I’ve done National Novel Writing Month (“fondly” called Nanowrimo) for the past seven years and for the past five I’ve completed my 50K words successfully. Every year I promise to keep up the pace after November ends. Each year I arrive at the end of the month burned out and wanting a break.
Which I give myself.
Which leads to a week and then two and then more of not really writing.
Yes, this year I’m making myself that commitment again and what is going to be different is I’m already putting some support in place to make certain I continue but I’m also doing what I can to remember the feeling I have right now – I AM A WRITER.
During those periods where I’m not writing much or I’m not being published I forget – and by forget I mean I stop believing in myself, my abilities, and this crazy thing I love to do.
This past weekend I was at a writing retreat at a rental house in Wells, Maine with my Thursday night writers group and I wrote over 12,000 words. Yes, that’s a lot. No, I don’t expect (or want) to keep up that pace, but one of the reasons I was able to write so much is because the story’s been in my head for weeks. I just wasn’t able to push past the beginning. I’d written and rewritten and added a little bit to the opening scenes over and over. What I hadn’t done was move into the heart of the story. Once I pushed through that and got into my characters’ journeys, the words began to flow out of my head and onto the paper.
And that’s what I most want to remember – PUSH THROUGH. Stop editing and rethinking and overthinking the opening. Get the story OUT. Put my characters through heaven and hell. There will be more than enough time to fix things later, but I have to get the story out of my head if I have any hope of it ever being in a reader’s hands.
So that is my wish – and commitment – to myself after this Nano. I will push through. I will get the story out. I will edit later.
Are you doing Nano? Have you had any insights?