I experimented with NaNoWriMo this year and, although I do like to believe that anything is possible, I’m probably not going to win this year. I’m pretty far behind.
Some “mistakes” I made.
- I didn’t plan well enough in October. I realized during my first writing sessions that unless I took the time to plan, I’d already failed, and so I took the first week of November to do a better job of planning.
- I decided to try NaNoWriMo even though 2015 is the year of listening to my body. Considering I have some health issues this year, I made the decision not to push on through when my body or mind threw up a barrier of exhaustion. I held firm to this decision, even suspecting that despite my best efforts at honesty, it’s not possible for me to be perfectly honest with myself. There are advantages to pushing through physical urges and outside responsibilities.
Some things I did well:
- I figured out where I was going to work and with what equipment and programs.
-Notebook for pen and paper for brainstorming
-Android mini Tablet with Bluetooth keyboard for writing wherever I’m comfortable
-A writing program for my Tablet with Dropbox so I can get my days writing onto the main computer. I used Plain.txt and Evernote.
-A program for counting words. I used Word Counter
- I’ve been writing nearly every day with a goal in mind and that’s been giving me the chance to see how much I’ve learned about writing during this past year.
My biggest takeaway so far:
Maybe I should just call it my slogan for the month. “It doesn’t matter.” (Subtext: It may matter, but not right now.) Slogan number 2: “Get to the end.”
Once I left my initial writing phase, my infant writer stage, I spent a lot of time focusing on what I didn’t know. That’s absolutely overwhelming and no fun at all, and while it’s possibly a necessary stage, in my case, it generated some habits that are crippling for a rough draft.
Writing slowly to choose a better story line or (more) “correct” words in a better order hobbles the first draft process, especially when there is a deadline.
At this time of year when the Holidays push me into greater creativity as a teacher, musician, and Crafter, I find it easier to see the correlations between my other creative acts and writing. I see ever more clearly that, it’s only natural that writing a novel might feel overwhelming when the process is dragged out over months or years (certainly all of my other creative projects have a much shorter timeline), especially during the period when a fledgling writer is decoding the writing process.
These small insights go miles towards placing my writing a novel into perspective and hardening my resolve to push as hard as I can to finish the rough draft of this novel, if not this month, hopefully this year (she says as life picks up its pace).