It’s November 17th, and the month is a little more than half over.
For a writer that can only mean one thing… NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), also known as the month in which writers nearly go insane, is also half over. We have willingly accepted the challenge to craft a new novel of at least 50,000 words, and it’s all downhill from here.
This is my second year participating in NaNo, and this time it should be a lot easier, right?
No, it doesn’t get easier. Sure, you learn some techniques and tricks during your virgin NaNo experience that make the mechanics easier the second time around. The writing, though… the stringing together of words in some sort of (semi) logical fashion, and constantly moving forward with a story? That never really gets easier. There may be times when you can spit out 3000 words without breaking a sweat… and times when putting together a complete sentence almost is beyond your grasp.
Some people treat NaNo as a game, and put word count above all else. There are those who wrote 50,000 words on the first day. Bully for them, bravo, whatever. In my opinion, they miss the whole point. NaNo isn’t a competition, it’s about giving you permission to be creative, and to make a commitment to yourself to write every day, no matter how good (or not so good!) it is. It’s about keeping the writing going even when you want to throw your computer out the window, when you want to scream, when everything you write sounds worse than the screenplay for Battlefield Earth.
Earlier another writer and blogger, Ingrid Sundberg, posted a bunch of inspirational images for NaNo writers. One of them struck me as particularly effective:
I like this because it reminds me that writing is hard work, even for people who like to write, and even for people who have turned out as many books and stories as Stephen King. (It’s no wonder so many famous novelists ended up becoming alcoholics and substance abusers. My guess is that intoxication was their only recourse to silencing the demons of doubt that haunt every writer.)
So I keep plodding along, even when inspiration doesn’t hit me, even when I’m sick with a cold. I’m staying above ‘par’ every day, with over 30,000 words in the ‘bank,’ so to speak, as I write this post. What’s a little bit terrifying is that while there’s just a mere 20,000 to go to ‘win’ NaNoWriMo, this novel will need easily three times that before I’ve reached the end of the story.
If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo this year, please leave a comment and let me know how it’s going. Are you pantsing or planning? Are you writing every day, and keeping on track, or are you falling behind?