Hey, I’m going to keep this short, because I am just swamped. It’s National Novel Writing Month, we are just under halfway, and wow. I’m almost out of words, I think. I’m working on two pieces (it was three, but I’m letting them weed themselves out naturally), and on top of that, I’ve picked up three more writing clients, and getting ready to move.
Anyway, I wanted to check in and say something about NaNoWriMo. I see all of these articles and videos about reasons NOT to do NaNo, and I get it, it’s not for everyone. But if you get sucked into a self-critical spiral, or get slowed down editing your writing as you go, I strongly recommend giving NaNo a try. See, the thing is, when you’re trying to do 50,000 words in just 30 days, you don’t have time. Yes, what you write will be terrible. That’s fine, even the goal! Because you have words on the page. Write the book. Then after the month is over, that’s when you go back, laugh at how bad it is, and start editing it. But if you already have the bones down, it’s much easier to do clean up. Plus, we all know characters don’t always do what you want them to do, so why waste time editing now when those characters are going to go rogue in the next chapter and you’ll have to go back and fix chapter 2 again?
It’s also a great way to see if your idea has staying power. I had three storylines that I couldn’t decide between. My first one, which I thought was the weakest. My second, which I really liked and thought I had plenty happening, and then my last minute third. I wasn’t sure which one I could do 50k words on, so I figured I’d start all three, and drop them as needed. Well, the story I thought was weakest – that’s the one that’s really come to life. My second storyline flubbed out within a few days – I think I can work with it in the future, but it simply needs more planning (or possibly a different writer – we’ll see). And my third storyline? Well, I still love it, but I’m having a hard time pulling it together right now. I haven’t given up yet, but we’ll see who emerges from November with a high word-count, and which ends up in my in-progress folder.
But regardless, as someone who is certainly overcritical of myself – I mean, I write for a living and still think my writing is crap most of the time! – NaNo is a great way for me to power through anyway. I don’t have time to duke it out in my own head, or tell myself my writing sucks. I have to just get the words down. And I promise myself that in December, I can lament my writing failure, my weak character, my fizzled subplot. But right now, no time. And by the time December rolls around, I’m generally pretty proud that I completed something. So my inner critic takes a backseat, and is pretty easily drowned out – except for last year, because my character sucked. But hey, characters go wrong.
My point is, this sort of challenge pushes you out of the box, takes away the excuses, and doesn’t allow you the time to second-guess. All benefits we could use at some point. Maybe for you, it isn’t writing. Maybe for you, it’s drawing, or blogging (technically writing, but in a different way), or whatever. But set your goal to push your limits, and tell someone to hold you accountable. When something looms overhead, it’s much easier to set self-doubt aside.
I’ll be back soon with regular articles. Because I need to write my fiction stuff, my brain has been just buzzing with blog ideas, because that’s how it always goes. Sit tight and I’ll talk to you soon!