… or in other words, No More National November Writing Month. I did NOT win NaNoWriMo.
Just so you’re aware, “winning” means writing 50,000 words during the month of November, not necessarily competing with anyone else. No, what a NaNoWriMo participant competes with is time, sanity, writer’s block, 9-5 day job, holidays, dear loving family members and deer collisions that total one’s car.
I did give NaNoWriMo a chance. One good week, anyway. But then I wrote myself into a corner (my outline wasn’t cemented like it should have been) and didn’t know how to get out without scrapping the almost 10,000 words over which I’d slaved.
I decided instead to think on what I’d learned and then move forward from there.
So, what writerly wisdom did I gain from my short time in NaNoWriMo? A few things:
- I don’t have a muse. There is no future where I’ll write effortlessly, inspired by some unknown gifted force. My story will only materialize if I intentionally put my butt in chair, fingers on keyboard, and make it happen.
- I can write well, even when I don’t feel like it. Even if I’m tired, uninspired and floundering my way through a scene, I can still make it work. Sometimes it’s even good – really good. Who knew?
- If a scene isn’t good, it can be fixed. If it can’t be fixed, it can be scrapped.
- There’s no such thing as perfect writing.
- A detailed plot outline is everything. Seriously. There’s nothing worse than getting to the end of a scene and being clueless over what happens next. Ever hear of something called writer’s block? Bingo.
- Fear blocks creativity. Forget what people think and write the truth. Sometimes the truth is uncomfortable. Write it anyway.
- Respect the craft. Lots of people can write well. Lots of people are good storytellers. Being a good novelist combines the two and is very special.
- Writing is a gift I give myself. It’s actually a lot like exercise; something difficult while doing, but exhilarating and rewarding when I’m done.
So what am I up to now? Well, I’ve gathered the scraps of my NaNoWriMo story, mixed in some new ingredients and discovered some interesting new developments. Stay tuned to see where this leads.
Will I join NaNoWriMo 2012? Um… not likely. But I’m sure glad I tried it this year.