As I mentioned earlier, I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for the second time this year. It was great fun last year even though my attempt at a novel was a complete flop. This year, however, I went in with an open mind and a better idea and ALMOST busted out 50,000 over the course of November.
Almost, but not quite. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t find quite enough time. Over the course of the month, I did manage to write 39,589 words, which is a freaking lot, let me tell you. That translates to just about 132 pages. I was so close! Next year, it’s going to happen for sure.
So, I didn’t finish an entire novel in a month, so what? I still had a great time and learned a boatload about writing and what it takes to be an author. And, you know what, I kind of like my little geeky, urban fantasy epic and I’m even planning on finishing it. Will it ever get published? Probably not, but there’s only one way to find out. But I have to finish it first.
Words of Wisdom
One of the greatest parts of NaNoWriMo is that the folks over at NaNoWriMo.org do one hell of a job. They provide a number of great tools and motivation that really do help a lot. I learned so much from the Pep Talks the first time around, that despite a full time job and other responsibilities, I almost wrote a novel…in a month.
This little pep talk of my own would probably seem a lot more inspirational if I had actually finished…but I didn’t so deal with it. Nonetheless, here are some of the things that I’ve learned that helped me get as far as I did.
Just Keep Writing
This is probably the most obvious advice that anyone can give and, yet, it is the most important. No matter how bad your last sentence sounded, ignore the impulse to edit it and write the next one. Editing as you write slows the process WAY down. You’ll have plenty of time to edit it all after you finish.
Novel Getting Boring? Blow Something Up.
If you don’t have a clear vision for your novel (or even if you do), you may write yourself into a boring scene. If that’s the case and you find yourself bored and uninspired, the fix is easy, make something happen. Anything. Just change things up and see where it takes you.
No Time? Make Time.
NaNoWriMo suggests that you should write 1667 words a day to finish your novel on time. I usually needed about 90-120 minutes to write that many words. Some days it was impossible, but I found ways to make it easier. I spent my 30 minute lunch break writing, I postponed doing dishes and cleaning in general, I stayed off Facebook and neglected my RSS reader, and I stopped blogging (that really sucked by the way).
Despite all that, I didn’t make it. Maybe next year, I’ll have to give up on TV or my job, I don’t know. The bottom line is that you should set aside some time every day to write.
So What’s In It For Me?
Pride. Prejudice. Zombies…wait…No, mostly just pride, but, who knows, it could lead to bigger and better things. Maybe I’ll finish my novel and become an accomplished author. Maybe not, but you have to start somewhere and NaNoWriMo is an amazing program that helps you do just that.
Oh, and keep your eyes peeled on bookstores shelves for The David Bloom Diaries #1: Geek. Slacker. Hero. or whatever I end up calling it!