NaNoWriMo: The Secret to Hitting 50,000
For the month of November the writing world is alight with the joy and pain that is NaNoWriMo. To those of you who have jumped into the deep end of the pool, I salute you and wish you many hours of productive writing, and hope the result of your blood, sweat and tears will be a completed manuscript requiring minimal revisions to make it submission ready. Plan your celebration now, because when you hit the 50,000 mark you’ll be ready for it.
I’ve opted out of NaNo this year, although I did participate in 2010 and 2011 and exceeded the 50,000 word goal each time. I’m not saying this to pat myself on the back, but rather to offer encouragement. If I can do it, so can you.
Here’s the big secret for reaching 50,000 words: Plant your ass in front of your keyboard and write. It’s that difficult and that easy. Hefty reserves of chocolate and wine don’t hurt either. Just sayin’.
In 2010 I offered up the five main things I learned from NaNoWriMo. I think they bear repeating, so here they are again.
- Having to bullet out as many words as possible has somehow engaged my ability to create heretofore unknown characters. And I like ’em.
- Since I haven’t the time to micromanage my protagonist I’m letting him run the show, and it turns out he has a mind of his own. Who knew?
- Spell check has shown that my keyboarding accuracy is much higher than expected, even typing at turbo speeds. Yay!
- My butt has the capacity to remain planted in a chair for hours before going numb. This either means I have plenty of fat to cushion my weight or I own a really great writing chair. (Let’s not dwell on this one.)
- I do not have the ability to do twenty things at one time. I can write or I can clean the bathrooms, but I cannot do both. Pity the potties.
To those I would add the following:
- Even if your manuscript is the crappiest of all crappy first drafts, contained within it you will find golden seeds of potential. Water them, nurture them, prune them. They will bear fruit.
- Opportunity according to Lisa: The chance to unleash our unique potential every single time we write. Every single time, buttercup! This is no small thing. This is huge. Never forget it.
- Stop worrying about what everyone else is writing. Your friend’s word count or publishing success doesn’t impact the quality of your story one iota. Only you can do that.
- If spasms of greatness were a daily occurrence there would be nothing special about them. Learn to recognize them when they occur and be grateful.
At the end of the month you’ll find that like most things, what you get out of NaNo will depend on what you put into it. And if your internal receptors are in tune, you’ll come away with a whole lot more.
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year, or have you in the past? What kernels of wisdom do you have for NaNo devotees? Put yourself in the Buff, buttercup! Leave a comment with your NaNo info.
See you next week for more of the naked truth!
Have a great week –