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What I’m learning from NaNo

November 27, 2010

The two main points of NaNoWriMo seem to be to get into the habit of writing and that revision is the thing that comes later: first write write write write write until your story is done.

These are things I would have snubbed when I was eighteen, all the creative juices were flowing, I had all the free time in the world, and I was a pretentious little Writer. As an adult, I have to agree that these two things are incredibly helpful.

I do not feel like I’m writing the way I used to, and I don’t feel like I’m enjoying it as much as I used to. But I’m about 10K away from my goal of 50K, my story got bogged down for a minute there, and now it’s back to moving along, and I’m feeling good about having written, just written. When the bare bones of the story are done, I’ll go back (probably) and redo the whole thing. But then I won’t be on a timer, I’ll be writing for fun, and I’ll know EXACTLY what I’m doing.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

So NaNo is actually the warm-up for me, not the exercise, the necessary and somewhat boring stretching of muscles before the endorphin kick. Maybe I have a good time with it, sometimes, and maybe sometimes it feels like exercising. That works too! And other times it’s just stretching. AND I AM STILL ACCOMPLISHING SOMETHING.

That’s the thing: Every time I let six months go by without writing fiction, I’m not accomplishing anything. I might be accomplishing the bare bones right now, but that’s still a structure I can build on.

Whoa, sorry about all the metaphors.

So I’ll keep writing for the next few days, and I think I can get to the end of my story by Tuesday, with that 50K goal.  (My NaNo friend just submitted her 50K and it came up as 100K so I kind of want to submit what I have and see if it doubles my word count too, but that would be cheating.)  And then in December, if I have time and I’m interested, I’ll start revising.  A LOT.  I’ll do the actual plotting that I didn’t do this month, and set the scenes up so they’re stronger and less repetitive.

It will be fun.  I could already rewrite this thing from scratch, but knowing where it’s going–not in my head, but on the screen–has been totally worth it.

And I think I’ll do it again next year.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 27, 2010 10:42 am

    I look at NaNo as an exercise in writing,writing, writing too, I just fail at it every year. I did go back and read the first story that I started for NaNo (and did eventually complete at 125k) and I think the best part is to look at how my writing has changed.

    • November 28, 2010 10:06 am

      Oh thank goodness you commented! I had 666 comments for days until you did, and it was creeping me out.

      I almost never finish ANYTHING, so this is important to me. I think knowing that I can do so much in so little time is going to motivate me to rush through till I finish everything, then go back and edit.

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