I heard about National Novel Writing Month in September when scrolling through internet sites and I became intrigued. NaNoWriMo (I know; horrible acronym) is a novel writing challenge issued to anyone who wants to join.
The Challenge: Write 50,000 words in the 30 days of November!
I was amazed at the initial goal! It sounded like such an insurmountable task to write so many words, but as I read more about it I began to feel hopeful that I could achieve such a monumental task.
Firstly, when the total word count is divided by the number of days in the month of November, the amount is a mere 1666.6. This amounts to 1667 words a day!
That sounded relatively achievable. I wondered how much time it would take to write that amount, so I did a practice session in October. An hour it took me to gush out 1620 words in some semblance of a scene in a story. I was impressed! An hour a day! As I already spend many hours on Facebook every day, I began to think the goal looked even more achievable. I could manage an hour a day.
My husband was booked in for heart surgery mid-November, but I didn’t let that stop me! Instead I decided that I might just start early. So I practised some more in October and managed to knock over 6 days of writing (which could always come in handy in case of emergencies)!
Secondly, the focus of NaNoWriMo is quantity over quality. Instead of worrying about writing the perfect story, getting stuck, getting discouraged, editing the small amount you have written, and finally giving up, this challenge is about getting the words down on paper. Just getting the words out of your head and onto the page. That’s all.
This was a new approach to writing for me. In the past I have tried to sit down and write the perfect story, but the result has always been discouragement because – surprise, surprise – it has not been a perfect story!
This time I started with a basic plan of the story I wanted to write. Very, very basic. Each time I got bored I skipped to a different section that interested me. I focused on doing anything that worked, anything that got the words on the page.
The month began and it was hard. I carried a notebook around with me to hastily scribble sentences in while I was waiting for appointments, waiting for kids at school, waiting for kids at kinder, waiting for kids at gymnastics, and waiting for a husband at work. I sat down at my computer to write while my baby slept and while my little boys fought over their Transformers.
I laid in bed and wrote.
I sat outside and wrote.
I went to the park and wrote.
I sat up late and wrote.
I delayed dinner and wrote.
I just made time to write. And 50,248 words were all written! What an achievement!
They are not WELL written. In fact, I can not even find a paragraph I would want to reproduce here for your perusal! But the time for editing will come.
I learnt a lot through this month. A lot from other writers, a lot from authors, a lot about myself! I discovered that there is always a lot to learn when you undertake a challenge.
I discovered that stories are written one word at a time. And words can be written anywhere. I learnt that goals can be achievable when broken down into smaller steps. And I also re-discovered how much I like writing!
Do you like writing? Would you do NaNoWriMo in 2012? Writing is my cup of tea!
National Novel Writing Month website