Hello again, friends. I’m really trying to make this a THING that happens more than once a month, so here I am typing words to you!
If you follow me on Twitter or subscribe to me on Facebook, you may have seen me talking about NaNoWriMo earlier this month. NaNoWriMo, for those who are really bad with acronyms, is National Novel Writing Month. Every November 1st, thousands of crazy people sit down at their computers or laptops and start banging their heads on the keyboards, trying to come up with 50,000 words by November 30th.
Oh, wait. I’m the only one that did the head-banging-on-keyboard thing? Well, fine then.
Anyways, it’s a crazy month for these aspiring writers. Who chose November for this anyways? It’s the beginning of the holiday season, people travel for Thanksgiving (applicable mostly to Americans), and school is in session. In between eating and showering and day jobs and families, these guys have to find time to write 50,000 words that make at least some sense together*. There are some that have an easier time writing, and brag about it on the message boards that they have 20,000 words in the first week, and their characters are just so amazing, and my gosh this is incredibly easy! SHUT IT, YOU.
It should be clear by now that I was not one of those blessed few. I jumped in, head first, with no plan, no characters, no freaking idea what I was doing. Kind of like this blog post right now! I was doing fairly well, for a first-timer. I made my word quotas the first day, and the second, and the third, fourth and fifth day. Then I got distracted. I went to a birthday dinner with my family, and I had girl night with some friends and by the end of the second week I was hopelessly behind. Yet I did not give up! I spent that Saturday with my laptop and my coffee mug, smashing out 6,000 words to get me back on track. It was not pleasant. I could tell my writing was seriously deficient. What had started out fun and cool and “look at me go, everyone!” turned into a drag. The problem I faced was that I didn’t plan anything. The first night I wrote out about three pages of character development, but my plot was a dead-end. I was stuck. I can’t tell you how I even envisioned this thing ending. Bad, bad, bad.
I haven’t written a word for that novel since. I stopped at 13,224 words. Tomorrow is the last day of November, and I did not win. I could let myself feel like a failure, but what would that get me? I’d feel all bad and lame and stupid, and I wouldn’t have learned a single thing from my experience. No, I am proud of myself. I did something that I had never attempted before. I proved to myself that I CAN write, when I set my mind to it. I wrote more words in two weeks than I think I wrote in my entire high school career. That’s actually pretty frakking cool! Go me!
I will be trying it again next NaNoWriMo, but I will plan better. After Christmas I’m ordering several writing-related books and will learn more about what makes writing good and coherent and not-lame. I will also make it a point to read more blogs and stories from successful writers (like Neil Gaiman and Wil Wheaton, etc) and figure out what I like to write about.
I hope you’re as excited as I am, internet!
* Or no sense at all, which is what editing is for.