NaNoWriMo Journal: Week 3

Halfway through NaNoWriMo and things still look pretty good. Current word count is about 25,050 words, which puts me a little ahead of the curve. I appreciate the resources, forums, and sense of community that the official NaNoWriMo website offers to writers, especially the virtual write-ins on YouTube. It reminds me of the creative writing classes I took in college almost a decade ago. It feels good to be involved in community of creative people again and it inspires me to continue my passion for writing.

Although I am happy with my overall progress so far, I must confess something.

Writing every damn day is exhausting.

Even if it’s only for two to three hours, it’s mentally and physically draining to force your mind to process so many complex layers to a novel. Are the characters believable? Is there enough description to make the setting clear in the reader’s mind? Does the plot make sense? What happens next? Is the pacing too slow or too fast? And on it goes. I want to take a day off to recharge and do other things, but I don’t want to fall behind in my daily word count. I’ve already committed myself to this challenge and I’m going to see it through. Once I hit 50k, though, I’m going to take a week off from all writing before going back to edit and write something new.

With that said, 50k words is an arbitrary number. I’m thinking the current novel I’m writing will need at least 70k words before it can feel “complete.” As I keep hearing over and over again in the forums and in the write-ins, it doesn’t matter if the words or the story is perfect. You can write 50k words of complete garbage. This challenge is about the joy of writing, of experimenting, and reminding yourself why you love reading and writing in the first place.

Writing is a process.

Write without fear; edit without mercy.

NaNoWriMo Journal: Week 2

It is now the second week of NaNoWriMo and I’m feeling super stoked. I’ve been writing for about two hours every morning for the last eight days and am now up to 14,599 words. Currently on track to reach 50k on the 27th. In addition, I attended my first local write-in at a Barnes and Nobles with the writers in my group. It has been a very long time since I’ve bee surrounded by other creative people who care so much about the craft of writing. It was a joy to get out of the house and meet them. Their enthusiasm was infectious and the serious tone of the write-in helped me get extra words in for the day.

The excitement of joining a community of other writers in this month-long challenge has given me time to think more on the craft of writing. Many people aspire to write, but are usually too afraid to even begin. I believe the most important thing I’ve learned so far on this journey is to write without fear. I recognize that most of the words I’m putting down are rough, unpolished. There are typos and inconsistencies within the plot, but that’s okay. The real work, after all, will be in the editing and revising. What’s important is to get the words down first and worry about the details later.

It is hard, though, because the editor in me wants to go back and polish the chapter’s I’ve written so far. So, I’ve had to tie him up and keep him locked in the basement until December 1st. If he behaves.