To be completely honest, I had a feeling this goal was a bit far-fetched for me. Not only is this my first time participating in NaNoWriMo, but I’m doing it while working a full-time job (one that often goes beyond 9-5), and I also just brought home a new puppy. To say life is busy is an understatement – but in a very good way. Between these three rather large tasks, as well as trying to throw the odd blog post up on Charlotte’s Web of Words, and keeping up with the rest of life, I’ve gotten little to no sleep and a lot of work done.
I definitely wouldn’t be able to keep this pace up month after month, but it has been worthwhile so far. I’m learning so much, not only about my characters, my writing style and my potential novel, but also about my ability to really push myself to show up and write. I’m also learning how to let go of my inner perfectionist and just let the words flow. The trick is getting the letters laid out across the screen and returning to fill in the blanks and remove the scraps on a later date – December’s project perhaps.
Here are a few key things I’ve learned from my NaNoWriMo experience so far:
Writing prompts are key. I’ve been following along with @NaNoWordSprints on Twitter, and the timed writing prompts have come in extremely handy. I’ve been struggling over the past few days to really sort out some direction for my plot and the prompts have helped my story formulate on its own, without letting me over think it all.
I tend to write in a linear way. I’m not sure whether this works for or against me yet. It doesn’t surprise me, since this is how I write in the other mediums I work with. But I think I need to experiment with a new approach and see how things go when I jump ahead a few scenes and start from there. Or perhaps, if I’m really feeling brave, I’ll try starting at the end and working my way back.
A tight deadline is my best friend. There’s something about the daring deadline looming in the distance, which keeps me pushing as hard as I can go. I have yet to lose motivation to make it to the end goal, despite some early hurdles along the way.
I can’t wait to do more research. With 1,700 words to write every day, there is no time for research. I’m focusing on putting words to page right now. But as I get deeper into my storyline, I start to make notes along the way of different research avenues I am really looking forward to exploring. This is truly only the beginning.
I’m letting go of my inner perfectionist. I’ve heard again and again from other NaNo participants to “write now, edit later.” Surprisingly, this hasn’t even been much of a challenge for me. Every writing session I sit down for, I only read what was written the previous session. This helps me get myself in the groove, without wasting time by reading back too far and feeding my temptations to “fix” it.
*My goal for week two is to find some new channels for inspiration, and to be at least 1,000 words over the standard target word count by the end of the week.
How is everyone else doing? I’d love to hear about your NaNo experience so far. Connect with me in the comments below or on Twitter @charlottaway.