Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lessons from NaNoWrimo

It’s the third week of Nano, and my second attempt at this unique and popular competition. The whole idea is to write 50K words on a new work in 30 short days. Many of my writing friends are doing editing and adding on to works that were half finished. My WIP is brand spanken new. When I started I had only a idea for a story. I had briefly plotted something with friends while at the RWA conference in Florida. It was only a vague idea when I started. I didn’t even have names for my characters. I just knew my female should be Hispanic. I knew what their jobs were, a couple of key points in the story, but that was about it. I didn’t have a plot. In Nano, it’s no plot, no problem. For me it was no plot, I’m scared sh—less.
So on the November 1st, I sat at my computer and just started writing. The names just popped out of nowhere. The plot is slowly coming together. I have GMC, the black moment is looming as I hit the halfway mark. I never thought it would be so hard and easy all wrapped up in one. Hard because I have to write so many words a day. Easy, because I'm actually doing it.

What this has taught me, I don’t have to draw out a chart with chapters carefully written out. I don’t have to have my GMC in big red letters, or mark the black moment out as if, if I don’t meet that goal on page XYZ, the story is a loss.

I’m just writing, through family complications, through cats insisting on laying on my desk, my computer, and just all over me. Daily interruptions come without warning, and never seem to fail my expectations.Yet, I'm still writing something, even if it's crap.

Before Nano all those things would throw a wrench into my writing, and it would shut down for the day, or days, sometimes a week which could lead to losing the story. What Nano does, is show a writer it can be done. They can write crap, and it’s okay. That the plot writes itself, and when it’s all over there is 50K of a WIP. It may not be complete, and much of it will need a whole lot of editing. All those green and red lines that decorate my WIP can be fixed. For me it allowed freedom. It changed my writing, not so much for the better, but it certainly made it stronger, and me more sure of my choice of careers.

If you’re doing Nano, do you feel it helps or hinders your writing?


Jill James said...

I fell off the Nano wagon this year, but still writing up a storm. I'm working on two stories at the same time right now. I'm so glad that Nano is helping you learn to go with the flow and not let a small distraction stop you. Editing is what January is for. LOL

Lee Lopez said...

I agree...We did a lot words yesterday...Did the same thing early in the morning to push past that 26K mark.

LK Hunsaker said...

Hi Lee, this is my 7th year of Nano and it's been an amazing help to my writing. I produce much faster and each first draft is less garbage than the last, even when not for Nano. It opens up the creative pump and is an incredible exercise for writers. :-)

Good luck through the rest of the month!

Janet/Cricket said...

If it is one thing you learn from NaNo it is that you CAN write an entire draft quickly if you have the discipline to commit to writing a certain amount every day. I'm a believer in this process.

I'm doing it too and I can feel my "mojo" coming back to me as the story churns out onto the word processing page.