be as complete as it can be in the first round.
- It helps motivate me to keep writing. There isn’t an “I’m stuck” moment because it’s already laid out for me. I have the basic structure for what it’s all going to look like. The transitions aren’t there, but the big moments are. My outlines are thin, usually 1-2 sentences per scene per chapter and then I’m done. The rest I get to make up as I go.
Once I discovered the wonders of outlining, I realize just how much I could accomplish in a short period of time.
Anyway, that’s enough ranting for now. But NaNo this year is necessary to keep me on track in writing this novel. It’s necessary to help me finish something in a time of the year that’s crazy busy for me.
So NaNo away all you fun loving awesome writers!