I am pleased to report that I am on target to reach my 50,000 words by the end of the month. I kind of knew it was achievable already seeing as I’d written 56,000 words for my month long May Gibbs Fellowship.
I hope you are all on target, and if you’re not, it really doesn’t matter. To me, NaNoWriMo is all about the journey, and if you achieve your word goal then that’s just an added bonus.
For me, NaNoWriMo is valuable on so many levels. For a start, it has brought some discipline back to my writing. How easy is it to “not write today” because you’re too busy? How easy is to be distracted by kids, work, school, elephants playing on the front lawn, a fly crawling up the window? Anything, really.
Some days at my house over the past couple of weeks have been so chaotic that I wonder where I’ll find time to brush my teeth, let alone write the 1700 words required each day.
Then a beep in my inbox reminds me I have mail – a notification from a moderator that the next Word War is about to start (Don’t panic; that’s “Word” not “World”)
Word Wars are something you can do with your own writer friends. Set a time, and write as much as you can for an hour. You can write a lot more than you think in that time. The thing about a Word War is that you commit to write at the same time every day; you commit to write with other writers; you commit to write full stop.
To start with, you might sit there looking at a blank screen, but I find that the pressure of a time constraint spurs me on. If the words don’t come, drag them out kicking and screaming. Later, you can decide they’re worth keeping. To me, writing is what matters – getting your manuscript to the publishable stage is editing – it’s something that holds you back. I never try ti get it right first time, I just try for words on paper – and the more words I get, the more that seem to come.
Every day I participate in at least one Word War and I average around 1500 words. Imagine doing this for a month and seeing how many words you have by the end. For me, this has been not just about bringing back discipline, but also about cutting my writing into manageable pieces. I don’t have to allow myself seven hours a day to write – so much can be achieved in a single hour – or even half that time.
Okay, I confess. There have been many times over the last couple of weeks when the words have not flowed smoothly. When in spite of a detailed plotline, I have thought “where to from here?” I’ve had to do more research to take the story to the next step – and that has been loads of fun too. Last week I discovered how to saddle a camel, how to light fires without matches, how to cook and eat termites – and even what they taste like (woody carrots – apparently)
So if there are two things I’m learning from NaNoWriMo it’s to cut your writing time into portions that are manageable for you, and to be disciplined in your writing – even ten minutes a day is better than nothing.
And if you can’t write, sit down and do it anyway. Drag those words kicking and screaming onto the page. Don’t let them defeat you.
I hope your NaNoWriMo novels are going well and even if they’re not, try and work through the dark days and keep going.
If you have any tips or stories about your NaNoWriMo experience, I’d love to share them with my blog readers. Feel free to tell us your NaNo tips and troubles in the comments section of this blog.
P.S. The pics in this post, will give you a hint of what my NaNo novel is about.