Last November I accepted the NANOWRIMO challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I had resisted doing this challenge for years, in spite of the nagging of several writing buddies. I have no idea why. That challenge was exactly what I needed to kick start my novel length writing.
Now, I’m looking at a completed fantasy novel and trying not to be too nervous about it going public soon.
Lesson 1: 50,000 words is not that long
When I started the challenge, I thought that there was simply no way I would be able to write that much in that short of a time. Wrong! These things are relative. If you are used to writing shorter pieces, then 50,000 words is long. However, once you have done so, it’s not.
Lesson 2: Write without editing
This was the biggest breakthrough for me. I am a perfectionist. A perfectionist’s perfectionist. Type A to the nth power. To leave a sentence, a paragraph, a chapter in a state of disrepair was one of the hardest things for me to push past. However, because of the time constraint in the challenge, I had no time to edit. It was all I could do to get the words down on paper. As a result, some pretty crazy things happened. Sure, I ended up rewriting most of it, but some of the spontaneous things that happened were worth it.
Lesson 3: Misery loves company
It’s true. The support of the NANOWRIMO community was essential to the process. I’m not sure if I could have done it without them. The supportive emails that they sent out each week were surprisingly helpful.
Lesson 4: Just do it
Even if you don’t finish, that’s ok. There’s always next year.
If you’ve been considering taking the NANOWRIMO challenge, I hope you do. I’ll see you there this November.
- N is for Nanowrimo (scribblinginthestorageroom.wordpress.com)
Another excellent article, Jo. It really does rely a lot on the support of co-Wrimos and being able to break it down into “doable” bits of words. Awesome!